Smith County is located in East Texas, approximately 98 miles from Dallas. The County has a long and distinguished history dating back to 1846. Today, Smith County has a population of over 230,000 residents and is home to numerous higher education institutions, with rich cultural diversity. The District has a challenging response area covering 712 square miles throughout Smith County and outside the city limits of Tyler, Texas, and smaller jurisdictions. There is a wide variety of population densities, geographic variances including large bodies of water and limited-access open-space. The jurisdictional boundaries around the cities of Tyler and Whitehouse affect agency response in some areas of the District; thus, the District must rely on internal resources to provide effective emergency response.
Before the ESD the 11 VFDs struggled with manpower, equipment, and supplies. Follow our timeline to see how the ESD is moving forward and keeping up with the changing needs of our county.
Smith County Emergency Services District 2 was created in 2007 by successful passage of an election as authorized by Chapter 775 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and as ordered by the Smith County Commissioners Court. The election served to establish a geographical boundary with the authorization to establish a property tax rate not to exceed $0.10 per $100.00 assessed value.
The five-member boards governing Emergency Services District No. 1 and No. 2 are volunteer positions and were appointed by county commissioners until a state law created single-member districts to represent voters equally.
ESD2 citizens prior to 2015 where served purely by our dedicated volunteers. With changing times it became harder and harder for the volunteers to make calls for service during the day when they where at work so the ESD began staffing stations with paid firefighters during normal business hours to supplement the volunteers.
In the 2019 election, voters elected to approve the ESD’s request for a sales tax of up to 1.5 percent that would provide more funding for Smith County Emergency Services District No. 2
After passing the sales tax the ESD began staffing 5 fire stations 24 hours a day 7 days a week with 3 firefighters.