County agrees to city fire, EMS terms

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

April 23, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated April 22, 2012 at 11:23 p.m.

Victoria Commissioners gave approval Monday to an amended inter-local agreement for emergency services with the city.

The city council will vote on a resolution on May 1.

County Judge Don Pozzi said the amendment has been a long time coming.

"We have been working with the city for well over a year," Pozzi said.

The agreement covers the county for the next five years of fire protection and emergency medical services, as well as animal control and library services.

"There are many things shared between the city and county to save taxpayer money," Pozzi said. The largest shared entity is fire and EMS.

Commissioner Gary Burns made a motion to accept the amendment and Commissioner Clint Ives gave the second.

Under the amended agreement, the county will pay the city $1.4 million in 2013 and 2014 for the services. From 2015 to 2017, the county will pay $1.5 million for the same services.

City Manager Charmelle Garrett said the county wanted a flat fee.

"I think it's a good agreement," she said. "We looked at an average of several years, and felt like to provide that service to the county, it was an adequate fee."

Garrett said the city fire department "has done an excellent job servicing the Victoria County residents," and the city is looking forward to continuing the agreement.

Pozzi said since he came into office, the agreement has been amended several times. The agreement has been in effect since 1969.

Once, it was based on population. In 2007, it was based on a percentage of the fire department's budget - the county covered 14.5 percent, Pozzi said.

For example, in 2008, the fire department's budget was about $10.46 million, so the county's share was estimated to be $1.52 million. When the city purchased a new fire truck, the county's bill rose to about $1.59 million.

"We never knew what we had to budget," Pozzi said.

He said neither plan seemed to work.

If the county leaves the new agreement without an amendment, the county's subsequent reimbursements to the city revert to the 2007 agreement of 14.5 percent of the budgeted expenses for each fiscal year.

"What we have now is a set fee, which is true of most contracts throughout the state with the same arrangement," he said.



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