SBVFD tax increase available in '06

by John Kastner, Correspondent

Nearly two weeks after voters gave their stamp of approval to the Spring Branch Volunteer Fire Department ESD six-cent increase to help implement better fire protection to the area, a handful of residents say that in time fire protection will be at its best.

What the general public may not be aware of is the fact that even though the tax increase has been passed, the actual money that is brought in will not be made available until 2006.

However, once the money is in place, all departments can set aside funds so that they can train special units in certain types of firefighting techniques. It also means that new equipment and new fire trucks can be brought into line.

Since the issue has passed, an additional $195,000 per year will be generated just by the proposed ESD alone. Ironically, the issue previously failed twice , leaving ESD members baffled and trying to come up with new ideas on their drawing boards. The passage was by no means a landslide ­ 228 votes in favor, while 65 voted against.

Comal County Commissioner Jack Dawson, who generally represents the Canyon Lake, Spring Branch and Bulverde area, noted that he was pleased to see the issue finally put to rest.

"The Canyon Lake emergency service district has three fire professionals on duty every shift, and four of those six districts provide protection only, while the other two provide EMS services," Dawson said.

"A fire district has only two options to increase revenue, in that they can ask voters to increase their ad valorem taxes, like ESD No. 4, or ask voters to approve a sales tax like ESD No. 6." Dawson concluded.

Just this past Friday afternoon, a fire completely destroyed a older home on FM 306.

Fires such as these can be dangerous, and quoting Guy Anderson who is president of the Spring Branch ESD, "We are in desperate need of funds to help build our fire department and purchase trucks and equipment that we need in order to help fight fires."

In a house fire like the one on FM 306, the Spring Branch Volunteer Fire Department assisted Canyon Lake Fire/EMS and New Braunfels Fire and Rescue to help bring the blaze under control.

Anderson stated, the Spring Branch VFD will always work closely with other departments ­ even though they are lacking vital equipment, their efforts will always be felt.

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