You may not know what Harris County Emergency Services District 13 is, but we expect you know the Cypress Creek Fire Department. Harris County Emergency Services District 13 (ESD 13) is the governmental entity collects taxes to provide emergency response and fire protection in our community operating under the name Cypress Creek Fire Department.
ESD 13 Commissioners have called an election for May 4th asking voters to consider a local sales tax of one percent (1%). This would raise the sales tax only in those areas which don't already collect 8.25% from 7.25% to 8.25%. Many purchases in commercial shopping areas will not be affected because a large portion of these areas already have partnerships with local MUDs and the City of Houston to collect the maximum 8.25% sales tax allowed by law.
Sales tax is collected when a person purchases a taxable item. The maximum sales tax that can be collected is 8.25%. Of that amount, 6.25% goes to the State of Texas and two percent is reserved for cities and local jurisdictions.
Within the Cypress Creek Fire Department area it is projected that the additional sales tax raised for the department will be approximately $1,100,000 a year.
Sales Tax Basics
In Texas, as stated above, the sales tax on covered items cannot exceed 8.25%. There are areas within the fire district that have not been impacted by Strategic Partnership Agreements between water districts better known as MUDs and the City of Houston. These 30-year partnerships allow for 1% sales tax to be shared between the water district and the City of Houston. The areas that are not impacted by Strategic Partnership Agreements are dispersed throughout the fire district and are generally not in large commercial areas.
"Most people who live in the Cypress Creek area don't know whether or not the store is collecting 7.25% or 8.25% on their purchases." Fire Chief Richard Lieder said.
Outside CCFD/ESD 13, "We're paying 8.25% in all the surrounding ESDs, which helps support the state, the county, and the community in which we're shopping. If passed, this measure would bring the Cypress Creek area even with our region and help us keep as much of the sales tax funds here in the local community as possible."
Is a sales tax election legal?
Chapter 775 allows for emergency services districts to call for a sales tax election. The limitation is to not exceed the maximum of 8.25% in Texas. Some areas in the fire district are currently at 7.25%; therefore a 1% increase would have to be approved by a general election within the district. All registered voters in the fire district can vote. Only those businesses that are currently at 7.25% will be subject to the 1% increase.
What will the 1% Sales Tax do?
Did you know that fire trucks, which can last 15 years or longer, can cost more than $700,000 each?
The sales tax, if passed, would allow for the following:
- Increase in staffing to match the growth in the service area.
- Remodel and modernize existing fire station facilities.
- Construct and staff a new fire station in the Beltway 8/Sam Houston Race Park area.
- Debt Retirement.
- Purchase 1 new fire engine for the new fire station.
- Replace 2005 year model Ladder truck.
- Replace 2006 year model reserve engine.
It is expected that these measures will allow Cypress Creek Fire Department (CCFD) to decrease response times and have more personnel available to respond to emergencies within our community.
The primary goal of the sales tax is for CCFD/ESD 13 to build and staff an additional fire station in the Beltway 8/Sam Houston Race Park area. The intention is to provide currently under-serviced areas with nearby response and lower overall response times within the district no matter where someone lives.
In the first map, the areas in green represent an expected response within a 7 minute driving time from an existing ESD 13 Cypress Creek Fire station. Areas in red represent portions of the territory with a drive time greater than 7 minutes from a fire station. The area in the lower right can be further affected by traffic, trains, and construction.
As you can see in the following map, the addition of the 5th fire station is expected to reduce response time in an area of the District which is heavily-populated and a high-trafficked commercial area
The proposed sales tax increase to match the state maximum keeps that 1% in the district to better serve the community at large.
How do I find out more about the sales tax election?
ESD 13 will host an informational open house Tuesday April 23, 2019 at Station 24 located at 12073 Perry Road, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., to discuss your emergency service and fire protection. HCESD 13 is the local governmental entity that funds and operates the Cypress Creek Fire Department (CCFD) to provide fire protection to an estimated 74,887 residents over a 25 square mile area in Harris County. If you have any questions you can reach out at email@example.com.
When/where is the sales tax election?
All Early Voting and Election Day Voting will be held at the Cypress Creek Fire Department Administration Building located at 11900 Cypress N. Houston Road, Cypress, Texas 77429.
Early Voting will be available from April 22, 2019 through April 30, 2019 from 9:00 a.m., to 5:00 p.m., EXCEPT on Saturday April 27th when early voting will conclude at 3:00 p.m. Also, there is no early voting available on Sunday April 28th.
Election Day will be on Saturday May 4, 2019 from 7:00 a.m., until 7:00 p.m.
What if the sales tax election fails?
The new station would serve the growth in the southern section of ESD 13. Whether or not the sales tax measure passes, we will continue looking for an appropriate piece of land to build a future station 25. If additional funds are not available at the time construction is completed, it is likely we would be forced to relocate the personnel and apparatus that currently operate out of Station 22 in order to staff the new station 25. Station 22 would be retired as an active fire station and the building would be used as an administration building.