The Gregg County Commissioners Court on Monday named five people to the board of its newly created Emergency Services District No. 3.
At their regular meeting, commissioners officially created the new district, which voters overwhelmingly approved May 4. The district will serve unincorporated areas north and east of Longview.
The area already had a volunteer fire department, but with the emergency services district, it will receive funding from taxpayers, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said.
More than 100 property owners and registered voters petitioned for the creation of the third ESD to raise revenue needed to boost fire protection and emergency medical response and services. Enhanced services will include paid, full-time firefighters and improved equipment and facilities in areas that include Judson, Omega, Tryon Road and Seven Pines Road.
The newly appointed board will set a budget and a property tax rate of no more than 10 cents per $100 of valuation. Stoudt said Monday the taxes to fund the department’s trucks and other materials could be as low as 3 cents or as much as 10 cents.
The five board members appointed Monday are Barbara Berry of Texas Bank and Trust; Sam Satterwhite, owner of Satterwhite Log Homes; B.H. Jameson, Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace; Tony Martin, who is retired; and Miles Darby, businessman and attorney.
Stoudt said the court selected the board members from a list of those who volunteered to serve. He said commissioners vetted candidates before making their decisions.
Commissioners also approved a contract with Stealth Partner Group to provide medical stop-loss insurance to the county.
“We are self-insured,” Stoudt said. “We don’t have individual policies on everybody. We will insure up to a certain amount, like, $25,000 we insure, and then a carrier will come in and pick anything else up after that. Once someone gets sick and it exceeds $25,000, the stop-loss insurance will cover up to the aggregate amount.”
Stoudt said seeking the new bids helped the county save on premiums. Claims liability expenses were going to go up 3.29 percent but now will be held to 0.17 percent. Maximum liability was going to go up 3.6 percent, but after the new bid, it will go up 0.51 percent.
Kevin Marshall, the county’s veterans service officer, also gave a report on fiscal year 2018 veteran expenses. He said Gregg County still is serving more than 8,000 veterans and had $613,590 in total expenditures.
Marshall said he is proud of an increase in the number of women veterans using services. Part of the reason for more women is the hiring of a female veterans services officer, he said.
“We are continuing to have more female veterans come forward and seek the benefits that they earn,” he said. “Slowly, but surely, we’re still getting them to come forward.”