Palo Pinto County commissioners voted to accept a petition from the Santo EMS for an election to establish Emergency Services District No. 2 in the Santo response area.
Of the 155 signers of the petition, the election office verified 144 as “qualified voters and property owners.”
The court set a public hearing date for Monday, Aug. 25, a regular meeting date, to consider the proposal.
On the granting of a petition, the commissioners court shall order an election to confirm the district’s creation and authorize the imposition of a tax not to exceed the rate allowed by law.
Santo EMS officials have said the service will be supported solely through sales tax. Under state law, that sales tax rate must be set by the ESD No. 2 board and presented to voters in an election.
“The board shall annually impose an ad valorem tax on all real and personal property located in the district and subject to district taxation for the district’s support and the purposes authorized by this chapter,” the state’s health and safety code reads.
Palo Pinto County Judge David Nicklas said that provision of the law has been reviewed and Santo EMS officials have said the tax rate they will set will be zero.
If voters approve, under state law, county commissioners will appoint five members to the board. Those members serve a two-year term. On Jan. 1, following the election, three retain the two-year terms, two are changed to one-year terms.

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Commissioners continue to appoint members of the board.
To be appointed, state law requires a member of the board must be at least 18; a resident citizen of the state; and a qualified voter within areas served by the district or the owner of land subject to taxation in the district.
“A district, or a person authorized by contract on the district’s behalf, may charge a reasonable fee for emergency services performed for or on behalf of a person or entity, including a fee for responding to a false alarm or for a fire code inspection,” the code notes.