There may soon be a third emergency services district in Gregg County.
On Tuesday, Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said voters could get a chance in 2019 to cast a ballot in favor of the district’s creation.
“There has been some discussion about that,” Stoudt said. “My understanding is there is a petition being circulated into the election sometime this week. It is probably for a May referendum.”
Stoudt added this third district would encompass an area of north Gregg County in the area of Hwy. 259 and Bar K Ranch Rd.
“Right now there’s a volunteer fire department out there,” Stoudt said, explaining the volunteer department had existed for years but the establishment of a new emergency services district could change the way fires and other emergencies are handled in the area.
“If you create a special fire district, you’re given the authority to have taxation power,” Stoudt said, adding such taxation power could be used to generate funds for the new, professional fire department.
“They will take over prime responsibility for firefighting,” Stoudt said.
The judge explained Gregg County works with the cities of Longview and Kilgore to provide firefighting services to areas without close coverage by professional fire departments. In return, the county helps those cities with special projects, such as street repair, in return for the time, expense and effort incurred by deploying emergency services.