With early voting underway and Election Day coming up Nov. 5, Gregg County voters in Emergency Services District No. 2 have a decision to make:
Should there be a 1.5% sales tax in the Liberty City area to support Sabine Fire Department?
Fire Chief Richard Sisk’s been making his case for the levy since pursuing an initial petition campaign to put the measure on ballots in Spring 2018. With the necessary support, ESD No. 2 board members ultimately opted for November polling.
If successful, the effort will raise sales taxes inside the district to a total of 8.25%, similar to surrounding cities and other communities statewide. For every $1 spent inside the ESD (by residents and passers-by) 1.5 cents will fill the coffers for Sabine FD.
“We believe it’s important,” Sisk said Tuesday. “We believe if we pass this it will change the level of emergency services that the Sabine Fire Department can provide to this community 24-hours-a-day.”
It’s just a penny-and-a-half on the dollar, Sisk says, but it could recoup between $300,000 and $400,000 annually for the department, currently funded by a 10-cents per $100 valuation tax adopted by voters four years ago.
Notably, that collection figure is just an unofficial estimate provided by the state comptroller’s office.
“They told us those were very rough numbers – it could be higher, it could be lower – they’re not 100 percent sure until they actually establish it.”
With early voting underway at Gregg County Courthouse, Sisk is looking ahead to Tuesday, when voters can cast their Election Day ballots at the old Sabine Elementary School cafeteria between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
So far, “It seems to be going well. We think we’re seeing positive results,” he said. “We hope that the people who support us turn out to the ballot. There’s always a few people that don’t support, but overall the majority, from what we feel, are supportive.”
Early voting began Oct. 21 and continues from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the courthouse in Longview. For polling information and details on other ballot initiatives in the November 2019 Amendment Election , log on to GreggCountyVotes.com.
Tuesday is also the last day for a ballot-by-mail to be received by the Gregg County Elections Office.