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After debate, council approves ESD 2 contract

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OVILLA - The city of Ovilla and  Emergency Service District # 2 have been at odds with each other for weeks, ending up with citizens not covered with emergency service.

As of Friday, Sept.30 the mutual contract between the two expired upon waiting renewal of contract.

ESD #2 covers the outlining areas of Ovilla and Midlothian not in the city limits. “We had a very easy process,” said ESD #2 President Ray Reed referring to the contract agreement with the city of Midlothian.

“It’s been a little more complicated in Ovilla- never our intention to break ties- ESD paid for and financed this [the city of Ovilla] fire station,” said Reed, elected president to the board in January.

Councilman James Wade was noted as saying, “the difference is Midlothian was more on goal with your [ Reed’s] idea.”

According to Ovilla Fire Chief Donnie Pickard, since January, the city has ran 150 calls to the ESD, roughly 30 percent. 

“This is a win-win situation for both of us, you are get $10,000 just to run a few calls,” said Reed.

Reed continued to say he was “making sure the money we are paying is getting the service it expects.”

Danny Long, vice president and commissioner for ESD #2 said it s the ESD Commissioners duty and responsibility to obtain contract with adequate controls that will ensure the fire and EMS protection of the citizens of ESD #2.

According to the contract pieced together and brought to the city for approval, was a $300 a day penalty would be charged to the city for inadequate coverage. 

Something Mayor Bill Vansyckle said,” is a bullying tactic.”

“Right now those citizens out there aren’t covered, but if we get a call, our fire department isn’t  going to turn away, we will offer  our help,” said Vansyckle. 

Long, in a letter read to the city stated, ESD # 2 has provided numerous upgrades for the city’s department since 2003 including: Providing funds to the Ovilla Fire Department to purchase a $350,000 pumper/tanker/foam truck,  built  and will pay $900,000 for the new Fire Annex Building that provides facilities to allow for 24/7 staffing, helping the city fire department move out of City Hall allowing the city enough room for departments to move into saving the city the expense of building a new city hall and paid $22,500 in ISO consulting fees allowing the city of Ovilla to go from a PPC-5 rating to a PPC-2 rating, resulting in a 14-17 percent reduction to Ovilla citizens insurance premiums. 

What the ESD wants, is staffing from the hours of 5:30 p.m. -7 a.m. which they claim is currently not available.

“We send them out, sometimes since they are volunteers coming from home, it just takes a little longer to get out to the outskirts of town,” said Vansyckle. 

“We do not let people go un-helped.”

After spending nearly an hour in closed session, council reconvened Monday, Oct. 3 to approved the contract, with changes, unanimously.

Councilman Mike Dickey was not present due to medical issues.

Unless the ESD calls an emergency meeting, the new amended contract will not be presented to commissioners until Monday, Oct. 17, leaving some residents unprotected. 

“Midlothian is suppose to be covering everything until our disagreements are worked out,” said Vansyckle. 


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