Purely from within our community through a “grassroots” effort. A citizens group will work to decide on the overall goals and the proposed district boundary, then circulate a petition among the voters within that area. Since the proposed District includes the City of Sunrise Beach Village, that City Council must provide written consent for the City to be included. A resolution has already been drafted for presentation to the City Council.
If we can gather 100 or more valid signatures on the formation petition, it is presented to the Llano County Commissioners Court. If the ESD is deemed feasible and necessary by the Commissioners Court, an election is held in which the voters in the proposed District must decide whether or not to create it.
Once the election is authorized, we will need everyone’s help to convince the voters that the ESD is in their best interest. If a majority of the vote is cast in favor, the District is created. If not, at least one year must pass before another election can be ordered.
ESD’s are governed by a Board of five Commissioners, and in Llano County that board is appointed by the Commissioners Court. Members serve two-year, staggered terms, and there are no term limits. Dual office holding, dangers of self-dealing, or other conflicts of interest are disqualifying factors.
All appointed ESD Commissioners must be 18 years of age and residents of the State of Texas. They must also be either a qualified voter in the District, or an owner of land subject to taxation by the District. Additionally, Health and Safety Code 775.034(g) instructs the Commissioners Court to also consider other relevant factors in appointments, such as whether the individuals have knowledge that relates to fire prevention or emergency medical services and that is relevant to the common policies and practices of the board.
All ESD Commissioners must meet specific training requirements, including at least one hour each on the Open Meetings act and the Public Information Act (Open Records) through the Attorney General’s Website. They must also obtain at least six hours of relevant continuing education at least once in every two-year period.
The law requires ESD Boards to hold regular meetings at least once a month, and public notice must be posted at least 72 hours in advance. The meetings must be open to the public, the agendas must state all topics for discussion, and complete minutes of all actions and proceedings must be kept and published. Executive sessions may be called, but are subject to very strict rules and limited topics.
Special meetings may be called, but these are subject to the same Open Meetings Act and reporting requirements as regular meetings. Emergency meetings – requiring only one hour public notice – may be called if the matter is of “urgent public necessity” where immediate action is required because of an imminent threat to public health or safety, or there is a serious unforeseen situation.