The ESD is a primarily a funding and policy making body, not an operational one. It is obligated to arrange for and oversee the delivery of the emergency services that were stated in its formation petition, utilizing the funds it collects through taxation. Although the ESD is empowered to provide the services directly, they generally contract with outside entities such as fire departments and first responder organizations.
Here in Sunrise Beach for example, the ESD Board would likely contract with the Sunrise Beach VFD to essentially keep doing what it already does, just with a better and more reliable source of funding. In other parts of the district, other agencies might be used. There would be formal, contractual relationships, negotiated and agreed upon just like any contract between separate, independent organizations. Compensation could take many forms, including budgetary and as-needed requests, per-call payments, area or percent of territory covered, etc.
Paid firefighters must be licensed by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, but volunteer fire departments are exempt from this requirement. Contracted EMS services must go to organizations licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Sunrise Beach VFD First Responder Organization qualifies. A representative from the contracted agencies would be expected to provide progress reports at the monthly ESD Board meetings, and vice-versa. The contract would also cover what happens in the case of an accident or resulting lawsuit, and how the organizations will handle liability issues.
Other ESD Functions
The ESD can establish a fire code, as long as it doesn’t directly conflict with any Llano County code, and it would obviously have to be coordinated with the City. As part of this code, the ESD could require building inspections, promote educational programs, and might levy penalties and fines for non-compliance.
The ESD could appoint and employ a Fire Marshal to cover the entire district, since the county does not already have one. The Fire Marshal may inspect buildings, investigate fires, and enforce ESD orders and rules. He/She can also regulate fireworks, within the guidelines established by the Commissioner of Insurance and the State Fire Marshal.