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Fire Chief Wants His District to Keep Some F1 Sales Tax Revenue

Travis County ESD #11

The fire chief who leads the emergency service district around the Circuit of the Americas track is going before the Travis County Commissioners today to ask them to consider a tax deal if the track area is annexed by the City of Austin.

Fire Chief Ken Bailey leads Emergency Service District #11. Emergency service districts are entities created by the state to provide services to unincorporated areas, like the land around the Circuit of the Americas track. Bailey wants the city to keep the district in place, and let the district keep some of the sales tax revenue generated by the track to hire staff to respond to potentially increased calls.

Bailey says, right now, if the City of Austin annexes the track, the city would benefit from a 0.5 percent sale tax along with property tax revenue. Instead, Bailey is proposing that ESD #11 pay the city one-third of the district's 1.5 percent sales tax: equal, he says, for the city either way.

The benefit, Bailey says, is that ESD #11 has a fire station right next to the track while Austin's closest fire station is about eight miles away. Even if the city annexed the track, under the current agreement, ESD #11 would respond to any calls at the track first.

Bailey says without a tax agreement "the district will still be providing daily service to the track, but without the benefit of tax revenue." And, he says, the district has already invested in preparing for Formula 1 visitors.

Travis County Commissioners will consider supporting the proposaltoday. The City of Austin is holding a public hearing on the possible annexation on Thursday.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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