The Twain Harte Community Services District (THCSD) is pleased to announce that we will forego increases to tax assessment rates in the upcoming fiscal year for fire and emergency services. Our Board of Directors made the decision at their May meeting, in an effort to help the Twain Harte community weather the economic impacts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the year 2002 and 2011 the Twain Harte community voted to pass special benefit assessments to improve fire protection and emergency services. These assessments supplement the small portion of property tax revenue THCSD receives to provide these services. To ensure the assessments would cover continually increasing costs over time, the community also approved an allowance for annual inflation adjustments up to 4%, based on the local inflation index. THCSD normally approves these annual inflation increases, which have enabled our fire finances to remain healthy and capable of handling rising costs. We will not be levying inflation increases this year.
“We are proud to be able to help our community during this time. When voting for the fire assessments years ago, Twain Harte residents not only voiced their value for excellent fire services, they also put us in a position to continue to provide high level services during hard times” said THCSD Board President Eileen Mannix. “Their foresight combined with fiscally responsible management has enabled us to give back when our community needs it most.”
The decision to levy lower rates doesn’t mean our services will diminish. In fact, the annual assessments have enabled us to continually improve fire and emergency services. This month the Insurance Services Office (ISO) recognized our service improvements by upgrading THCSD’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating from a 3 to a 2 – a rating held only by the top 4% of fire departments in the nation. The ISO’s PPC rating is recognized nationally and is based mainly on quality of the fire department (staffing, training, response time, etc.) and the ability of the community’s water system to provide water supply for firefighting. For additional information on the ISO rating and how it is determined, please visit: https://www.valuepenguin.com/iso-fire-rating-home-insurance .
Included below are the improvements completed by THCSD since the last ISO rating that contributed to the new PPC 2:
- A Tactical Type 1 water tender was added to the fleet, improving our overall pumping capacity and access to water. This allows us to deliver more water to fires in less time, better enabling us to knock down fires in the critical early stages before they become out of control. For additional information on the project, please click here: https://www.twainhartecsd.com/thcsd-dedicated-to-rapid-response
- A raw water draft point was installed in Shady Brook Reservoir, enabling access to a large uninterrupted water supply for fighting large fires. It also helps us keep treated water in our water storage tanks so our drinking water is not depleted in large fire emergencies that can cut off water supply. Further details on this project can be accessed here: https://www.twainhartecsd.com/new-fire-emergency-water-source-42060f6c-9df2-4968-9af4-f27eebb379ce
- A second Intern Operator was added to each shift in order to allow for more flexibility in bringing multiple apparatuses to an incident.
- We increased the number of active trained community members serving on the Twain Harte Area Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), which assists firefighters and other emergency response personnel during large emergency incidents.
- We implemented an alternate emergency notification system with the air horn atop the firehouse and a corresponding public education campaign. More information on the alert system can be found here: https://www.twainhartecsd.com/when-does-thcsd-test-its-emergency-alert-horn
- Improvements to the water delivery system were made by installing new hydrants and larger water mains in some previously underserved portions of the district.
Other Noteworthy Projects:
- The Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) fill station was added at our live fire training grounds, enabling our firefighters to quickly refill air bottles used in fire incidents.
- We expanded our training program and added multiple training props at the Vantage Pointe Training Center, which enables our firefighters to train with live fire and perform realistic rescue training.
- We assessed target hazard buildings throughout the District and created digital plans of attack to help us better respond in emergencies. These “pre-plans” are easily accessed by computer tablets located in all of the District’s fire apparatus.
- We have strengthened and maintained an active Community Risk Reduction Program that includes annual performance of fire safety business inspections, vegetation management inspections and fire prevention and preparedness education.
“A direct result of our continual drive for excellence, this upgraded rating is a huge accomplishment for our District,” said Fire Chief Todd McNeal. “It is very rare for a rural district to rate this high and we couldn’t be more proud.”