Hardin-area ESD OKs $15K homestead exemption, approves land contract for new fire station

Board members for the Liberty County ESD #7 during the Nov. 12 meeting approved a $15,000 homestead exemption for residents within the district. The exemption is made possible by the approval of a one-cent sales tax increase that was approved by voters in the Nov. 5 election. Pictures sitting around the table, starting at left, are Mark Neal, Stephanie Johnson, Klint Bush, Richey Ewing and Mike Koen.

By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

Residents who live in Liberty County Emergency Services District No. 7, which includes Hardin, Moss Hill and Snake River, will see a $15,000 homestead exemption on their homes in the coming year. The ESD board voted on Tuesday, Nov. 12, to approve the homestead exemption after canvassing votes from the Nov. 5 election.

Voters in ESD No. 7 narrowly approved – 210 for and 186 against – a one-cent sales tax increase that will fund future ESD projects and lift the burden from property owners. The projected revenue from the sales tax increase is $140,000, far more than the ESD captured in property taxes.

The additional revenue will allow the ESD to fund or finance projects, such as the new fire station in Moss Hill, which will be built on land donated to Hardin Fire Department by Maci Feed Store and construction company owner Bill Wingfield of Moss Hill.

“The Moss Hill fire station is our top priority. That is going to cost between $500,000 and $1 million. We won’t have the cash for that project even with the sales tax increase, but it will allow us to borrow money and make payments,” said Klint Bush, ESD No. 7 chairman. “Our sales tax, based on current estimates, will bring in about $140,000, and that is before the new growth in Moss Hill from Dollar General and Fuel Maxx.”

With growth slowly creeping into Moss Hill, the ESD board knows that the fire service will be needed and called upon on a regular basis.

“We are going to designate roughly 30 percent of the sales tax revenue to Moss Hill’s fire station and operations,” Bush said.

The board on Tuesday also authorized a contract with a licensed property appraiser to assess the value of the current fire station on SH 146 at CR 2010 in Hardin. Bush said the ESD is looking to sell the current fire station, which has no room to grow, and relocate a half-mile to the north on property currently owned by Hardin businessman Russell Fairchild.

“We approved putting in an offer on the land tonight at the meeting. It’s three acres of prime real estate across from the Hardin Post Office. It will give us enough room for a helipad if we need it and plenty of room for community events,” Bush said. “We are being mindful of every dollar that we spend and are being good stewards for our community.”

The money for the new property will come from the sale of the current fire station.

“If we can sell the current station at what we want for it, then we will be moved into the new fire station in a year or so. The caveat to selling the fire station is that we will need to remain there until we are ready to move into the new place,” Bush said.

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