Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ESD 5 Suspends Jarret VFD

VON ORMY— Bexar County ESD No. 5 has suspended its service contract with the Jarret Volunteer Fire Department, leaving the department without income or a service area.  Commissioners have cited “financial instability” as the primary reason for the suspension.  The department was unable to make its annual payment of $51,000.00 for the new Von Ormy fire station. 
     Jarret VFD has objected to the suspension and the categorization of being financially unstable.  Jarret VFD made its $17,000.00 portion of the annual payment to the USDA on time, but both ESD 5 and the City of Von Ormy have not yet provided their portions of the payment.  The Jarret fire station was a joint project of Jarret VFD, the City of Von Ormy, and Bexar County ESD No. 5, with each party pledging funds to the project. 
     ESD 5 signed a letter of intent to provide $21,000.00 annually to the station.  The City of Von Ormy also budgeted $20,000.00 in its budget for the station.  Neither of those payments have been made to date.
     Jarret members have questioned how can they  be suspended for financial instability, when the financial instability cited was caused by the ESD’s and City’s decision to not fund the station as promised.  
     ESD 5 commissioners have cited delays in the fire station’s construction and the cost of the project as their primary concerns for withholding funds.  The project was originally scheduled to be completed in the summer/fall of 2014.  After repeated delays the original contractor on the project was replaced. A claim on the project’s performance bond was made and the bond company hired a new contractor to complete the project.
    As of the print date of this article the fire station has been completed and a request for a Certificate of Occupancy inspection has been made with the City of Von Ormy.
    Jarret VFD has received a payment extension from the USDA, who funded the loan on the project.  The department has been working to address the concerns of the ESD and is actively seeking reinstatement. 
     In the mean time, the Von Ormy area is being covered by Somerset VFD, Lytle VFD and ESD 5 Fire and Rescue.

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