What Can We Do For You?
Emergency Services District
Whether it is a special purpose district seeking to place a bond on the election ballot, a loan solicitation to acquire new apparatus or seeking construction financing for a new fire station with a sales tax pledge loan, our lawyers have helped secure millions of dollars of public financing for our government clients. We work with a variety of brokers and banks to seek the lowest interest rate and obtain the most value for our clients and their constituents.
As everyone knows, infrastructure is very expensive. Paying for infrastructure improvements like water and sewer systems, fire apparatus, public administrative buildings and fire stations is virtually impossible without public financing. Fortunately, there are multiple avenues to obtain those funds.
When deciding how to maximize the use of limited public funds, our clients have turned to us for help. We have worked to secure long-term loans and lease-purchase agreements to acquire the assets our clients need to perform their life saving work. There are a variety of different process for obtaining those needed funds. Our goal is to always maximize cash flow for our clients while seeking low rates for tax-exempt financing.
Texas law requires bidding for large purchases and public works and also limits how local governments acquire debt to secure the funds for those large purchases and public works projects. Failing to comply with bidding requirements can lead to serious civil or even criminal penalties, so you need experienced professionals helping you clear these hurdles. We help our clients develop bid packages to solicit proposals for buildings, fire stations, fire trucks, ambulances, emergency equipment and rescue tools. We look forward to helping you too.
Transparency is a hallmark of Texas government. The attorneys at Coveler & Peeler, have years of experience assisting our governmental clients live up to the high Open Government standards established by Texas law while also helping them legally protect their confidential information.
Our lawyers have developed a proficient knowledge of open records laws and procedures ranging from routine responses to requests under the Public Information Act to protecting Emergency Medical Services patient records in District court. We have assisted clients in securing rulings from the Texas Attorney General on highly technical provisions of the Public Information Act in response to complicated or voluminous requests from political groups and the press. When the need arises we also help our clients avail themselves of their ability to use the Public Information Act to access information held by other regulated public entities.
Our clients also depend on our assistance in the related field of records management. We ensure that our clients have the proper policies and procedures in place to meet the requirements of the Texas Local Government Records Act and schedules promulgated by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
We have dedicated ourselves to local governments and state agencies regarding their obligations under the Texas Open Meetings Act. The people of Texas have the right to know what their government does and how it spends their tax funds, but the local and state governments also have limited rights to conduct closed meetings in order to protect the government’s interests. We help the governing boards stay on the right side of the law when Open Meetings questions arise.
The budget and ad valorem tax setting process is one of the most important tasks carried out by an Emergency Services District Board each and every year. Without tax funds the districts cannot maintain adequate fire stations, buy new fire trucks or staff ambulances with qualified emergency medical technicians. We work to ensure each district legally secures the tax levy necessary to provide the vital emergency services to their taxpayers while also providing the taxpayers with all the tax setting information they are entitled to under the law.
Our attorneys have many years of experience working with District Boards, appraisal districts and tax assessor-collectors all over the state to coordinate compliance with the Truth-in-Taxation laws of Texas. We work with the boards, their service providers and accounting professionals to develop the annual budget necessary to fund administration, debt service and fire, rescue and EMS operating expenses. This includes participating in budget committee meetings, reviewing budget and purchase requests from fire and EMS staff and preparing the proper agenda items necessary to review and adopt the budget in conformity with the Texas Open Meetings Act.
We also coordinate with the local appraisal district staff to be sure that the districts prepare the required tax notice publications in a timely manner. Once the appraisal district certifies and delivers the tax roll to the district and tax assessor, the district is on a tight schedule to meet Truth-in-Taxation requirements, which can include multiple newspaper publications and public hearings, all with stringent fixed deadlines. We work with the boards to remove any stumbling blocks during the process.
As the final step in the tax setting process we make sure that the meeting notices comply with Truth-in-Taxation requirements and that the tax orders are adopted and filed with the county tax assessor-collector in a timely manner. We also coordinate with the tax assessor-collector to be sure that the proper contracts and resolutions are in place to allow for the collection of delinquent taxes, penalties and interest and to provide tax exemptions granted by many Emergency Services Districts.