PUBLIC SAFETY BRIEFS
News from local emergency services districts
HarrisCountyESD11, CypressCreekEMS reachsettlement agreement on lawsuits
BY WESLEY GARDNER
counsel, in an email. CCEMS ocials declined to provide a comment on the agreement. The settlement follows an initial lawsuit led by CCEMS against ESD 11 in December 2020 that sought to recover $2.5 million in payments with- held by the district earlier that year. ESD 11 ocials said they initially withheld pay- ments because of documents that were allegedly withheld pertaining to an investigation into CCEMS that alleged the nonprot misused taxpayer funds. ESD 11 commissioners voted later that year to withhold 30% of CCEMS’ invoices due to allega- tions of unpaid employee insurance claims. In January 2021, the district led a counter lawsuit against CCEMS, claiming the entity stole up to $20 million in taxpayer funds. Per the settlement agreement, CCEMS is waiving its claims to recover the $2.5 million withheld by the district.
DOLLARS AND CENTS
A legal feud between Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 and Cypress Creek Emer- gency Medical Services is nearing its end after both parties agreed to a settlement that could result in CCEMS paying ESD 11 more than $2.5 million. The settlement agreement, signed by ESD 11 commissioners April 29, comes ve months after CCEMS led for bankruptcy. According to court documents, CCEMS will pay ESD 11 $413,000 in cash, up to $380,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds and up to $2.5 million resulting from the sale of CCEMS’ bankruptcy estate. The sale of CCEMS’ assets is stipulated in the agreement. “The settlement is a fantastic result for the district and their taxpayers with a value in the millions, netting immediate cash and a promise of more money later as CCEMS liquidates its assets,” said Brian Trachtenberg, ESD 11 special litigation
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 will gain the following as a result of a settlement with Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services.
$413,000 from CCEMS and aliated companies
Up to $380,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency monies Up to $2.5 million from CCEMS’ bankruptcy estate
SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY ESD 11, CYPRESS CREEK EMS COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Harris County ESD 16 to absorb Klein Volunteer Fire Department employees this summer
$100 valuation. ESD 16’s budget already pays for the payroll of KVFD, and ESD 16 expects money to be saved by the merger since the department’s administrative departments will be combined. “Moving the employees and volunteers over to work for ESD 16 will only change the name on their paycheck,” Jones said. Following the employee transfer, Jones said KVFD will no longer be eligible for the same funding it pre- viously received through tax dollars as it will no longer be providing reghting services. KVFD’s board has not yet determined what will happen to the department after the employee transition is complete. KVFD did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
THE NEXT CHAPTER The Klein Volunteer Fire Department has been serving the Klein community since the mid-1950s. 1950s-mid-1970: KVFD is housed inside a barn near Stuebner Airline and Spring Cypress roads. 1967: The department’s rst modern re truck is purchased for $5,200 . 1973-85: Stations Nos. 2-6 are built. 1998-99: Station No. 7 is built. 2003: The department’s rst platform ladder is purchased for $800,000 . 2019-20: Talks about ESD 16 absorbing KVFD begin. May 2022: ESD 16 prepares to transfer KVFD employees over to the department. SOURCES: KLEIN VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT, HARRIS COUNTY ESD 16 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
BY EMILY LINCKE
KVFD will be transferred to ESD 16’s payroll this summer should they choose to accept the job oers. Jones said the move will allow KVFD employees to receive more employment benets, such as retire- ment benets, while also making it easier to nd and retain employees as they will no longer be volunteers. “We recognize change is some- thing you have to do delicately,” Jones said. “We wanted to do this slowly ... so that we wouldn’t lose any of our volunteers.” Jones said the transition will not cause an increase in taxes as ESD 16’s tax rate is capped at $0.05 per
Over the next two months, employees with the Klein Volunteer Fire Department will be transferred to Harris County Emergency Services District No. 16, district ocials said May 3. According to former ESD 16 Commissioner and President Rich Jones, the move is the next step in the process of the district taking over services for the 52-square-mile area. Currently, ESD 16 contracts out re suppression services to KVFD. According to Jones, ESD 16 and KVFD have been working on this transition for the past two years. As part of the process, about 200 employees with
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