FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Chris Steele, President of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association Local 624, (210) 699-9400
City annexation plans violate state law, will place citizens in danger
SAN ANTONIO, TX - San Antonio City Council members voted Thursday to annex certain portions of Bexar County. The City's plan, however, fails to address the need for additional fire protection in the area to be annexed, in direct violation of state law and placing citizens living in those annexed and surrounding areas in potential danger.
“When minutes matter most during critical emergency situations, first responders will be even further away from being able to provide lifesaving assistance that all City of San Antonio residents are entitled to,” said Chris Steele, President of San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association.
SAPFFA is seriously concerned the City’s plans for annexation would leave that area without adequate resources including sufficient equipment and experienced, qualified personnel.
It’s the exact reason why in 2015 Texas lawmakers enacted a lifesaving amendment to ensure that when a city chooses to annex, newly annexed residents would receive full city resident services. Under Texas Local Government Code Chapter 43, the City of San Antonio must complete a service plan that provides the extension of full municipal services to the area being annexed. Furthermore, the law states the service plan may not result in a reduction by more than a negligible amount in fire protection and emergency medical services, which existed in either area prior to annexation.
“We’re committed to providing the highest level of care we possibly can,” said Steele. “Through expertly trained paramedics and excellent response times, we’re dedicated to San Antonians and all those we may assist in the future.”
SAPFFA is currently being sued by City of San Antonio officials over a contract that they themselves agreed to in 2009. Judge Martha Tanner sided with SAPFFA in Dec. 2015, confirming the contract was valid and binding.
“It appears that once again, the city is making decisions that clearly break the law and ultimately cost money and frustrate citizens,” said Steele. “At the end of the day, we take our call to protect and serve the citizens of San Antonio to heart, whether that be through firefighting, exceptional medical care, or standing up to City officials that seek to cause harm.”