ESD, Joshua may settle contract dispute

It appears as if Emergency Services District commissioners and Joshua City Council may take a redo on service contract negotiations.

The two boards each have a meeting agenda item tonight that, if approved, would secure Joshua Fire Department response in its historical service area in exchange for contracted funding from the ESD.

Both boards will consider a contract as presented in August, with amended funding.

An agreement brokered between an ESD commissioner and a Joshua official would contractually pay Joshua $129,250 for response beginning Nov. 1 and concluding Sept. 30, ESD Executive Director Burney Baskett said.

The ESD would be unable to restore the contract to the full funding formula of $141,000, he said, because of costs involved with responding since midnight Oct. 1.

"We've expended a little bit above that [monthly funding] level," Baskett said. "So, we will have to determine where that funding gap will be covered in our budget."

He anticipates ESD board approval, and has an expectation Joshua City Council will also approve the contract.

Attorneys representing the ESD and Joshua met to discuss an indemnification clause Joshua wanted to have edited or removed altogether from the contract in September, which the ESD did not.

"They never really reached an agreement," Baskett said.

Joshua would sign the contract with a "good faith understanding" that parties will work "to amend contracts for next fiscal year," Baskett said, that would be acceptable to all municipalities.

"I think we can improve a relationship with Joshua, because we have to," Baskett said.

The ESD has ensured response through the Chisholm Trail station while Joshua was not contracted with the ESD since Oct. 1. It may extend 24/7 response at the station.

"We feel response has been really good," Baskett said. "The area outside the Joshua city limits has been adequately protected."

That's an area Joshua firefighters would reassume Nov. 1, upon signing a service contract with the ESD.

ESD commissioners meet at 7 p.m. at 2451 Service Drive in Cleburne, with the contract as the first item under preceding business. Meanwhile, Joshua would likely act moments later upon the contract, as long as it is approved by ESD commissioners.

Burleson Star

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