Financial dispute could close local fire department

Sandy Oaks Fire Department might be forced to close for lack of funds


SAN ANTONIO – An ongoing financial dispute between the Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Services District No. 6 could force the department to close.

The dispute centers on receipts and invoices submitted by the department to ESD 6 for reimbursement, the primary way the department receives its funding.

Until recently, Sandy Oaks could receive up to $8,000 per month in reimbursed expenses.

But ESD 6 said during a Tuesday meeting that certain receipts and invoices the department submitted were either invalid or submitted too late.

In response, the district dropped the department's maximum reimbursement figure from $8,000 per to approximately $6,700.

"This being the end of the fiscal year, we needed to make sure our books were balanced," said Sylvia Mendelsohn, president of Emergency Services District 6.

"That difference is completely unsustainable for our department," said Stacy Smith, president of the Sandy Oaks Volunteer Fire Department.

Smith said the number is also unjust because all the receipts her department submitted were legitimate.

If the department is forced to close, response times during fires in the area will likely be thirty minutes at least, according to South Bexar Fire Deparment Vice President David Crowley.

Smith said her department plans to fight the ESD's lowering of their budget.