Stewardship of resources was the theme of Monday’s county council meeting, with Fairfield County Fire Marshall Tony Hill giving a presentation during a light county council session.
Hill reported on the Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating improvements that came about in the Dutchman’s Creek area after a new fire substation opened there over the summer.
The county spent around $65,000 on the substation and according to Deputy County Administrator Davis Anderson, projected savings for homeowners on reassessed home insurance rates are projected around $60,000.
Fairfield County Fire Marshall Tony Hill said it took around three years to build the substation which brought an additional 175 homes into the Dutchman Creek Fire District.
Adding those homes led to a reassessment of the ISO ratings used by insurance companies to establish home owners’ insurance premiums.
ISO ratings are on a scale of 1-10 with a lower number equating to a lower insurance rate. Hill estimated on average that residents who were added to the system saved 50 percent on homeowner’s insurance.
Those residents saw their ISO rating decrease from 10 to six, however residents who already were within the Dutchman Creek Fire Department area saw their ISO rating increase from five to six. A masonry home carrying $250,000 of home owner’s insurance had a class 10 ISO and with that a $2,259 rate, but by reducing the ISO to six the customer experienced $1,278 in savings. The increase from class five to class six resulted in insurance rates increasing by $25-71 depending upon the home value and if it were a wood or brick structure.
ISO ratings are based 50 percent on fire departments, their equipment and staff, 10 percent on communications and 40 percent on water access.
Expanding the zone with the substation meant the department is more spread out from water access. That longer distance to water sources is contributed to the rise in rates, according to Hill.
“We are trying to do what is best for the entire fire district,” Hill said. “In the future we will try to get those ratings back down to a five.”
Hill said that process is being delayed until the ISO releases new regulations in 2013.
Delaying makes fiscal sense to Hill because then funds can be better allocated toward any new requirements that may arise.
“We don’t want to spend money until we know the new ISO changes,” Hill said.
In executive session, county council discussed a future land purchase by the county.
Council authorized for the county administrator to move forward with a land purchase in the Jenkinsville area.
The administrator cannot act until a full market value evaluation is done on the property.
The land purchase will be used for a future fire, medical and police station to serve the area.
The added emergency facilities are needed not only to serve area residents but to serve the expanding nuclear plant in the unlikely event of a nuclear emergency.
The next scheduled county council meeting is Monday, Oct. 22.