Since House Bill 469 was signed into law, Lamar County Supervisors are already focusing on redrawing district fire lines in the county to better serve the citizens.
“That law was passed to give the board of supervisors the authority to redraw fire district lines, as necessary to improve the fire ratings and fire services to the citizens,” said Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits.
This week, supervisors focused on three areas in the county.
“There have been ongoing conversations to see what needs to be done and what areas need to be addressed,” Waits said. “The boards in conversation with several of the fire districts and there’s some ongoing discussions about things that can be done to improve.”
The three that the board acted on during Thursday’s meeting are in various parts of the county.
“They created a fire grading district for the area south of Lumberton, which will immediately improve the insurance ratings for those citizens,” said Waits.
“We also created a fire grading district around the Purvis area, it’s an area that the Beaver Lake fire district was responding to, it’s within the Beaver Lake fire district,” he said. “That simplifies some things with the insurance commissioner and there reporting there, it probably won’t have much of an impact on the rating, insurance rating, but it was just to tidy up some insurance items.”
“They also created the Hickory Grove fire grading district, separate from the Oloh fire protection district,” said Waits. “Folks in that area of the county had requested that and it will give them some autonomy and direction from the board of supervisors in controlling their fire protection.”
Waits also described the difference in fire grading and fire protection districts.
“Fire grading district is an area that is designated for grading purposes, that allows the insure ace rating bureau to rate them which then gives them, in most cases a better insurance rating because they are now in a rating district as opposed to just an area that has no rating, no consideration,” said Waits. “A protection district is a district that’s been established for a specific fire protection.”
Waits said these changes are all positive steps for the county.
“It all certainly is positive for the citizens of the county and part of the ongoing conversation of continuing to improve our fire services,” said Waits. “The fire districts are working to is do we have all those areas covered properly, aligned properly, and is there any area that needs addressing.”
He said the overall goal is to keep people safe, and lower their insurance cost.
“The goal is to make sure, number one, people’s insurance cost is as low as they can be, by being properly identified within a fire grading or protection district,” said Waits.