May 15, 2010 8:33:00 PM
Kristin Mamrack -
For the first time, Lowndes County homeowners in an area west of the river -- in District 5, north of Highway 82 -- will enjoy a reduced rate on their fire protection insurance.
County Fire Administrator Sammy Fondren Friday told the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors an area of District 5 -- north of Highway 82 -- went from a Class 10 fire rating to an improved Class 8 rating.
The new rating affects homeowners within a five-mile driving radius of the county''s new fire station, located at 4018 Old West Point Road.
A public open house will be held May 22 at the new station from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The improved rating means a homeowners insurance rate reduction of about 35 percent, Fondren said, noting the reduced rate is effective with new policies and retroactive with existing policies.
Homeowners with policies existing prior to the rating reduction will receive insurance rebate checks on a pro-rated basis, he added.
"It''s a combination of a lot of things," Fondren said of the improved rating. "They did a preliminary assessment (five years ago) and, at the time, the water system was growing and the department was starting to grow. Everything was in place, except for a new fire station. You''ve got to have the water system in place, you''ve got to have the trucks, you''ve got to have the man power. The station was the only holdup. We finally got the station in (and a new tanker truck)."
State officials review water and training records, as well as truck and equipment inventories, among other things to determine the ratings.
Districts 1, 2 and 3 of the county have a Class 8 rating.
Additionally, a small portion of District 4 has a Class 8 rating.
Aside from the area of District 5 with the newly improved rates, all areas west of the Tombigbee River, except the towns of Crawford and Artesia, have a Class 10 rating.
The towns of Artesia and Crawford enjoy a Class 9 rating.