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Officials seek fire districts to lower insurance costs

Lincoln County supervisors Monday approved a plan to allow theHog Chain Volunteer Fire Department to proceed in creating a firegrading district, a move that is intended to help lower citizens’insurance premiums.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 20in the county boardroom of the Lincoln County-Brookhaven GovernmentComplex.

The plan would create defined boundaries and establish anon-taxing district within the area served by Hog Chain VFD for thepurpose of lowering insurance premiums, said Lincoln County FireCoordinator Clifford Galey.

Changes made within that area, such as the installation of firehydrants, will help the department secure a lower insurance ratingfrom the Mississippi State Rating Bureau, a division of theDepartment of Insurance, he said. The district’s classification isexpected to lower from Class 10 to at least Class 9.

A Class 9 rating would save residents a minimum of 15 percent ontheir fire insurance premiums the next time the policy comes up forrenewal, Galey said. Residents living within five miles of the firestation will be eligible for the benefits.

Residents outside of the five-mile perimeter of the gradingdistrict will not benefit from it, he said. However, as otherdistricts work toward the same goals met by Hog Chain residentswill eventually receive the same coverage.

“When other districts do the same thing, it will encompassthem,” Galey said.

In a related matter, Galey said he submitted the final paperworkMonday to create the Zetus Fire Grading District. A public hearingon the Zetus district was held in August.

Officials with the state rating bureau can now review the Zetusdistrict, hold a final inspection and assign its class rating,Galey said. He could not, however, give a timeframe for the reviewand assignation.

Bogue Chitto, East Lincoln and Heuck’s Retreat volunteer firedepartments are also working toward the creation of gradingdistricts in their area, he said.

Most likely, Bogue Chitto VFD will be the next to seek theboard’s approval, Galey said.

“We may be able to start the legal process this year, but therewon’t be any developments until well after January,” he said.

The departments at East Lincoln and Heuck’s Retreat are muchfurther behind, Galey said. Those departments are not able to meetthe classifications of a lower rating because fire hydrants are nota possible solution in those districts as a viable, reliable watersource. The departments are having to determine alternativesolutions.