Adams County creates three fire districts

Published 1:33 am Thursday, November 17, 2016


NATCHEZ — Rural Adams County homeowners could soon save hundreds of dollars each year on fire insurance.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to create three fire districts following a public hearing to which no one showed up.

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The fire districts will allow the Mississippi State Rating Bureau to come in and rate them from 1 to 10. A 10 rating is the worst rating and is the current for three of the four areas surrounding volunteer stations.

Supervisors anticipate the districts will improve from a 10 rating to a 9 because the Lake Montrose Road, Liberty Road and Foster Mound Road stations meet the other qualifications except having the fire districts set.

Kingston has already been upgraded this year, from a 9 to an 8 rating.

Before the rest of the districts can improve their ratings supervisors say investments need to be made in the county’s water lines. Currently much of the county has 2-inch lines, but upgrading to 4-inch lines would improve water flow and help with the fire rating.

Board Attorney Scott Slover said the fire districts are eligible for grants and gifts, but cannot levee tax millage.

Municipalities and fire districts are rated on aspects including dispatch, training, personnel, pump capacity and water supply.

Debra Harrigill with Byrne Insurance Agency said a basic homeowner with a $100,000 home and a $1,000 deductible would change from $3,421 per year at class 10 to $2,055 for class 9. Harrigill said quotes vary based upon other information gathered.

Supervisors have also recently opened up talks with the city about potentially building two fire stations in the county, on the north end and south end. While Board President Mike Lazarus said a tax increase would be likely, fire insurance savings should offset the increase.

Lazarus said Wednesday one potential option for taxation would be to incorporate fire districts within a five-mile range around the proposed county fire stations.

“This way, you only tax the people who would save on insurance,” Lazarus said. “Someone who wouldn’t get down to a (lower) rating wouldn’t have to have their taxes raised.”