Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fire Grading District Public Hearing Set for Monday

(Louisville, Winston County, MS) The Winston County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Monday April 18th, 2016 during its normal Board of Supervisors meeting to receive public comments on the creation of a Betheden Fire Grading District.If approved the Betheden Fire Grading district will be the first of its kind in Winston County.

Among the many benefits of creating a Graded Fire District the foremost advantage could be a reduction in homeowner insurance rates for structures located within the graded district. If the Board of Supervisors vote to establish the District, the Mississippi State Rating Bureau will be contacted and an audit of the district will be conducted by that organization. The audit will determine how well the Betheden Fire District provides services as established by national standards that have been accepted for the State of Mississippi. At the conclusion of this audit the Betheden Fire Department will receive a grade of 1 to 10 based on its service, more importantly the fire department will also receive advice and a plan for improvement to allow further reductions.

Winston County has a population of approximately 19,000 residents and is serviced by 8 volunteer fire departments and one municipal paid fire department. While the municipal fire department has been graded for several years, this will be the first established fire grading district within Winston County. The other 7 volunteer fire departments have already completed petitions for grading district formulation and are slated to be scheduled for their own public hearings within the next couple of months.

Winston County has received assistance from the Mississippi Department of Insurance, The Mississippi Grading Bureau, and Golden Triangle Public Development District to achieve this development. Betheden Fire Chief Randal Livingston has been a driving force in creating this opportunity for the residents of his Volunteer Fire Department. He also serves as the President of the Winston County Volunteer Fire Association and has shared his efforts in district creation with the other departments in Winston County.

The volunteer fire departments have provided life-saving service to Winston County for many years, most notably during the tornado of April 28th, 2014. This district creation will allow these departments to continue to provide service as well as to allow cost saving to the members of their respective districts.