City of Springfield Reviewing Fire Services - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

City of Springfield Reviewing Fire Services

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The City of Springfield is making changes to keep residents and their homes safe, but it may come at a cost.

The fire department needs to hire additional firefighters and meet training standards to maintain the city's Public Protection Rating.

According to a release from the city, Insurance Service Incorporation told the city its fire department's staff numbers and training levels were inadequate, and its ISO rating would be downgraded if certain requirements aren't met.

The city's current rating is a six, on a scale from one to ten, with ten being the worst.

Springfield will need four of their own firefighters to respond to each call and receive certain training to maintain that rating.

In the past, firefighters from Callaway, Panama City and other areas have helped the city's firefighters with any emergency calls.

If no changes are made, the rating could rise to a ten and citizen's insurance premiums could rise or be canceled all together.

News 13 asked local insurance agent Trey Hutt, President of Hutt Insurance Agency, what the cost could be if Springfield doesn't maintain their ISO rating.

Hutt said, "I'd love to give you an exact amount. It could be anywhere from probably 10 or 15 percent to as much as maybe 20, 25 percent on the high side. As difficult as it is for Springfield, the larger cost would be much greater if they didn't try to maintain this standard."

The city needs additional funds to meet these requirements and are discussing the possibility of a fire assessment fee.

According to that release, if the city commission approves a fee, residents will pay $0.62 per $1,000 of the value of improvements (not land value) on each tax parcel and $88.31 per tax parcel.

The city also says it doesn't intend to charge schools, government-owned property, churches and other similar buildings.

The city will hold a public hearing for residents to discuss their concerns and questions on March 4th at 5:30 at City Hall.