By Karen Daniels
At last month’s Annual Town Hall Meeting, one of the future goals listed by Mayor Scarcella was whether or not to preserve the Rating ISO-1 that the City currently holds. At that town hall meeting, the Mayor said, “Each year cities are required to do more and more” often placing financial burdens on their budgets. The difference between the 1 and 2 rating does not effect homeowner’s insurance; however businesses could see a spike in costs between 1% and 8%. Since the City of Stafford has such a large commercial base, this topic is important to many.
A presentation at last week’s Stafford City Council meeting was led by Fire Chief Larry Di Camillo, with Police Chief Bonny Krahn, to explain to Council and the Mayor how important and rare a Rating-1 is. There are over 47,000 fire stations across the nation that must be scored on fire suppression (1 being the best;10 being the worst.) Only 40 of these departments have a rating of 1, and of them, only 4 are volunteer fire departments such as Stafford, putting their department in the .001% of the entire county.
A perfect score in Texas is 106.5. It consists of 50 points for fire department capabilities, 40 for water supply and distribution, 10 for receiving and handling fire alarms, and 6.5 for fire safety education, building code enforcement, fire prevention code enforcement and fire investigation capabilities. To obtain a rating 1, departments in Texas must score 90 or higher. Last year, the City of Stafford hired consultant, Mike Pietsch, to asses and ensure they keep their high rating. He identified four key areas to improve their points, three of which are being put into place, giving the City a score of 91.56. Chief Di Camillo is concerned that this is cutting things too close and wants to implement two more suggestions from their consultant.
These two suggestions: 1) filling two extra time slots (not additional crew) and 2) semi-annual water pressure testing will cost the City an additional $169,858 annually.
Potentially these shifts could be placed at Station 3 located in Meadows Place. Chief Di Camillo said there is an uptick in calls to the Fountains area in Stafford as well as Meadows Place. The Mayor said that something “needs to be put in place that Council is comfortable with” and that the City “must be careful that we don’t send the Meadows a big bill.” After nearly two hours of discussion, a motion made to preserve the ISO Rating-1 passed unanimously.