Springfield Looking To Add Firefighters and Equipment

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Springfield commissioners are taking steps to improve the city's fire rating.

The Insurance Service Office, or ISO, rates fire departments on a scale of one to ten.
One is the best. Ten is the worst.
In October, the ISO said Springfield was in danger of dropping to a "10", if city officials didn't make certain improvements.

"Which is the maximum. Some insurance may not even write you because the rating is so high. That's basically saying, you don't have no fire protection," said the Mayor of Springfield Robert Walker.

The rating could have a direct impact on property owners within city limits.
Some could lose their insurance.
Other will end up paying more for coverage.
To keep that from happening, city commissioners are proposing Springfield hire an additional six firefighters.

They plan to raise the money for the additional employees, through an annual fire assessment fee.

"Everyone's general fund is wiped out. Every year you're lucky to meet what you need to get so there's no other way to fund it," said Walker.

Walker says he doesn't know how much the fee will cost property owners, but says it will pale in comparison to the insurance hikes those owners will see if the city doesn't improve fire protection.

"We're going to do what we think is best for the citizens. Like I said, we'd rather see them pay the small assessment fee a year. It won't be by the month. It will be per year than to pay a larger amount of insurance rate," said the mayor.

If commissioners approve the proposal, the ISO wants the six firefighters trained and on the job by June 1st.

Commissioners will vote on the assessment fee Monday night in their regularly scheduled meeting.