COVINGTON, Ga. – The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Feb. 4 to give the go ahead for the construction of a new fire station on the county’s east side.
The vote came two weeks after the problem of quadrupling homeowner’s insurance rates was discussed by commissioners. The lack of fire protection in the area had been blamed for the drastic rate increases.
County Manager Lloyd Kerr said the county is considering sites along County Road 213, Big Woods Road, Dixie Road, Starrsville Road, Elks Club Road and Poplar Hill Road. He said the goal is to cover the most properties with the greatest density of people within five road miles of the new station.
District 4 Commissioner J.C. Henderson asked if construction of the new station would improve the county’s ISO rating in the area and lead to lower insurance costs. Kerr said it should, but some properties will still be out of the five road mile area and inadequate water supplies will affect others.
“There will be some people who are not going to be covered within that five road mile area, but if we did place the station in any of those areas that I mentioned and with the construction of station 8, we’re going to have about 95% of the people in the county covered,” he said.
“But, in truth, there will be some properties that will be outside of that five road mile – not a radius but a road mile- and who are also not currently served with public water or have hydrants or a water supply nearby.”
Fire Chief Michael Conner said ISO grades the county in four main areas – fire department, water supply, communication and training. He said the county’s recently purchased water tender or tanker can help with the water supply issues.
Kerr told commissioners cost estimates for the new station range from $3.5 - 4 million with a new fire truck costing around $700,000 and additional equipment $138,000. Commissioners held off on making a decision on how to fund the new station until exact costs are determined.
District 5 Commissioner Ronnie Cowan told The Covington News Thursday that the county is still looking for a temporary remedy for fire protection in the area until the new station is built.