COVINGTON, Ga. – The Newton County Board of Commissioners took a step toward improving fire service response times on the county’s northern end Tuesday night when it voted to approve the purchase of land to build the county’s eighth career fire station.
The new station will be built on four acres on Gum Creek Road north of the Gum Creek Landing subdivision. The new station will replace what is listed as the county’s current station 8, the old North Newton volunteer station on Hwy 81 north of Oxford.
Commissioners approved a request to hire firefighters to staff the new station in December.
Fire Chief Michael Conner said the new station will have a favorable impact on homeowner’s insurance rates for people on the county’s north side.
“Chief (Brad) Stapp and I started looking in the area for where would be a prime location to build a station so that the most citizens of the county could reap the benefit from a lower ISO rating,” he said.
Conner said the county currently has a 5/9 rating. He said home within five road miles of a fire station has a Class 5 insurance rating.
“If you’re outside that five road miles, you’re a Class 9,” he said, “And that could be an average of about $700 a year on your insurance premiums.
“As we were looking to identify parcels, we looked at areas that never reaped a benefit from a fire station within five road miles. We saw that out around Hwy. 138, Old Hwy. 138, Kent Rock Road, Hightower Trail, Station 8’s current location on Hwy 81, those were outside of station 8 and 9’s response territories so we had several hundred addresses that were never able to receive the benefits of a lower ISO rating.
“By moving this station to this location a little north and east, we were able to encompass all of those addresses. People in that area will see a lower insurance rate with the construction of that station.”
County manager Lloyd Kerr told commissioners the cost of the land is $41,000.
“That is the appraised value of the property,” he said.
Conner told The Covington News the next step will be the preparation of a request for proposal for the design and construction of the new fire station. It will be built using money generated by the county’s 2011 SPLOST.