Forest Park’s ISO rating improves

Effective Aug. 1, the Insurance Services Office rating for Forest Park residents improves from Class 3 to Class 2, said fire chief Eddie Buckholts. That could soon mean lower insurance premiums.

The announcement was made during Monday night’s regular meeting of the Forest Park City Council. Buckholts told officials that only 21 fire departments in the state hold a Class 2 fire protection rating, as issued by the ISO. Class 1 reflects the the “very best” in fire protection while Class 10 means protection is non-existent, he said.

“This designation is because of the leadership in the city and the fire department,” said Buckholts.

Typically, the better the rating, the lower fire-insurance premiums are for businesses and residents. Buckholts said he can’t guarantee anything right now.

“No one can guarantee right now that your rates will decrease or change but chances are, as of Aug. 1, you probably need to make a phone call to your insurance agent,” he said.

Firefighter training and distance between hydrants are a couple of risk factors considered in making the class designation.

In other Council news:

-- The council approved $73,925 to fund the position of Operations Officer for the fire department. City Manager John Parker said the position was created last year and the funds reflect salary and benefits from November to June 30.

-- Resident Carl Evans asked the council to look into city garbage pick up, complaining that several times this year, his trash was picked up just once a week instead of twice.

“I’m paying for twice-weekly service and I’d like to get it two times a week or get reimbursed,” he said. “In my business, if I miss a customer, I don’t get paid. I’d appreciate someone lighting a fire under them.”

Evans also praised Mayor Pro Tem Sparkle Adams for her involvement with Teen Council, a program she designed several years ago.

“I’m glad to see someone have a positive impact on the teens,” he said. “They are doing an excellent job with the community garden and have a field trip planned.”

-- Resident Cecil Gray complained about having to buy a permit from the city to patch his leaky roof. “Something’s wrong here,” he said. “I shouldn’t have to pay for a permit to have a hole fixed on my roof.”

-- Public Works Director Mike Gippert told the council that traffic signals through the city have been adjusted because of complaints by residents. “You should already see marked improvement in wait times,” he said.

-- Parker told the council that the FDIC has sold a condemned apartment complex. The Taj Mahal Apartments were condemned by the city and officials were beginning the task of evaluating the removal of hazardous materials from the buildings.

“They told me it is being turned into some sort of facility that takes care of older people,” said Parker. “They wouldn’t tell us who the new owners are, but they’ve got something that is working for that total facility.”

-- Forest Park will hold its quarterly “clean sweep” Saturday, between 9 a.m. and noon, at the recycling center at 327 Lamar Drive. Residents are required to show proof of residency. This event is only for residents of Forest Park who are within the city limits and who pay city taxes.

Eligible residents may bring anything for disposal except dirt, bricks, cement, 18-wheeler truck tires, or unknown chemicals, flammable liquids, dangerous corrosive material of any kind or acid. Car and pickup truck tires are welcome but there is a limit of four to a resident. Residents can make as many trips as needed until noon Saturday. The next clean sweep is the first Saturday in July.