Green Forest sees drop in fire insurance

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

GREEN FOREST ---- Homeowners within five miles of town, or within 1,000 feet of any fire hydrant, should realize a reduction in fire insurance rates soon.

Fire Chief Chris Trask announced at Monday's agenda setting meeting that the fire department earned an ISO rating of 4, remarkable for a town the size of Green Forest.

"There is not another town our size that's a 4," added Alderman Paul McCormick. He said the improved ISO rating is because of the department's equipment, training and mutual aide agreements and noted that homeowners should expect a 7 to 12 percent reduction in insurance rates after the rate goes into effect Feb. 1. The department was previously listed at 6 on the ISO scale.

A new sidewalk along U.S. Highway 62, between Thorne and Butler streets, should be under construction in the next few months.

Public Works Director Buddy Fry made that announcement, saying the state highway department's project was proceeding and the city was given the go-ahead to advertise for bids. The project will include a pedestrian bridge across Baby Yocum Creek along the highway, and will link the town square to the post office. The city is required to finance 20 percent of the overall project.

Attorney Kent Crow addressed the council at Mayor Richard Deweese's request. He is being considered as a replacement for Jay Minor, who served as Green Forest city attorney for nearly 20 years before announcing his resignation last month.

Crow said he has practiced law in the county 15 years, lives in the Green Forest school district and proposed a fee schedule similar to what the Eureka Springs city attorney earns. He said he would be available 24/7.

Vacancies on the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Planning and Zoning Commission are scheduled to be addressed at next week's city council meeting, along with other items.

They include: an update on phosphorus mandates at the wastewater treatment plant; an update on the East Ridge sewer project; bids on a curbing project along Venture Street in the industrial park; the second reading of the Tree City USA ordinance that the Planning and Zoning Commission opposes; a visit with Carroll County Learning Center representatives who propose building low- income apartments and a pre-school center; water fee recommendations presented by Susan Poe with the Arkansas Rural Water Association; and step raises for several city employees.

A budget meeting is proposed for the week of Jan. 17.

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