Fire department needs two more stations to keep up with city growth

Published: May. 22, 2019 at 10:59 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - As homes and businesses continue to pop up around Jonesboro, the fire department is struggling to keep up with the growth.

And if they don't find the money needed to expand, it may start affecting your wallet.

It's all about the Jonesboro Fire Department's ISO rating.

The Insurance Services Office rates departments on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the best, 10 meaning no fire protection at all.

Right now, Jonesboro is a Class 1.

That means home and business owners in the city pay the cheapest amount when it comes to insurance.

However, with so much growth on Hwy. 49 near NEA Baptist and Hwy. 49 South near Valley View, if the department can't come up with the money to add two more fire stations in the next couple of years, their Class 1 rating will be in jeopardy.

"It's never been a question of if we need new fire stations and if we need new personnel, it's how do we pay for it," Fire Chief Kevin Miller said. "How do we meet that funding need, that's always been the issue."

Chief Miller said they've been chipping away at the upgrades they need as funding allows, but that progress is slower than Jonesboro's growth.

That’s why Miller is also pushing for the one percent sales tax proposed by Team Jonesboro, half of which will go toward public safety.

Miller said with that money, the department would be able to take care of the expansion they need to keep a Class 1 rating.

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