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City Investments Are Paying Off

It appears as if all the millions in taxpayer funding residents have plowed into multiple municipal projects and upgrades in Wheeling will finally be making a difference in their pocketbooks.

City Manager Robert Herron this week told City Council that Wheeling’s Insurance Services Office rating — a classification based upon a city’s preparedness to protect its community from fire –has increased from a 3 to a 2, with 1 being the top score. A city’s ISO rating is one of several factors insurance companies utilize when determining insurance premiums for homeowners, Herron said.

“It’s very good news,” Herron told council. “That is a direct result of efforts from city council all the way down from funding water projects, funding the fire department equipment and funding the fire department facilities, among other efforts.

“It will ultimately save homeowners — when it becomes effective on March 1, 2022 — additional funding on their homeowners insurance.”

Among fire department services and factors considered in an ISO rating are firefighter staffing levels, training and average proximity to the nearest firehouse. The number and location of fire hydrants and availability of water supplies also contribute to the rating system.

Additional factors include the quality of the area’s emergency communications systems — including the 911 system, and the availability of community outreach programs and safety courses.

Reliable water service and the number of dilapidated structures in a city also factor in, city officials said.

“They basically predict the amount of risk in a response district,” Wheeling Fire Chief Jim Blazier said of the ISO rating. “We’re always looking at things we can do to help improve our score. We’ve been close in recent years of moving from a 3 to a 2, so this is a big step for us.”

That’s really good news for the city and its fire department — and also good news for homeowners and property owners.

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