Citizens of certain areas of the East Oktibbeha Fire District may see up to a 40-percent decrease in insurance rates following creation of boundaries for the district.
At its meeting Monday night, the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the final order to create the district. The order will now go to the Insurance Rating Bureau to be finalized. The order will expand the grading district to include its District 5 boundary lines and Rockhill. The existing East Oktibbeha Fire District is approximately 34 square miles, and the new boundaries would add close to 40 square miles to the district.
“We’ve been working on this for a long, long time, so hopefully this will come through, and everything will go well,” said East Oktibbeha Fire Chief Greg Ball. “Hopefully everything will come through, and citizens in the north part of the county will see a reduction in their homeowner’s insurance.”
The process to expand the district has been ongoing, with the supervisors voting in November 2018 to adopt resolutions for the expansion of the East Oktibbeha and Bell School House fire districts.
Board of Supervisors President and District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said the measure would benefit the entire county. He also said he appreciated Ball and the others involved in the changes.
“On the back end, it will bring enhanced service to that particular area, but It also should have a positive impact on their homeowner’s insurance,” Trainer said. “When I say positive, I mean perhaps lowering their insurance, but just enhancing quality of life.
The district’s fire rating from the Mississippi Fire Rating Bureau is currently a Class 7.
“I’ll send our paperwork to the rating bureau tomorrow,” Ball said.
Jackie Ellis of the Educational Association of East Oktibbeha County also spoke to the board, asking for help for her group’s plans to turn the former East Oktibbeha High School/ Moor High School campus into a community center for the surrounding area. The specific request dealt with maintenance of the dilapidated facility, including mowing grass and some work on the building.
“Since its very beginning in 2004, our organization has worked on projects with dedication and commitment to improve our property for our students,” Ellis said.
She discussed events the group has held on the school property, including Juneteenth and back to school celebrations in 2018.
“What I would personally like to ask of you tonight is to consider our request,” Ellis said.
District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller asked Ellis why the group couldn’t offer the services they hoped to offer at the nearby Oktoc Community Center.
“That’s really close to the Moor High School for the activities you’re talking about,” Miller said.
Ellis said her group was not interested in using the community center.
The supervisors voted unanimously to begin the process, meeting with the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees to make any formal request necessary for cleanup by the county on its property.
“I’m sure that we’re going to take it one step and one bite at a time, ”Trainer said. “Whatever we have to do, we’ll get it done but we don’t want to take away from anything else we’re doing.”
The board also authorized its attorney, Rob Roberson, to work on language for a contract allowing the county to acquire school property.
“Of course, in order to have a contract that’s going to be feasible, we’re going to involve the school district in that discussion of what it’s going to take for us to legally acquire this building,” Trainer said. “That’s going to be a work in progress.
The board also unanimously approved looking further into the possibility of recording and livestreaming its meetings.
Retiring Central Oktibbeha volunteer firefighter Bob Cunningham was also recognized with a proclamation. Cunningham has served as a volunteer firefighter since the 1980s.