On Oct. 7, voters who live in the fire service areas of Big Lake and Meadow Lakes will decide whether to unify the two fire service areas.
"One of the reasons behind a merger is to enjoy the economies of scale that come with it, such as reducing redundant operational and capital expenses," said Borough Emergency Services Director Dennis Brodigan. "For example, we could construct one fire station to serve both areas instead of two fire stations," he said.
Proposition 5 and 6 on the ballot are only voted on by residents in the Big Lake and Meadow Lakes fire service areas.
As a result of the unification, the fire service area mill levy remains the same for Meadow Lakes, but decreases for Big Lake.
The proposed mill levy for Big Lake and Meadow Lakes fire service areas is 1.49 mills. (This is not in addition to the existing mill levy.) This equates to $149 per $100,000 in assessed value for the first year.
Unifying the resources and the manpower of the two areas may affect the area's ISO rating. The Insurance Service Organization is an agency that rates all fire departments in the U.S. and their capabilities. A lower ISO rating reflects the increased capabilities of the fire protection services. A good rating (a lower rating) often leads to lower insurance premiums for property owners. A higher rating often leads to higher insurance premiums. Not all insurance companies will reduce premiums, however, even with improved ISO ratings.