On November 20, 2013 I was invited to attend a meeting about the new proposed fire station in Choto called by State Representative Ryan Haynes at the Farragut Town Hall. The meeting was led by County Commissioners Richard Briggs and Ed Shouse. A few concerned and motivated residents of the Choto area were in attendance voicing concerns over the response time given by Rural Metro in that area, citing the fix to saving lives is a new fire station in Choto. Also in attendance from Rural Metro was Jerry Harnish. All parties agreed a fire department needs to be built in the Choto area. Thanks to Mayor Burchett and the work of the county commissioners, as well as Rep. Ryan Haynes it looks like they are closer to a solution, however we are waiting on @timburchett office to respond. The last piece….is making land available for the building, which as you can imagine can be tricky. Below is a little info about this community movement. The purpose of this post is simply to educate the Knoxville public:
1. This is a public safety issue first and foremost. The Choto area has grown via @wbir 600% in the last nunber of years and the response time to an emergency is extremely slow. We must save lives and we must do it soon!
2. In December of 2008 District 5 County Commissioner Mike Hammond dedicated a temporary fire station at Choto Marina. After a few months the temporary station fell through. The idea of a temporary fire station is extremely valuable, it is imperative for public safety to move forward with this temporary fix ASAP! If you are a Choto resident urge your county commissioners and County Mayor’s office to pull the trigger and find a quick fix for saving lives and your property ASAP!
3. The property tax revenue per home from the residence of Choto is one of the largest in the county. Given the revenue stream one of the rubs for the residents is obviously “We pay more than most in taxes, and we have very limited fire protection….why is that?”
4. Ok, so that makes some sense, but because they live in the county they must still pay Rural Metro service fees on a per square ft basis…..and these are again large square foot homes. Rural Metro does not discount membership fees due to slow response or fire protection classes. Therefore the residence of this area are paying the same amount per square foot that a normal county resident pays for adequate fire protection. To sum it up, Choto is paying higher payments for limited service. Here is a truly important piece if you do not pay your membership fee and you have a fire, you can call and fire trucks will show up…but you will be charged a LARGE amount of money per truck per hour to put out of the fire. Check with Rural Metro if you have questions.
5. So now we get to the insurance premiums. These homes are larger homes, therefore they are going to naturally generate larger premiums. However, they are located in Protection Class 10, compared to a close Protection Class 5 for the balance of the county. So what does that mean? It means that Choto has the highest Fire Protection Class and because of that Insurance Company’s are charging more in premium. Rightfully so….as response time is so slow to servicing a fire, the more the fire burns, the more the insurance company pays to rebuild the home. With insurance companies adopting GPS an insurance company can determine if your home is over 5 miles from a fire department, which changes your protection class to 10 and may increase your insurance premium by 100%…not to mention many insurance companies will not insure a home in a Fire Protection Class 10.
The residents of Choto are knocking on doors and calling one another to address this problem. The county government is addressing the issue as well. So hopefully the solution is close by…it is imperative we all work together to figure this out.