Not ‘belonging’ could cost you a bundle

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A map shows the present fire district boundaries in Scenic, AZ. Everything in yellow is the fire district. All homes directly adjacent to the boundary line are eligible to join the district but with present laws in place, the homes in the middle may never get a chance to join. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Not belonging to the Beaver Dam/Scenic Fire District won’t deter the fire department from saving your home but it could cost you a fortune if you have a fire. This was the topic of discussion during the Scenic Community Betterment Meeting held on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

Beaver Dam Fire Department Battalion Chief Andre Ojeda told residents that the fire department would put out a fire in any home in Scenic regardless of whether the homeowner belongs to the district or not, but not belonging could earn you a bill of up to $10,000 for that service.

Presently not many homes in Scenic, Arizona, are part of the fire district because the home/property owners have to specifically join the district. The problem is, in order to join the district your home has to be adjacent to the district borderline. If your neighbor’s home is adjacent but your neighbor doesn’t join the district, the border stays at your neighbor’s property and makes it impossible for you to join the district under present state laws.

The BDFD is working diligently to have that law changed. Some residents have been waiting as long as 10-15 years and are still ineligible because their neighbors either have undeveloped land or homes that are only part time residences and don’t see the value in joining the district thus preventing any further growth.

The cost of joining the district is assessed based on property values but for the majority of residents the cost would be approximately $76 and change per year which is added to the property tax. The cost could easily be offset in the cost of your homeowner’s insurance due to your ISO rating factors. Not belonging to the district puts most homeowners at an ISO rating of 10. Joining drops that rating to seven which will save a significant amount on the homeowner’s insurance policy which would offset the yearly cost.

Presently, BDFD is staffed with just two people Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. until midnight and on Sunday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. still leaving open gaps for coverage, especially if a fire were to break out overnight.

The additional benefits to having all the homes in the district join is the extra funding the fire department would receive. With the extra funding the department could hire additional staff to cover those gaps and in the long run the whole community benefits in case the unimaginable might happen.

Presently the new fire station in Scenic is only able to be staffed on a part time basis due to lack of funds. This leaves all Scenic homes in the hands of the Beaver Dam station attendants. When a truck is dispatched out of Beaver Dam, the time it takes to reach Scenic could mean a world of difference in being able to save the home or having it be completely consumed by fire; precious minutes lost could also mean the difference between life and death.

Until the laws are changed, keeping in mind that Mohave County works at a snail’s pace, all residents are urged to join the district, not just for their own personal benefit but for the betterment of the entire community.

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