WILKESBORO — The Wilkes County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to make changes to four fire districts based on technology that can help with funding.
After more than 20 years of research, changes will be made to the Austin, Pleasant Hill, Ronda Community and Shepherd’s Crossroads volunteer fire department districts as of January 1, 2019.
Designated by stringently applied guidelines and a geographic information system (GIS) program, properties will be designated by parcel number.
Wilkes County Fire Marshal Kevin Bounds explained the process in a recent commissioners meeting crediting Jessica Welborn, GIS planner at High Country Council of Governments, as well as Austin Fire Chief and acting Board President David Spicer and County Attorney Tony Triplett, with whom he has worked on the project for the past 22 years.
Through the efforts of these individuals as well as the fire departments and Commissioners Greg Minton and David Gambill, the completion of this project opens the county to grant funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The conclusion of this project also means the fire departments and the North Carolina Forestry Service can now pass their Insurance Services Office (ISO) inspections which help set standards for property owners’ insurance rates.
Bounds explained the guidelines are applied using the same standards to every area of inquiry, which will change some properties from an uncovered fire district, with those affected by the changes being notified directly.
The agreements between Wilkes County and the Austin, Pleasant Hill, Ronda Community and Shepherd’s Crossroads volunteer fire department districts as well as the lists of parcels involved can be found at www.wilkescounty.net.
The Wilkes County Board of Commissioners meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m. and at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month in the Commissioners Room at the County Office Building located at 110 North St. in Wilkesboro.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.