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Orangeburg County Council has approved beginning a process aimed at helping some people lower their fire insurance rates.

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Council approved a motion starting the drafting process of an ordinance that will extend the county’s fire service lines to incorporate Class 10 ISO-rated areas outside the five-mile radius of the City of Orangeburg. The areas are being served by the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety.

But because the areas are outside the five-mile radius, the property owners pay a higher rate for insurance. To an insurance company, a Class 10 ISO basically means the home does not have fire coverage.

According to Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young, many of the county fire stations are in closer proximity to the Class 10 areas than the city fire stations.

“There are areas from years and years ago we contracted with the city to do that five-mile radius. That was way before we started our county fire service. So, since we’ve built out our county fire service, there are some county fire stations within that five-mile radius that are actually closer to the individuals than the city is,” he said.

Property owners could see an improved ISO rating from 10 to as low as 4 or 5, meaning a significant drop in insurance costs.

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County and city officials have been negotiating a plan regarding the five-mile radius, and the county and city fire service areas.

Young said this potential ordinance will not affect those negotiations.

“Until we finish the negotiations with the city, we’re trying to do an ordinance that says the county will be getting back the areas that are closer to the county fire stations than the city fire stations,” Young said.

“Instead of us waiting on them to do an agreement, those individuals can actually now be turned back over to the county and go from a Class 10 ISO to a Class 5 or Class 3 or 2,” he said.

“That would eliminate those people from having high insurance,” Young said.

Also during the meeting:

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• Council approved a motion to hold third reading of a solid waste ordinance regarding the dumping of mixed loads at the county landfill. The ordinance will return to the Public Works Committee for further discussion, including expanding and further detailing the definition of a mixed load.

• Council appointed Charles Woods to the Santee Fire District Committee.

• Council approved the appointment of John H. Bounette Jr. of Neeses to represent District 4 on the Orangeburg County Human Relations Council.

• Council approved a resolution to amend the amended and restated agreement for development for a joint county industrial park between Orangeburg County and Dorchester County to include additional property.

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Administrator Young states the reason for the ordinance: “Under state law when you do an incentive, you can receive additional tax incentives when you allow that company to be in a multi-jurisdictional county park. What it is, is two counties that get together and once you do it with an adjoining county, they get 99 percent of the fee and you get 1 percent,” Young said.

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Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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