Commissioners approved the new Chicamacomico Fire Insurance District, as well as a contract with the Chicamacomico Banks Fire Department to provide service in the Salvo Fire District, at the May 15 Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting.
This action follows a presentation to the Board earlier this year regarding the merger of the two departments to enhance fire protection services for the communities of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo. At the February 20th presentation, Mike Daugherty, Chief of the Chicamacomico VFD, outlined several reasons why the merger was beneficial to the tri-villages community.
“The population of the three villages is between 450-500 people, and to draw a membership of 40 firefighters plus a board out of that small of a population is difficult,” he said. “By merging, we bring that minimum number down to 28 members, plus the board.”
He also noted that there would be community-wide financial benefits as well. Currently, the Chicamacomico Banks fire department has an insurance rating of 6, while the Salvo has an insurance rating of 9. The lower the rating, the better the rates, and once the merger occurs, all tri-village towns will collectively enjoy the lower rating, resulting in a decrease in insurance.
“And after combining, a year later, we would get re-rated [for insurance,]” added Daugherty at the February presentation. “With our combined equipment and resources, we should be able to drop our rating down hopefully one more slot, which would be lower insurance payments in all three villages… A lot of people’s wallets would feel much better about that.”
The merger process has been underway for a couple of years and was approved at the annual meeting for the Chicamacomico Banks Volunteer Fire Department last month. “As you know, the Chicamacomico and Salvo Fire Departments have been in the process of their merger… this is one more step towards that [end goal],” said County Manager Bobby Outten at the May 15 meeting.
The temporary contract allows the Chicamacomico Fire Department to provide service in the Salvo fire tax district, and the contract runs until June 2018. “This is a requirement for the department of insurance, [and the] state Fire Marshal did ask for a new contract to be written to take care of coverage in that district,” explained Steve Kovacs, Dare County Fire Marshal.
“What this contract will do is take the Salvo fire district tax and pay it to Chicamacomico, and [in return], they are agreeing to provide fire protection services in Salvo now,” added Outten.
The contract was unanimously approved, as was the second measure towards the merger – the creation of a new Chicamacomico Fire Insurance District.
“This is what we’ve really been working for through the merge,” said Kovacs. “In order to get the merge completed, one of the things we need to do is go ahead and refile a new insurance district with the department of insurance, and that is what we have [here.]”
The new tax district encompasses all private land from the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to the north, to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the south of the tri-villages.
“This is probably one of the last steps that we need to take place in order to file this,” added Kovacs. “The fire department itself has several items that they have to take care of, but as far as the board is concerned, this is what we have to do. As soon as this is approved, I’ll be sending this straight to the department of insurance.”
The Board of Commissioners’ next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 5 at 9:00 a.m.