The Town of Greensboro held its monthly meeting on Monday, March 13 at Gardner Hall.
The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and, following approval of the minutes from the February meeting and paying of the town bills, Greensboro resident Angie Pitts addressed the council, asking whether the town manager had responded to a letter from the Insurance Services Office requesting that the town submit a plan for improved fire protection, or the town would see its fire protection rating worsened, which in turn would lead to higher homeowner’s insurance premiums.
The issue was initially raised by Pitts at the February town meeting, when, following a sometimes heated discussion, it was determined that the town manager would send a response letter to the Insurance Services Office with the town’s plan to improve fire services, and that the issue would be revisited at the next monthly meeting.
At this meeting, Town Manager Dennis Henderson was asked by Pitts if he had responded to the letter from the Insurance Services Office yet.
Henderson replied that he thought questions should be asked by the council.
Council Member Kim Boyer then asked if Henderson had responded to the letter from the Insurance Services Office.
Henderson answered that the question should be asked by the council president.
Council President Bill Willis repeated the question, and Henderson replied that he had not, due to more recent phone and email correspondence with the Insurance Services Office which stated that a plan could still be submitted, but the town’s current rating was likely a response issue: without four certified firefighters on the town’s roster who can respond to each structure fire, the rating will probably not improve.
Council Member Libby Henderson then brought up the difficulty the town is having in recruiting new firefighters, along with the fact that the Insurance Services Office is owned by a group of insurance companies, and that higher premiums were not based on anything the town did wrong.
Council Member Henderson also said she had a problem with Pitts waiting for a public meeting to discuss the issue, instead of reaching out much earlier to the town manager.
After a heated debate, Pitts brought up the fact that the council had asked the town manager to send a written response to the Insurance Services Office following the February monthly meeting.
Town Manager Henderson replied that he had responded instead by phone to more recent correspondence from the Insurance Services Office, believing that would get better results that way, which was why he did not send the requested letter last month.
Council Member Michael Pitts then asked if there had been any written response to the Insurance Services Office, and Henderson said there had not been, and that he asked the person he talked to if a letter was necessary, and was told it would not be, and someone would be in touch with him soon.
After some more discussion, Council President Bill Willis interjected to say that when the council asked the town manager to send a letter, it should be done.
Willis then asked Town Manager Henderson when he could have a letter or email ready, Henderson said he could have one out by the end of the week.
Willis set a deadline of March 24 for Henderson to send the letter.
Stephen Klein – Gadsden County News Service