Portage property owners receive unpleasant mail each year in July and November in the form of City of Portage property tax bills. Although Portage tax bills are on the lower side when compared with other communities throughout the State of Michigan, regardless of the amount, the expense is, at best, unwelcomed. That is why we are pleased to report on the unrealized benefit of the cost of the tax bill to Portage citizens and property owners.
In 2018, the Insurance Services Office (ISO) conducted an analysis of the structural fire suppression system of the City of Portage. The last such study was conducted in 2012. As a result of certain significant changes in how Portage responds and combats structural fires, the Public Protection Classification (PPC) improved significantly. That improvement, with everything else remaining equal, will result in less cost to Portage property owners for fire insurance premiums. The new PPC rating will go into effect on March 1, 2019.
The improvements in the PPC rating were primarily the result of three actions undertaken by the City Council and the Department of Public Safety. Those three actions are summarized below.
Fire Division Accreditation
The Portage Department of Pubic Safety - Fire Division was the first in the State of Michigan to be nationally accredited by the Commission of Fire Accreditation. The program allows the Fire Division to compare performance standards to industry best practices in order to determine community risk and safety needs, develop specific standards of cover and to establish a method for achieving continuous organization improvement.
Addition of Fire Division Personnel
The Fire Division added three full-time firefighters and one training officer to bolster its team of personnel, resulting in added protection for the Portage community.
Consolidated Emergency Dispatch
Consolidation of five critical emergency dispatch services brings enhanced dispatch and response for emergency services in Portage.
These activities required action by the City Council to appropriate funds for the addition of firefighters and the cost to participate in the accreditation program. The City Council also approved the transition from providing emergency dispatch services in-house to the collaborative regional dispatch approach. Further, the Department of Public Safety has embraced the changes listed above in order for those initiatives to be successful.
The message to Portage citizens and taxpayers is to keep an eye out for those fire insurance rates! Hopefully, you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. Property owners are encouraged to contact their property insurance providers for information about how the PPC rating will affect their individual insurance rates.