The proposed City of East Cobb will deliver Fire & Emergency Services to the residents of East Cobb as detailed in HB-841. Currently served by the Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services, two fire stations (15 & 21) are located in and serving the community. In addition to the direct coverage received from these stations, they are supported by several other nearby stations. Further to intra-network station and service support, it is a normal operating practice for municipalities and counties to have mutual or automatic aid agreements for fire and emergency services.

Mutual or automatic aid agreements with adjacent municipalities minimize the burden of building additional stations to sustain existing ISO ratings. For example, in the case of John's Creek, they improved their services to an ISO2 rating several years ago by partnering with neighboring fire departments. In addition, if the need arises, these agreements are cooperative between municipalities and/or counties to fill gaps in coverage and services. Cobb County has a long-established record of partnering with Cobb County cities (e.g., Marietta, Smyrna, and Austell) and adjacent municipalities (e.g., Sandy Springs and Roswell). We would expect this same strategy and cooperation to continue with the City of East Cobb and its border services.

If HB-841 passes the legislature and is signed by the Governor, the citizens of the proposed city of East Cobb will vote in the Referendum.  Based on a majority yes vote, the governor will appoint a transition committee to begin planning for the formation of the city. An election will take place for the city council and the elected members will make final decisions on the plan for the city launch. The council then has two years to put the plan in place and launch the city.

How will the new Fire & Emergency Services form? What will change on Day 1?

A likely scenario to play out by a new council will be to follow the examples of the other 14 municipalities that have formed under the current Georgia Statute. East Cobb will benefit from the learnings of what worked well and what did not work well in those cases.

An example of the potential process would be:

  1. Contract with the county to continue service delivery until the City of East Cobb establishes its Fire & Emergency Services Department.
  2. Enter into Mutual or Automatic Aid Agreements with neighboring communities, like Cobb County, Sandy Springs, and Roswell.
  3. Assume responsibility for management and operations of the existing 2 fire stations & equipment located in the city.

The East Cobb Cityhood Committee, including many long-term residents of the affected area, will work hard to assure that we preserve the positive legacy of Fire & Emergency Services to continue to protect our homes and families.


Helpful Links:

HB-841:

https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/60811

Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services:

 

https://www.cobbcounty.org/public-safety/fire

 

Gacities.com: Sample Mutual Aid Agreement

 

https://gacities.com/Resources/Sample-Documents/Ordinances-Agreements/Statewide-Mutual-Aid-Assistance-Agreement.aspx

 

Verisk ISO Mitigation:

https://www.isomitigation.com/ppc/

 



Clearing up misconceptions:

Claim #1 The East Cobb Cityhood Committee has stated that East Cobb will receive better fire service due to cityhood.

FALSE: While we have not represented that a goal of cityhood is to improve fire service, our over-arching goal will be to provide the highest level of public safety and protection possible.  Our earliest goal will be to match the level of service East Cobb has now, but our long-term goal will be to adapt to the cities needs and citizen concerns to always strive to provide the highest possible levels of public safety in every area.


Claim #2 Two fire stations are not enough to cover the area of East Cobb.

MISLEADING: The two fire stations in East Cobb already exist and are delivering fire services to the community today. A City of East Cobb would enter into Mutual or Automatic Aid Agreements with neighboring municipalities and the county to continue to receive extended and overlapping coverage. (As is the practice from most municipalities today.)

If it is true that East Cobb is underserved by only having two fire stations, a city would be able to create a community-focused, long-term plan to improve coverage based on the density and population growth in the area.


Claim #3 ISO fire ratings are used to calculate home insurance. Your home insurance will go up without an ISO1 Rating!

INCONCLUSIVEThe ISO, "Insurance Services Office" evaluates fire departments based on their compliance with standards like those set by the National Fire Protection Association.  The City of East Cobb will work with both organizations and others to benchmark and ensure we are in compliance with all applicable professional performance standards.

The assertion that the ISO rating of your local fire department has the only direct and immediate impact on your home insurance premiums is ambiguous at best. Our research has shown that this is not clear-cut, true, or false. While many insurance companies use ISO ratings in their calculations, some, like State Farm, do not. Many insurance companies base rates and estimates on other factors, like actual causality & loss, and historical data.

Reference:

The Impacts of Changes in the Use of ISO Ratings by Insurance Companies Service North Monterey County

https://nfa.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo39907.pdf

How Do ISO Fire Ratings Impact Homeowners Insurance Rates?

https://www.valuepenguin.com/iso-fire-rating-home-insurance

John's Creek Journey to ISO2

https://www.appenmedia.com/news/new-iso-rating-saves-homeowners-6m-on-fire-insurance/article_758f0320-d4e4-574d-90be-2caeb51cea62.html

 


Claim #4: Funding for fire trucks and equipment are not included in the feasibility study.

FALSE: In Georgia, there is a statute that describes the transfer to fire stations, including equipment, from the county to the new city. That statute provides for the transfer of the fire stations, including equipment like fire trucks (defined as fixtures), to the newly formed city. The committee has consulted with attorneys, legislators and other cities that formed under this statute to confirm and every other proposed city within Cobb county has a feasibility study showing the same analysis.

Reference:

Read the entire statute at this link:

OCGA § 36-31-11.1 - Municipality control over parks and fire stations; obligation of county

https://codes.findlaw.com/ga/title-36-local-government/ga-code-sect-36-31-11-1.html

Key Definitions & Sections of the Statute

The statute's definition of a "Fire Station":

(2) “Fire station” means any property or facility that is located wholly within the territory of a qualified municipality, owned by the county or subject to a lease-purchase or installment sale arrangement by the county, and used by the county as of the date immediately prior to the date the local Act incorporating a qualified municipality became law to provide fire protection services authorized by Article IX, Section II, Paragraph III(a)(1) of the Constitution .  Such term shall include any buildings, fixtures, or other improvements on such property or in such facilities.

The transfer price of the fire station:

(k)(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, if a qualified municipality elects to purchase a fire station that serves only territory wholly within the qualified municipality, the purchase price shall be $5,000.00 for each such fire station.