Recently there has been much discussion regarding Star Valley residents either forming their own town of Diamondstar, annexing with Payson, or doing nothing. Water has been the primary issue discussed. Another issue to consider is fire department costs.
The cost of fire protection for residents of Star Valley is determined by two factors. The first is the respective tax rates for fire services paid by Payson vs. Star Valley residents. The second is the cost of fire insurance policies.
First, I am told the tax rate for the Diamond Star fire district is higher than the portion of taxes for fire protection paid by Payson residents. his impacts all property owners in Star Valley.
Second, the fire insurance premiums paid by all of us in Star Valley are partially set by the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) ratings. The scale ranges from one (best) to 10 (worst). Diamond Star currently has a rating of eight (very poor) while Payson has a rating of five (average).
I do not believe the Diamond Star Fire Department (DSFD) deserves this very poor rating of eight. The equipment, training, staffing and professionalism of the DSFD team is equal to that of Payson. The DSFD and Payson FD have a very good working relationship. They operate in each other's territory because the two departments have a type of automatic mutual aid response. I believe the service provided by DSFD is equal to the service provided by Payson FD. But the Diamond Star FD rating is still eight.
Every insurance company calculates rates differently. In general though, they consider the type of property, construction materials, sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, and fire department capability as measured by the ISO rating.
In my particular case, my premiums increased by $260 per year when my insurance company discovered that I was served by Diamond Star and not Payson Fire Department.
DSFD is currently attempting to upgrade its ISO rating from eight to seven. However, they have no estimate when (or if ever) they may be able to upgrade to a rating of five. Part of the problem in getting upgraded is simply the smaller size of DSFD.
Star Valley residents should consider how to lower the total cost for fire protection they are paying. If an annexation by Payson or Star Valley occurred, then an eventual merger of the DSFD and Payson FD is likely. This would substantially lower costs to all Star Valley residents.
This is something for all Star Valley residents to consider.
Art Rogers, Star Valley