ENNIS – This week, the city of Ennis received notification from the Insurance Service Office (ISO) that the protection class code has been upgraded from Public Protection Class Code (PPC) 3/10 to 2/10.

The PPC is used by most insurance companies for underwriting and calculating insurance costs for residential, commercial and industrial properties.

ISO assigns a rating from one to 10 with one being the highest or best rating based on fire suppression abilities. The change was based on a recent analysis of the structure fire fighting abilities of the city. The upgrade means the city has improved in its ability to provide fire protection and suppression within the city.

Howerton provided a chart to the commissioners showing the percentage of the cities in each of the 10 ratings.

“We are very pleased to be in the top 7 percent of the nation with a two rating. This is very good for the city of Ennis and its citizens,” Howerton said. “This information unfortunately does not get to many insurance carriers and there is not an automatic reduction in your insurance. You need to make sure your insurance company is aware of thus change,” Howerton said.

During the workshop session, Howerton gave an update on mosquito eradication and the West Nile virus during the workshop session.

“There have been no reported cases of the West Nile virus in the Ennis City limits,” Howerton said.

“Presently, we are the only city in Ellis County spraying for mosquitoes,” Howerton said.  

He went on to explain the reason why the city began spraying was a person living within five miles of the city was diagnosed with the West Nile antibodies.

Since the beginning of April, the city has collected mosquito samples from ponds and areas throughout the city.

“We looked at industrial sites where there were tires and other things that would collect water and support mosquito growth,” Howerton said.

“To date, there have been no samples collected that tested positive for the abrovirus,” Howerton said.

The city will continue spraying through the end of September unless test samples start to show the virus or a case is confirmed.

The first of two public hearing was held for public comments for the new fiscal year budget beginning Oct. 1.

The first hearing was the projected budget and the appreciation resources for the revenue to support it.

The new budget proposes a total expenditure of $17,223,723. Operating expenses are the largest group totaling $13,423,388. The outlay for capitol projects is estimated to be $323,352 and bond debt will be $3,476,983.

The water and sewer budget totals $8,568,206. The departments operating expenses are projected to be $6,118,295. The interest and sinking fund is budgeted for $2,218,097.  The interest and sinking amount will be for the payment of bonds and interest coupons maturing within the year.

The second public hearing held was for public comment or input for the fixed tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year.

The city’s total tax rate of $0.695 per $100 of valuation will remain the same as last year. The tax rate will raise less taxes for maintenance and operations than last year’s tax rate. The tax rate will be lowered by 0.18847 and will lower taxes for maintenance and operations on a $100,000 home by approximately $8.26.

A second and final reading of the ordinances of the two budget items will be held at a special called meeting of the commission at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16. The final reading and passage is set for the regular meeting of the commission at 7 p.m. Sept. 16.

The commissioners approved two requests by Brandon Nichols for annexation of his property and a zoning change from transition district to single family dwelling,

The property subject to the two actions is located at 300 Laneview Rd.

Nichols plans on building a single family dwelling on the presently vacant lot.