LA MARQUE — In an effort to keep insurance rates for residents from going up, La Marque’s city council approved allocating money to hire a fire marshal.

In a unanimous vote Monday, the council approved allocating nearly $85,000 to the Fire Department to spend on hiring a fire marshal, along with other training and equipment costs.

The city’s Public Protection Classification rating is set to rise two points from a 3 to a 5, in a 10-point scale, after an inspection by the Insurance Services Office, a New York-based organization that serves the insurance industry. That would mean a possible 6 percent to 7 percent increase in insurance premiums for residents.

La Marque Fire Chief Gerald Grimm told council last week that by taking certain steps, such as hiring a fire marshal, the city would likely only drop to a 4 rating. That would likely mean an increase of only 1.7 percent to 2 percent to local insurance premiums, according to the Texas Department of Insurance website.

“There are several steps that we are going to have to take to (achieve a rating of 4) but the largest, and, of course, the one that needs to be budgeted, would be the fire marshal position,” said La Marque Mayor Bobby Hocking.

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.

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