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Wilson improves insurance rating for building inspections

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The Wilson City Council took time Thursday to honor various staff, including the inspections department that recently secured an improved insurance rating.

“I think when Kevin O’Brien started with the city, we were a 7 or a 6, but every five years or so when we get evaluated, that ranking gets better,” said Rodger Lentz, chief planning and development officer. “Kevin’s goal is to be even better and we do our best to have the team that can achieve that, so I commend everyone for their hard work and dedication.”

The Insurance Services Office evaluated the city’s building codes as well as the staff earlier this year and moved Wilson’s rating from a 4 in residential, commercial and industrial construction inspections to a 3.

“That ranking puts Wilson among the top 15% of North Carolina communities for residential inspections and in the top 10% for commercial work,” Lentz told the council. “Statewide, the average rating is 5 for both commercial and residential.”

Insurance companies use the ratings to evaluate the risk to insure properties and the lower the rating, the easier it is to obtain insurance. The lower rating also can result in lower rates for property owners.

In addition to celebrating National Community Planning Month and Fire Prevention Month, the council designated Oct. 6-12 as Public Power and Public Natural Gas Week.

“We have the fourth-largest municipal electric distribution system in North Carolina and we supply power to 100,000 people in 34,000 households, businesses and industries. We are the third-largest municipal gas distribution system in North Carolina, supplying natural gas service to over 13,000 customers,” said Wilson Energy Director Rich Worsinger. “Both are nationally and regionally recognized for excellence, and that is due to our employees. We have caring and dedicated professionals that ensure safe and reliable energy for our customers.”

Also during the 7 p.m. meeting, the city accepted a $5,000 grant for Sgt. Benny Boykin as the eastern region coordinator of the BikeSafe program to promote motorcycle safety. Officials also approved an agreement with Robert Stafford and Bankston Lewis for the development of 124 Goldsboro St. S. The city plans to sell the boarded-up storefront for $10,000 in order for the developers to renovate it.

“We estimate the renovation cost to restore it back to a functional two-story building to be $170,000,” according to a letter from Stafford. “The intended use once renovated would be for retail/commercial with the upstairs being the same or possibly residential.”