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City Looks At Code Update

In an attempt to lower the city’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating, the Ste.  Genevieve Board of Aldermen will be updating city ordinances to match newer International Building Code (IBC) and National Electric Code (NEC) standards.

Community Development Administrator David Bova summarized some of the changes for the aldermen during a work session following last Thursday’s regular meeting.

Bova said the city was in danger of being downgraded from ISO-5 all the way to an ISO-9 because the city codes were about to become 10 years old.

“Our suggestion is to come up to 2018 codes,” Bova said.

That is, to go from the ICC 2012 codes to the ICC 2018 codes. Each year the ICC puts out a mammoth booklet of updated codes. Meanwhile, the city would move from the 2011 NEC codebook to the 2020 codes. He city adopted the ICC 2012 codes in 2014.

Ste. Genevieve’s ISO rating was downgraded from an ISO-4 to an ISO-5 in 2012, when the fire department had to retire an aging ladder truck. It went back to ISO-4 in March 2020, after the city bought a new$727,000 Rosenbauer Command Truck late in 2019.

Bova and Gene Kertz, city building inspector, have worked on proposed new ordinances to match the newer ICC and NEC codes.

Bova went over a handful of changes that will be included. In the NEC, IBC and International Property Maintenance (IPMC) code, including items dealing with recepticles, interrupter protection, sprinklers, storm shelters, key boxes, smoke alarms and more.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Susie Johnson expressed concern about the financial impact the changes might have on some residents.

“A few things that we’ve discussed tonight are clearly going to have a financial impact on people who have occupancy inspections,” she said. “How are you all prepared to explain why these changes are needed and sort of help kind of justify that extra expense? And is there any kind of prior to the inspection, making sure people are aware of these changes, so they’re not caught off guard during an inspection?”

Bova said something could be posted on Facebook to let people know. The city has been getting the word out, he said.

They also discussed ordinances for “tiny houses,” dwellings of 300-500 square feet.

It was agreed that Bova will bring back recommended updates to the ordinances at a future meeting, to be voted on by the board.