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It's all about money, actually

While I'm sure that the department members are on the ball, most of the lower rating comes from water supply availability, not from the department doing a better job. Fire hydrants go a long way towards improving water supply, but it costs a lot to install and maintain a water system. That's why the northern district has a split rating. The lower the number, the better the rating. The '4' is for the area that has adequate water supply, while the 9E is for the rural areas that don't.

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