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False Alarms Will Ring Up Higher Fines From City

July 09, 1998|LESLEY WRIGHT

Residents and businesses will pay more for multiple false burglar alarms that distract police from other calls under a fee program adopted this week by the City Council.

Everyone still gets two free false alarms a year. But the third strike will mean a fine of $100, an increase of $50 from current fees.

Each additional false call in the same year will result in graduated fee increases of $50. The fee for the eighth false alarm, for example, will be $500.

City Council members unanimously approved the new fees, which became effective immediately. Police Chief Ronald E. Lowenberg said the city was losing close to $1 million a year in unnecessary police calls. Police respond to about 35 to 40 false alarms each day, he said.

The new fees should recover all of that money from the individuals responsible for the calls.

Councilman Peter M. Green said the new fees are only fair.

"The fee should be charged to the individual rather than the entire community," he said. "If there are 40 false alarms in a 24-hour period, then those of us who don't have alarms will have to wait longer if we have an emergency."

The city also raised fees for bounced checks, from $15 to $25 for a first offense, and $35 for each subsequent offense.

Businesses changing addresses will pay $10 instead of $3.75, and duplicate business licenses will cost $5 instead of $1.50.

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