Board of Selectmen approve new alarm fees

The public hearing Tuesday, Jan. 22, on the proposed revisions to the town’s alarm ordinance drew only the sounds of silence. No residents attended the hearing, which took place before the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting.

During the meeting, the selectmen unanimously passed the revised alarm ordinance, which raises fees for repeat violators with false alarms, and imposes stiffer penalties for homeowners who fail to register their alarms with the town.

“This is very consistent with our neighboring towns,” said First Selectman Bill Brennan.

“It simplifies the process,” said Selectman Dick Dubow.

Sandy Dennies, the town’s chief financial officer, has said the town is using a new system, which required “altering our billing methodology.”

This resulted in the proposal, which calls for allowing two free false alarms, followed by a $100 fine for the third per year.

Currently the fee for a third and fourth false alarm is $50, with a $100 fee attached to any false alarms beyond that.

Also, the new plan includes an increase in the penalty for failing to register an alarm to $50, up from the current fee of $25. However, residents would be granted 45 days to register their alarms, instead of the current time frame of 30 days.

There is no fee to register within the allotted time, and First Selectman Bill Brennan said it is necessary to register only once.

Phil Damato, the town’s tax collector, has said the town receives approximately $18,000 to $20,000 a year in alarm-related fees.

Ms. Dennies said the fees have not been raised in 12 years and the new penalties would align with those of neighboring towns.