Calif. city hires firm to collect fees for false alarms
By Louis Casiano Jr.
Source: The Orange County Register
Created: December 2, 2013
PMAM Corp. to take over tracking alarm permits and false alarms for city staffers in Placentia
Nov. 29-- PLACENTIA -- In an effort to keep better track of alarm permits and false alarms at homes and businesses in Placentia, the city has hired a private company to track incidents and pursue payments for violations.
PMAM Corp. will take over tracking alarm permits and false alarms from city staffers.
Because of downsizing of the city's staff, Placentia could not keep up with the billing paperwork for false-alarm fees and the tracking down of anyone failing to pay, said Matt Reynolds, city management analyst. The result was the loss of several thousand dollars a year in badly needed revenue.
"We noticed that the revenue numbers were coming down in that area," Reynolds said. "Without staffing to keep the bills for false alarms and alarm permits current, we're losing some revenue there."
Reynolds said the city averages 1,100 false alarms per year.
"Unfortunately, we've learned over time, the only way we've found to get a resident or a business owner to get their alarms in good working order is to fine them," he said.
City officials hope PMAM can help reduce the number of false alarms so that police can respond to serious calls.
The Police Department had been in charge of the oversight of alarms in the city. Reynolds said the department's sole employee who kept track of permits and collections retired in October, and the position has been phased out because of budgetary issues.
"A lot of our personnel are having to do multiple tasks," Lt. Eric Point said.
A permit is required to install a commercial or residential alarm.
The city will contract with PMAM for at least three years. A fee is assessed after two false alarms; the fees increase with each one thereafter. PMAM will collect 18 percent of every fine, and the rest will go to the city.
"If we don't have it (a strong system in place), then we're not going to get anything," said Reynolds, adding that the new system is expected to be in place by mid-January.
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