If no false alarms, city may waive annual fee

Wichita residents or businesses who go a year without a false alarm on their security system could save $25 annually.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider a change that would waive the $25 annual registration renewal fee for security alarms.

The change would take effect after Sept. 1, 2011.

In June, the council approved the $25 annual fee, although some council members opposed it.

City staff is recommending the change as a way to "shift the administrative cost of implementing the false alarm ordinance to only alarm owners that generate costly false alarms," according to a city document.

The waiver would apply to a renewal where the owner doesn't have a false alarm in the previous year, said police Capt. Joe Dessenberger. The annual period is based on the original registration date.

The city will send a letter to a resident or business if the fee is being waived, Dessenberger said.

If a resident or business doesn't cancel a false alarm in time, police have to send a unit to check it out. Each year, the city responds to almost 25,000 false alarms.

"These responses create a financial burden for the City, and also divert public safety resources from actual emergencies," the city document says.

To cut the number of false alarms and the resulting costs, the city has required alarm businesses to be licensed, mandated that alarms be registered and set a fee schedule for false alarms.