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Wichita enacts steeper fees for false security and fire alarms

False alarms on home and business security systems will cost users more money starting Aug. 1.

And that’s expected to help recover some of the costs the city incurs responding to about 25,000 alarms a year — 98 percent of which are false calls.

Wichita City Council members voted 4-3 to approve the new rules. Council members Sue Schlapp, Jim Skelton and Paul Gray opposed it.

Users would still get one false alarm at no charge, but for security calls, the second would cost $40 and the fee would reach $350 on the 10th call.

For false fire alarms, which cost about 10 times more to respond to than security alarms, the fee would be $100 on the second and $750 on the 10th.

The ordinance would also replace the one-time $10 registration fee with an annual $25 fee.

The city had proposed higher fees. But alarm companies pushed back hard and talked the city into reduced fees. Council members Gray and Skelton said they still couldn’t support the $25 fee. (more…)

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