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False home, business security alarms in PTC are about to get expensive

In a bid to free up police resources currently tied up in responding to false burglar alarms, the Peachtree City Council is being asked to adopt an ordinance that would establish fines for more than two false alarms a year for a given location.

The ordinance could potentially free up an additional 600 to 900 hours of available manpower if the city were to realize a reduction of false alarm calls between 40 and 60 percent, according to the memo to council from Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark.

The ordinance calls for a $50 fine for the third, fourth and fifth false alarms, escalating to $100 for the sixth and seventh, $250 for the eighth and ninth, and $500 for any false alarms beyond that amount.

An alarm system owner can also be held accountable for not registering his or her system, with a fine of $100.

The ordinance would allow for the alarm system’s owner to complete an online alarm user awareness class in lieu of a fine for no more than once each year.

The ordinance would require all alarm system owners to register with the city by Oct. 1, though the city would charge no fee. It also requires certain system maintenance and use standards.

In other business, council is expected to consider spending an additional $98,209 to expand the landscaping and mowing of various areas throughout the city for the rest of the year.

The funds would come from the city’s cash reserves, and would go to the existing contract the city has with TruGreen.

The figure includes just over $7,000 to mow the city’s four fire stations. Currently, firefighters have been handling that in-house, officials have said previously.

The biggest cost among the proposed landscaping enhancements is $35,000 for “subdivision enhancements” along with $16,189 for additional servicing of subdivision landscaped areas.

City staff is recommending that the $11,471 cost for cart path trimming be eliminated with the city handling the matter in-house by restructuring personnel to improve efficiency.



Mike King's picture

$7000.00 to mow the four fire stations, and to think it was Don Quixote who had a hand in firing the 23 maintenance workers.

I simply can not see a Fire Chief worth his salt making such a request. BTW, what subdivisions are slated to be enhanced, Dover Square? Next it'll be the mayor's house and so on.

I suppose it is asking a lot for maybe 80 people on the fire staff to mow around four fire stations between all those terrible fires we have?

They aren't trained to cut off gas and electricity, and now they can't mow!
Stop chasing every fender bender and mow a little.

Where does this stuff come from in hard times? The firemen or the administration or Chief?

How will the subdivisions that will get enhancements be decided? This was to have been taken away and given back to the subdivisions to manage. Why the change?

It is time that the PD starting charging for false alarms and maybe the FD will follow suit given the cost and the manhours involved in sending the PD/FD to a useless call. Not to mention having less units available to respond to a real emergency.
Roundabout, do you cut the grass or do maintenance work at your place of employment? Why should the firefighters be responsible for cutting grass? They are paid to do their job, public SAFETY, not public WORKS; i.e., grass cutting. The PD and FD do a great job serving the citizens of this city. Chasing fender benders? I thought that was reserved for television advertising lawyers. The FD responds when they are called out. I hope you never need the PD or FD but they will respond to your call with professionalism and respect. Why dont you go down to the fire station and ask the firefighters in person the very question you posted here?

I'm on my way to Libya right now to ask Kadhafi to leave and go to Paris. I'm sure I will be safe even though he is not one of my "public servants!"

That fellow in Wisconsin may not be wrong, after all!

and seem to be so public spirited--why don't you run over there and do a little mowing and edging and maybe put in a flower bed or two?

Sure would like to know why you are so down on the police and fire departments. And, when you were gainfully employed and had a lull did you run out and clean out the gutters, mow the yard, clean the commodes? Didn't think so----the police and firemen are doing what they signed up to do and what they are paid to do. Just think, maybe if you had a fire your house would be burned to the ground while they put away the mower and hedge clippers before going on your call. Too bad about your house but the fire station would look great.

Yes, as a matter of fact once when a union struck where I worked, I actually did such work as you mentioned above! (I wasn't a member).
I was "signed up" to do what was necessary!
Jobs were considered a privilege to have then, especially ones paid by taxes.

G35 Dude's picture

As I stated above I believe that most PTC firefighters are volunteers Swami. They risk their health and well being to work the fires for nothing and you want them to mow grass too?

thanks for the memo to council. This is so long overdue.

Now, what is this in the packet about "After the first year additional staffing may be necessary or we may need to explore the possibility of outsourcing in order to continue the program"?

Didn't I just read that this could free up to 900 manhours?

Mike King's picture

...Skip is in the business of empire building, the more staff he has, the more he can justify his paycheck. What good they do has no bearing on his logic.

I am fascinated by the detailed regulation concerning false alarms to the police!
I don't know if this problem comes from alarm companies or from individuals calling the police. However, the system of progressive fines and their number is indeed comical!

First thing, I would have thought that such a conservative, no regulatory enclave such as PTC would not want more detailed regulations, but I guess that I am wrong.

Then, can we get into the fines: Two false calls are fine (records are kept by name, I suppose--not number.) Then the third, fourth, and fifth fines are a tidy sum, but the sixth false alarm prompts a larger fine all the way up to the ninth false alarm which costs more. From there on until infinity the fines are $500, I think it was.

At some point a bank loan will be necessary to pay the fines. I assume the city would co-sign the loans.

If everyone in the household can be held responsible for the fines they could amount up to a budget saver.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse, I understand, but could we have a printed card to go by and keep records as to where we stand and how many false calls we have to date?

Is it possible that when a cop is on a false call that he can't be bothered by a bank robbery in his area? Then I can understand the saved hours the chief speaks about, if so.

I will admit that this system of punishment is more humane than what happens in China under such circumstances. On the first call knots are beaten into their heads with a stick. On the second call they get six months on an island. After the third call they are never heard from again!

Russia used to use a Gulag for such indiscretions and the Turks have jails for one to rot in.

In New York, they don't bother to answer number one for hours.

I'm tired of the shabby look since we let the 23 workers go. About time they started shaping things back up.

The false alarm charges, well, that's way overdue.

If we add $100k to the landscaping budget how much will we still be saving in comparison to having our own landscaping department?

Is about 60-70 thousand dollars a year due to benefits and pensions. I suppose it is hired done for about 24,000 each. They get no benefits much.

Fayette county cuts their own grass on saturdays. Yes the Fire fighters cut their own stations where they work. So PTC can get off the couch and away from the TV for a little while and cut theirs therefore saving tax payers money.

G35 Dude's picture

Unless something changed in the last couple of years, most PTC firefighters are volunteers Normal. Are you suggesting that we ask them to do yard work for the privilege of giving us their time and effort for no pay?

Mike King's picture

Ok, you've got a point. Let's only have the salaried guys do the grass cutting. Start with the chief and rotate. It'll do some of them (especially the one in charge) some good to get off their duffs and out of the SUVs.

G35 Dude's picture

I have no problem with that!! LOL

Mike King's picture

I'll not hold my breath until the Fire Chief gets his fat ass behind a lawnmower. Although, if he had one ounce of leadership, he be the first guy to cut the grass.

It really wouldn't be that unreasonable of a request to have them just cut the grass. Except for the one on Crabapple they all have fairly small grass area. I would suggest having the firefighters just cut the grass and have Trugreen do the rest at a reduced frequency. But then again, why the firefighters, and not the policemen, or the rec. department people. Why weren't the firehouses negotiated into the original deal with trugreen like other city properties?

If Fayette county volunteers and paid staff can cut on saturday so can PTC. They dont think they are above grass cutting do they.

G35 Dude's picture

Fayette Co firefighters are paid. So I consider it a little more reasonable to ask them to cut grass when not busy. As for wanting more free service from the PTC guys, I assume you'll be there to give up your time to help?

from someone's front yard in PTC. He has a list of the top 10 false alarm residences and has been knocking on doors to find out why. Only one spoke, Diane Case. Hey Diane, blame it on the dog and the kids? Could you and your old man maybe accept responsiblity when you grow up and act like adults?

I guess murder and gangs in the ATL are not a priority today for the tv stations. Or maybe they just want a reason to come here and see what all the good fuss is about...low crime, beautiful green spaces and golf carts. Must be so refreshing for them, coming from the usual settings they have to report from. Enjoy and plan to stay.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

He's just phoning it in - saves him a trip to the studio. A non-story from his own backyard. He's the one who Steve Brown had on a short leash.

Live free or die!

Mike Pulaska?

I know Doug Evans does, didn't know about this one.


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