Excessive Fire Alarm Fees
In 2021, Taylor Police and Fire had to respond to more than 2,000 false alarms in the community. The City of Taylor would like to remind anyone with an alarm system that a new service fee schedule has been enacted to deal with excessive false alarms.
There is no charge for the first two false alarms during any calendar year. However, from that point in time, fees are assessed to the owner or lessee of the systems in the following manner:
- Third call: $100
- Fourth call: $200
- Fifth call: $300
- Sixth and seventh calls: $400
- Eighth and ninth calls: $500
- 10th call: $600
- All additional calls in the same calendar year: $700
According to the ordinance, a "false alarm" means the activation of an alarm system through mechanical or electronic failure, malfunction, improper installation, or as result of the negligence, misuse or misconduct of an alarm user or its employees, agents or persons under its control.
It does not include alarms caused by severe weather, natural or man made disaster, power or telephone service outages, alarm testing for which prior notification of the police and fire departments had been made, the malicious acts of a person or persons not the employee or agent or under the control of the alarm user, or alarms for which the police and/or fire departments have not initiated any response.
Ordinance Number 2015-491
The actual language of the entire revised ordinance is as follows:
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COUNTY OF WAYNE
CITY OF TAYLOR
ORDINANCE NO. 2015- 491
AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CODE OF ORDINANCES, CITY OF TAYLOR, MICHIGAN, BY REPLACING ARTICLE III – ALARM SYSTEMS OF CHAPTER 18 OF SAID CODE AND TO REPEAL SECTION 114.2 OF THE INTERNATIONAL FIRE FROM SECTION 22.19 OF CHAPTER 2, ARTICLE II OF SAID CODE
THE CITY OF TAYLOR ORDAINS:
SECTION 1. Article III – Alarm Systems, of Chapter 18 - Emergencies, of the Code of Ordinances (Sections 18-40 thru 18-61)shall be deleted as currently set forth in the Code and replaced with the following:
Sec. 18-40 Alarm Systems &False alarms.
(a) Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this Article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this Section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Alarm system(s) shall mean and include the following:
(1) The term "alarm system" means an assembly of equipment and devices arranged to signal the presence of a hazard requiring urgent attention and to which police and/or fire department personnel are expected to respond.
(2) The term "alarm systems" includes those through which police department personnel or fire department personnel are notified directly of such signals through automated recording devices or are notified indirectly by way of third persons who monitor the alarm system and who report its signals to the police department and/or fire department.
(3) The term "alarm systems" includes alarms designated to register a signal which is so audible, visible or in other ways perceptible outside a protected premises so as to notify persons in the area or neighborhood beyond the premises where the alarm system is located, who in turn may notify, either directly or indirectly, the police or fire department of the alarm.
(4) The term "alarm systems" also includes automatic or manual hold-up alarm systems, burglar alarm systems, security alarm systems, intrusion alarms, robbery alarms, medical emergency alarms, automatic or manual fire alarm systems and any other alarm which requires emergency response by police department or fire department personnel.
(5) Fire alarm systems, as used in this definition, include alarms received from smoke detectors, automatic extinguishing systems, manual pull stations and related supervisory systems.
(6) Alarm systems which monitor temperature or humidity and do not require any response by police department or fire department personnel and alarm systems installed by telephone companies to protect telephone equipment are excluded from this definition.
Alarm user means any person who owns, possesses, controls or otherwise exercises dominion over a premises or property which has an alarm system, or who regularly supervises the operation of any business on a premises or property which has an alarm system or on whose behalf the alarm system is maintained. Owners or users of alarm systems within or on vehicles shall not be included; provided, however, when an alarm system in or on a vehicle is connected, either by wire, signal, or other means with an alarm system in or on a premises or property, the person owning or using such vehicle alarm system is an alarm user. A person owns, possesses or controls a premises or property if he is the grantee under a deed, the purchaser under a land contract or a tenant of the property.
False alarm means the activation of an alarm system through mechanical or electronic failure, malfunction, improper installation, or as result of the negligence, misuse or misconduct of an alarm user or its employees, agents or persons under its control. The term "false alarm" shall not include alarms caused by severe weather, natural or man made disaster, power or telephone service outages, alarm testing for which prior notification of the police and fire departments had been made, the malicious acts of a person or persons not the employee or agent or under the control of the alarm user, or alarms for which the police and/or fire departments have not initiated any response.
Person means any natural person or a business, organization, firm, association, club, society, organization, partnership or corporation.
Premises means any private or public residential, commercial or industrial land and/or buildings located within the City of Taylor.
(b) All alarm systems which emit a signal audible beyond the boundaries of the property protected must have an automatic shutoff feature which silences the audible portion of the alarm not more than ten (10) minutes after being tripped. All alarm users shall terminate the use of existing alarm systems that lack this automatic shutoff feature.
(c) No person shall install, use, or operate an alarm system that will, upon activation, initiate the automatic calling, dialing or connection of a recorded message to any telephone number assigned to the City’s police department, fire department or the 911 emergency number which connects or assigns the call to these departments or their dispatchers.
(d) The alarm user shall be responsible under subsection (e) of this Section for all false alarms sent due to the activation of an alarm system in, on, or in regard to its premises or property, or because of the actions or statements of any of its agents, employees or persons under its control and/or on its behalf if such action or statement was likely to result in the sending of an alarm. The determination as to whether an alarm is a false alarm, as defined in this Section, will be made following an investigation by the City’s police chief or fire chief and/or his/her designee.
(e) For the third false alarm and for each subsequent false alarm occurring within a single calendar year with regard to the same premises or property, the alarm user shall be assessed a service fee. The service fee shall be in such amount as shall be from time to time established by resolution of the City Council.
(f) No action or proceeding taken by the City pursuant to this Section shall waive, preclude or be a precondition to the City exercising, enforcing or invoking any other right or action which it might otherwise be permitted to take by law, including, but not limited to, pursuing misdemeanor criminal charges pursuant to Section 32-34 of this Code.
(g) The alarm user shall be solely responsible for the installation, maintenance and/or functioning of its alarm system and the City, its police department, fire department or any of its agents shall not be responsible for the installation, maintenance or functioning of any alarm system.
(h) If any service fee due to the City pursuant to subsection (e) of this Section shall remain unpaid for a period of thirty (30) days after the date of the invoice for said service fee, it shall thereafter accrue interest at the rate of six (6%) percent per year from the date of the false alarm to which the invoice applies. The City may seek to collect said service fee by a suit at law or may assess the same against the premises or property. Such assessment shall constitute a lien upon the premises or property and may be billed and collected as part of the real property tax applicable to the premises or property.
(i) Any alarm user against whom a service fee has been assessed, as provided for in subsection (e) of this Section, who believes that said service fee has been improperly assessed, may appeal the assessment to an appeals board made up of three (3) members consisting of the fire chief and the police chief, or their designee, and a representative selected by the Mayor. Any such appeal shall be in writing and shall be filed with the City Clerk within thirty (30) days of the date of the invoice for said service fee. If the appeal board determines that that the alarm was erroneously determined to be a false alarm, as that term is defined in this Section, then the service fee shall be waived. If the appeal board determines that alarm was a false alarm, then the service fee shall not be waived. The findings and the decision of the appeal board shall be in writing and filed with the office of the chief of police. The alarm user shall be provided with a copy of the decision by the appeal board. The appeal board’s decision is subject to review in the local District Court upon the filing of a proceeding in that Court within thirty (30) days of the decision of the appeal board.
(j) A violation of any provision of this Article shall constitute a municipal civil infraction unless otherwise provided herein.