California town to outsource alarm system program

Private company to take over billing, collection of fees

The city of Santa Maria, Calif., is privatizing its alarm system program due to an increase in false alarms that have placed a significant financial strain on the city.

According to published reports, the Santa Maria City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to turn the program over to Texas-based PMAM Corp., which will now be responsible for collecting fees and contacting offenders of the city’s alarm ordinance.

Of the 4,400 alarms city police responded to in 2008, a large majority of them were reportedly false and cost taxpayers an estimated $150,000 in wasted resources.

The city also decided to institute a new fee for false alarms, voting to charge residents and business owners $83.40 for any fourth or subsequent false alarm within a 12-month period.