Small N.Y. Town Targets Alarm Scofflaws

NISKAYUNA - Alarm system scofflaws may find an extra line on their tax bills next year.

The town Police Department is owed $8,900 by residents and business owners whose alarms are monitored by police, said Sgt. Dan McManus.

The list of unpaid alarm system fees includes 45 names and reaches back to 1998, McManus said. That is slightly more than 10 percent of all alarms throughout the town that ring the Police Department when tripped.

In return for monitoring alarms, the department charges $80 a year for residential systems, $120 for commercial properties.

But some, apparently, haven't paid.

"Those are the accounts they are looking to attach to tax bills," McManus said.

The issue was raised at this week's Town Board meeting. At the same meeting, the town considered buying new computer software for the police. The cost was $9,800 - which, it was noted, would be almost entirely paid for if the alarm system bills were collected.

To add to the tax bill, the Town Board must change town law and hold a public hearing. The hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 10 at 7:05 p.m.

The town charges residents for false alarms and earlier this year amended the local law so those fees could be added to tax bills.