Jan. 15--New fire and security alarm fees will be considered by the Wilson City Council during its meeting Thursday night.
The council is set to consider the new fees for false alarms in an attempt to reduce police and fire resources. The council previously considered the fees but held off from adopting the ordinance in September in an effort to give public school officials time to fix problems associated with repetitive false alarms. Councilman Logan Liles was also concerned about the financial burden public schools, including Fike, would take on if the fees were enacted without the problems being resolved.
A study last year revealed that 99 percent of 5,371 security alarm calls were false. Also, Fike High School was found with the highest number of more than 100 false alarms in one year. The Wilson Police Department recorded 338 alarm calls during the 2013 calendar year.
If the ordinance is adopted Thursday, all security and fire alarms must be registered with the city at a cost of $15. Permit registrations must be renewed each year at a cost of $5 and failing to register can result in a $100 fine.
Alarms must be properly maintained in a way that will reduce or eliminate false alarms. The ordinance also requires that alarms do not sound continually for more than 15 minutes and three or more false alarms within a 12-month period are considered excessive and, essentially, a public nuisance.
The fees for false alarms must be paid within 30 days or the permit could be revoked. Also, ten or more false alarms in a year could result in a discontinuance of police or fire response. The ordinance also has an appeal process.
There is no fee for two false alarms in a 12-month period. The third, fourth and fifth false security alarm fee is $50, six and seven false calls will result in a $100 fee, eight or more false alarms will cost $250. The third, fourth or fifth false fire alarm will cost $500 and six or more false fire alarms will cost $755 for each incident.
The council will also consider a grant application requested by the Wilson Police Department that proposes an increase of five police officers to its traffic unit.
The 2014 Governor's Highway Safety Program grant will pay 85 percent of the cost during the first three years and the local match is 15 percent. The police department is responsible for all costs after the third year.
The total three-year cost, between the state and city, is more than $2.9 million, with more than $1 million being spent during the first year for personnel and equipment. There are no equipment costs in the second and third years. The city's matching cost each year is $163,151 during the first year, $260,266 during the second year and $453,855 in the third year.
Wilson police are also asking for council support for a second Governor's Highway Safety Program grant that would add three motorcycles to its traffic unit. The grant does not require a city match and the cost for the one-year program is $145,500 for equipment.
In other matters, the council will consider:
--Council appointments to area boards, commissions and committees.
--A bid award for a water line and pump station as part of the city's plan to provide supplemental water to Johnston County. Bid costs will be presented at the meeting.
--Purchasing lights for two new soccer fields planned at the Burt Gillette Athletic Complex. The Wilson Youth Soccer Association has committed to paying $150,000 for the lights. The proposed purchase through Musco Lighting is $157,000.
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