PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh City's recent "Alarm Systems" law updates will soon charge Lake City businesses and homeowners for false alarm calls.

The law establishes user standards for burglar and other emergency alarm systems, while holding users accountable and encouraging best practices.

It sets up a permit system, defines the duties of both the alarm user and the alarm company, puts in place an excessive false alarms and/or failure to register fee schedule, as well as an appeal process. 

MISUSE OF TIME

The updates were unanimously OK'd by the City Common Council on Nov. 19 and came after data revealed the city's public safety departments responded to nearly 600 false alarms last year alone. 

Councilor Ira Barbell (D-Ward 1), who introduced the law, said this was not only a misuse of city staff time, but felt those false calls could delay a department's response time to a "real call" for a fire or other emergency.

"I think that it makes tremendous sense," he said of the law changes, noting that it would put the policy in line with those existing nationwide. 

"Cities that have put this in place have seen, in the first year, a 20 percent to 40 percent drop in the number of false alarms that are responded."

PERMITS

Per the law, any person owning or operating an alarm system must apply for a permit with the city's Building Inspector Office within 30 days of installation or, if already installed, within 30 days of the law going into effect. 

That clock would start once the local law was accepted for filing by the New York Department of State. 

City councilors were yet to set a permit fee amount, but, once in place, there was $100 fine for the failure to register. 

FEE SCHEDULE

The law also sets a fee schedule for "excessive" false alarms, which was defined at three or more. 

"The first two visits by the police or fire are free," Barbell explained. "There will be no penalty to the individual."

During those visits, Barbell expected the alarm owner would be informed that future calls could end up costing them substantial money and suggest they engage with the alarm company to review the system and make sure it is functioning properly.

After the second visit, the fee schedule was as follows:

• $50 for the third false alarm. 

• $100 for the fourth false alarm. 

• $200 for the fifth false alarm. 

• $500 for the sixth false alarm and any additional.

The user would have the right to appeal. 

FIND THE LAW

The new law could be found on the city's website at https://cityofplattsburgh.com/events/common-council/public-hearing-local-law-p-5-2020-alarms.

Email McKenzie Delisle: 

mdelisle@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle

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