Selectmen recommend increases in false fire alarm fines
Darien’s Board of Selectmen has voted unanimously to recommend changes to the False Fire Alarm Ordinance.
The recommendation is for the town to implement a graduated fine structure for repeat offenses within one year, as follows:
First false alarm, $100
Second false alarm within a year, $150
Third false alarm within a year, $250
Currently, the fee for a false fire alarm is $100 for each one.
“This is something that the volunteer fire departments were eager for us to take up to help try to reduce the number of false alarms,”said First Selectman Jayme Stevenson at the Aug. 19 Board of Selectmen meeting.
After consulting with town counsel and the fire marshal, Town Administrator Kate Buch said that per state statute, the maximum amount the fine can be is $250.
The fine would be imposed on the first offense. The town would not give a warning.
The town can’t leverage the payment of the fines against other services, according to Buch.
“Per Town Counsel, we can fine violators, but we cannot refuse them other services,” Buch said.
For example, “we can’t deny someone a beach permit if they haven’t paid their false alarm fines,” she added. “We’re just allowed to fine according to the state statutes.”
To collect fines, the fire marshal’s office has been using the Munis billing system for a number of years and it is working fine, according to the Board of Selectmen.
The revised False Fire Alarm Ordinance will now go to the RTM for consideration.