Tuesday, December 21, 2010

City looks to raise false alarm fee

Fire officials want to burn property owners when Toronto Fire responds to false alarms.
A budget briefing note posted on the city’s website Monday proposes raising the rate for false alarms, vehicle incidents and non-emergency elevator responses from $350 to $410 per hour.
The $60 increase is based on the recommended provincial fee of $410 per hour per vehicle dispatched.
The move is estimated to raise an extra $1.9 million for the city.
Fire alarms have been a hot topic at city council.
Councillors Gloria Lindsay Luby and John Parker had been trying to get the city to waive the fee for the first false fire alarm at a single-family home within a 12-month period.
Back in the spring, council changed the city’s false fire alarm policy so residents would no longer be eligible for exemptions. Before that, alarmed buildings got one exemption a year.
“Removing the exemption has caused considerable harm to residents, especially to single-family homes where a false fire alarm will cost them over $1,000,” Lindsay Luby wrote in her motion. “As a result, homeowners are deactivating their alarms. This action could put their property and the properties of the entire neighbourhood at risk.”
The Etobicoke councillor could not be reached for the comment Monday about the fee hike.
Council voted last week to send Lindsay Luby’s motion to the licensing and standards committee in January.

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