Companies refuse to pay Flint false alarm bills

Mar 4, 2013

Alarm companies in Flint are refusing to pay nearly $134,000 in bills from the city of Flint related to police response to false alarm calls.

David Harris of the Flint Journal reports:

The Burglar and Fire Alarm Association of Michigan is fighting a policy in Flint that bills the alarm company directly as opposed to the customer, said Karen Majeske, the association's board director.

The alarm companies that received bills have refused to pay them, said Majeske, who says the city's approach provides no incentive for the customer who has the alarm to fix the problems causing the false calls.

"The whole reason (for cost recovery) is the need to cut down on police responses," said Majeske. "And the best way is to that is to have penalties in place for the (alarm) user."

Harris reports the city sent about 1,600 invoices from August through December to the alarm companies at a cost of $79 per police run.

Terry Hansen, executive director of Genesee County's Landlords Association, said the bill holder should be responsible for the charge, but they should also get a break.

"I know that it is a problem, but I would think that they would give you a few (free false runs before charging)," he said. "For example if a spider walks across the sensor and sets it off."

Tami Harchick owns Garibella Salon in downtown Flint and says she'd pay the fee to ensure her business was safe.

"I would want the police here," she said. "I'd prefer they check it out rather than assume it was OK."

Flint's state-appointed emergency financial manager Ed Kurtz says those involved are working on a resolution.

- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom