LOWELL, Mass. — In a 5-4 vote, the city council here decided that residential property owners that were forced by the city to purchase fire alarm boxes from one company will not have to pay to have the boxes monitored by the city.
Owners of residential buildings with 13 units or more were required to purchase wireless fire alarm boxes from East Coast Security of Salem, N.H., reports The Lowell Sun. Currently, the boxes transmit both fire and non-fire signals to the city’s dispatch center.
The city council’s decision thwarted a motion filed by Mayor Patrick Murphy, which sought to compel residential buildings owners with 13 or more units to pay an annual $275 monitoring fee for the boxes. Murphy’s proposal was in response to a Councilor Rodney Elliot’s unanimously approved motion that called on the city administration to report on how businesses and property owner required to buy fire alarm boxes from East Coast Security could recover their costs.
Elliot’s motion came after the Inspector General’s Office issued a letter stating that purchasing fire alarm boxes from East Coast Security did not benefit local citizens and businesses. As it stands, East Coast charged $2,475 per box when it only cost $1,100 to obtain them.
The city has now issued a request for proposal (RFP) to find a company that will change the alarm system to send non-fire signals transmitted by the fire alarm boxes to a privately operated monitoring company.