Amended Tacoma Ordinance Could Have National Impact

TACOMA, Wash. – The city of Tacoma, Wash., has amended its alarm ordinance to mandate charging alarm companies for installing and monitoring alarms in and around the city as well as for every false alarm reported.

Although the ordinance was approved in early December and will not change, the police department and the Washington Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (WBFAA) are currently working together to discuss proposals or recommendations on alternative billing procedures that the city could possibly consider.

“We have a 90-day extension [from the date of approval] on billing processes and we’re making presentations and negotiating on the best way to handle it,” says Howard Richardson, WBFAA president. During this time, the billing procedure guidelines will not change and will not be in effect, Richardson says.

Under the amended ordinance, alarm companies will be charged $40 for a license granting them permission to install and monitor alarms and $60 for every false alarm reported. The requirement applies to both alarm companies that offer monitoring and third-party monitoring companies located out of state but monitor accounts in and around Tacoma.

Richardson says Tacoma has approximately 41 alarm companies and 23,000 alarms known to the police department. “[The ordinance] is going to affect alarm companies big-time because they’ll have to pay the bill before they collect that money from their customers,” he says. Richardson adds:  “This revenue plan is probably slated to go elsewhere, so it is a big issue.”

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