GUELPH – County revenue from OPP false alarm fees is expected to surpass $100,000 for 2022, according to a January report to the county’s Police Services Board (PSB).
Though the number of false alarms has remained relatively steady — increasing by 11 per cent from 272 billed for in 2021 to 302 last year — revenue collected could increase by 474%.
Last February a new bylaw approved by Wellington County council and endorsed by the PSB increased the charge for at-fault false alarms to $385 per call.
Previously, fees worked on a graduated scale: $50 for the first, $100 for the second and a $100 increase for every alarm thereafter.
The decision was made to recoup the cost of police responding to false alarms and update what then PSB chair David Anderson called an “antiquated” billing system.
Until last year, the false alarm policy hadn’t been updated since its inception in 2002.
County policy states most at-fault false alarms are caused by faulty equipment or human error, but false alarm fees can be appealed if alarm holders are able to prove their system was malfunctioning, or that “significant corrective action” was taken to repair or replace a faulty system.
As of Jan. 11, $15,800 has been collected by the county from a total of $18,850 (84%) billed to customers for false alarms in 2021.
A total of $78,360 has been collected as of Jan. 11 from a total of $108,190 billed (72%) for in 2022. There was an average of 25 false alarms each month last year.
Money collected goes toward the county’s policing budget, and unpaid fees are added to tax bills.