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False Fire Alarm Ordinance Approved By Alexander Commissioners

At their meeting Monday (May 1), the Alexander County Board of Commissioners approved a false fire alarm ordinance that allows fines to be charged for repeat offenders. The goal of the ordinance is to reduce the number of false alarms. The board also approved an update to the fire prevention and protection ordinance.

Fire Marshal Mark Earle presented both ordinances to the board. He said the fire prevention ordinance is mostly the same, with some minor wording changes to be more in line with the North Carolina Fire Prevention code. There are no fee increases for fire inspections or violations in the updated ordinance. Earle said the false fire alarm ordinance has been needed for some time, as the number of false alarms continues to rise. He said that fire departments are required to respond to every fire alarm.

According to the ordinance, false alarms are based on a 12-month tracking schedule. There is no charge for the first two false alarms, but the third and fourth alarms will each have a $50 fee, the fifth and sixth alarms will cost $100 each, and seven or more alarms will cost $250 each. The ordinance becomes effective June 1.

Also during Monday’s meeting, Commissioners approved five budget amendments. One amendment adjusted the multi-year grant project budget for the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) water line extension project in the amount of $92,585 to pay the financial match to Yadtel/Zirrus for the GREAT (Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology) grant broadband project. Another amendment totaled $175,000 to budget for the 2022-2023 estimated expenses for the Bethlehem and Sugar Loaf school projects.

[Story courtesy of Rick Gilbert, WACB]