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Councilwoman gets home burglar alarm application

November 23, 2001

Councilwoman gets home burglar alarm application



By DAN KULIN / dank@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown City Councilwoman Penny May Nigh picked up an application for a home burglar alarm permit on Wednesday and said she plans to turn in her paperwork and pay the fee on Friday.

During the council meeting on Tuesday, Nigh said she did not have a city-required permit for her home alarm system. She said she believes the city is wrong to charge a fee for such a permit.

Nigh said Wednesday that she will work to eliminate the fee, but in the meantime she'll get the permit.

"I'm opposed to it, but being a council person I have to obey the law," Nigh said Wednesday.

Nigh said she didn't know about the permit until a neighbor told her about it on Tuesday.

Since at least 1990, city residents have been required to pay $15 annual fees for their home alarm systems. Homeowners older than 65 are exempt from the fee. Businesses are required to pay a $30 annual fee for alarm systems.

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City Police Capt. John Moulton said that according to the City Code there is an additional $20 fee for those who apply for a permit after using their alarm system.

Moulton said in general, alarm companies inform their clients of the city's permit requirement when they install the alarm systems.

Nigh said that sometime in September she had an alarm system installed at her North Mulberry Street home because crime and illegal drug activity have increased in her neighborhood.

She said the alarm company did not say she would need a permit from the city for her alarm.

A council member since the end of May, Nigh campaigned on an anti-crime platform and said fear of rising crime in the city prompted her to run for council.

Mayor William M. Breichner said Tuesday that the alarm fee was established because police were responding to many false alarms.

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