Last week the Culver Town Council discussed the Miller’s Merry Manor False Alarm billing.
The Culver Fire Department sent out a letter to Millers regarding the number of false alarms and the fee being charged. The total charge is $2,100.
McKenzie Hojara, the current Administrator told the Culver Town Council she started with the company in February and that she was not aware of any false alarms prior to the March 24, 2022 incident this year. She said the first bill they received was dated March 25th and if there had been an ongoing issue, she was not aware of it, and neither was the previous administrator.
Hojara said, based on what she has read in the town’s ordinance, Miller’s Merry Manor in Culver should have received a bill in August of 2021 for $250 for false alarm fire calls on May 13, 2021; July 21, 2021; and August 9, 2021.
There was another call on December 18, 2021 that was charged at $350.
Miller’s had an issue on March 24th of this year and again on March 31st and a final false alarm on April 6th when they discovered a faulty sensor. Once the fire department determined it was an issue with the alarm panel, Harris contacted the company, and they fixed the issue. Each one of the calls was billed at $500.
A council member said questioned the call on March 24th and Hojara explained they were conducting a mandatory test and the maintenance supervisor failed to put the system on test mode. The Culver Fire Department was immediately notified and was not dispatched to Millers for the call.
Council Vice-President Sally Ricciardi questioned the billing and why it took a year to send out the bill.
Fire Chief Terry Wakefield said the Fire Department’s secretary sends the billing to Karen Heim the Culver Clerk-Treasurer and the bill is sent through the town. He said the calls were sporadic and didn’t happen very often and then in the end they had three calls in a short time. He told the secretary to go back and check over the last 12 months and there were 7 calls, so he had her submit billing for the false alarms.
Hojara asked the Culver Town Council to reduce or waive the charges. Specifically, she asked if they could waive the charges prior to February when she took over the position. There would only be three calls.
Culver Town Manager Ginny Monroe suggested waiving the calls prior to Hojara’s taking over and waiving the March 24th call because the fire department did not respond and charge Miller’s Merry Manor $1,000. She also noted that typically once a letter is received the issues typically stop.
The Culver Town Council did unanimously agree to reduce the billing to $1,000.
The letter from the Town of Culver did state, “The intent is not to make this a hardship, but there is wear and tear on not only the fire department’s equipment but also the volunteers when called out unnecessarily.”