False fire alarm fees angers fire chief's widow
The village charges as much as $7,676 for every false fire alarm; the first one is free
By Bob Dohr
Lake County Now
PEWAUKEE, Wis. — If you're responsible for calling in a false fire alarm here, the first one won't cost you a thing. But then the cost goes up. Way up ... as in $7,676 up.
That's the village fee for a false fire alarm. The first such alarm in a calendar year for an individual or business is free, then the village charges $7,676 for each one after that, according to village ordinance. It's an ordinance that hasn't escaped the attention of Carole Stamm, a resident of Pewaukee Shores Condominiums, 130 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Her condo was billed $19,956 for three false fire alarms in 2014, when the fee level stood at $6,652. That works out to about $800 per resident. Stamm, whose late husband, William Stamm, was Milwaukee's fire chief for more than 15 years, said the reason for the false alarms was that a problem with the alarm system took a while to diagnose.