DULUTH -- False alarms are never ideal, especially when there's other issues a police department can deal with.
During a special called meeting of the Duluth City Council on Monday it was brought up that Duluth High School has been fined $1,600 for 13 false alarms between January and March.
Since then, 16 more false alarms have gone off prompting Principal Jason Lane to ask the council to waive the fines until they can get the technical issues worked out with their new alarm system they are continually trying to correct.
As the city ordinance stands right now, any false alarm is assessed a fine. For the seventh and subsequent false alarms, a $1,000 fine is assessed.
However, as brought up by councilman Billy Jones, by waiving the fee permanently, he felt that the police department wouldn't respond to the scene as quick, thinking it might just be another false alarm, and that there would be no incentive for the school to get the problems fixed.
"What incentive is there if we waive it completely," he said. "My concern is that they'll never fix the problem and continue to let it happen."
As a solution, the council voted to waive the fees until the first day of school (Aug. 8) to get the kinks worked out with the new alarm system. The council also decided to re-visit the issue around that time as well to see if the date needs to be pushed back a few weeks to allow for the normal kinks of the first few weeks of school to be worked out, i.e., increase in school activities at all hours, who's locking up the building, etc.
In other business, the city council approved the bid of Alan Densmore Inc. for phase one, which is demolition and asbestos removal of three buildings of the Old City Hall block in an amount not to exceed $90,000. Although the bid was the second lowest received, the Planning Department recommended Alan Densmore Inc. to receive the bid because the lowest bidder provided two references that had never heard of the company or its owner.
Although not part of the vote, Jones brought up the estimate from the company for the total project, which was close to $200,000.
"When we approved this three months ago, the estimate was less than $100,000," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I think this needs to get done, but we can't keep doing projects that are 50 or 100 percent over our estimate."
The Planning Department did reassure Jones and the rest of the council that there were many lines in the estimate that wouldn't need to get done, and the city would save money on that, but they would also keep the mayor and council informed.