CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nitro business owners may be expected to pay fines for false fire alarms that require the fire department to respond.
At a meeting Tuesday night, City Councilman John Montgomery said false alarms at businesses have been increasing lately. An ordinance he proposed would require new businesses to register their alarm system when applying for a business license. It also would impose a fine for more than two false alarms in a year.
"They have got to take care of their alarm systems," Montgomery said.
Councilman-at-large Craig Matthews said passing the ordinance could hurt public safety.
"When you're starting to fine people for their fire alarm system, you worry that most businesses will start shutting them off."
He said two false alarms does not give business owners ample time to correct problems with their systems. He was also concerned that business owners might be penalized if someone else pulled the alarm as a prank.
The proposal was sent back to the Ordinance Committee to be amended to state the owners will be fined for more than four false alarms in a 12-month time span and that they will not be responsible for malicious fire alarms.
Business owners would also have to have alarm systmes inspected by the city within 90 days of receiving a fine. The amount of the fine has not yet been decided.
In other business, Municipal Court fees could increase from $10 to $25.
The cost has not increased since 1988, Circuit Clerk Robin Smith said.
"As you all know, the cost of materials, labors -- just the amount of work we're required to do -- has increased substantially," Smith said. "We're not trying to get rich, we're just trying to cover our costs."
A public hearing will be held on the matter. The date and time has not been set.
Nate Bowles of Bowles, Rice, McDavid, Graff and Love, spoke to the council on behalf of his client, agricultural company Monsanto.
Both Monsanto and the city of Nitro own adjacent parcels of property in the Heizer Creek Landfill, which combined total 5.06 acres.
In the late 60s the landfill was used to dump commercial and chemical waste. Monsanto was given access to the property to remediate and encapsulate the area.
Monsanto asked the councils to grant a resolution to build a fence around the encapsulated area and post warning to anyone planning to develop nearby areas.
Council passed the resolution and will have any liability in maintaining the property.