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Alarm system service still questioned

The Sunnyside City Council Monday was set to approve the repeal of an ordinance that would discontinue alarm services provided by the local police department.

However, Councilman Mike Farmer and Mayor Jim Restucci expressed a desire to continue providing alarm services to Sunnyside residents.

The issue has been discussed and reviewed by the city of Sunnyside's finance subcommittee, which recommended the termination of services provided by the city.

Sunnyside Police Chief Ed Radder said the city's alarm monitoring system would need to be replaced if the city is to continue providing services.

Explaining his department has a list of some reputable private alarm companies, he said, "We are asking to assist with the privatization of current alarm systems."

Radder said he believes it is no longer cost-effective for the city to provide alarm services, and he believes the city is competing with private enterprise by providing the service.

He told the council members the services were initially offered to residents more than 20 years ago because of a rise in burglaries and a lack of alarm services in the community.

"The modernization of technology provides residents of Sunnyside with other options now," said Radder.

"I don't want to see us get out of the business," said Farmer, stating he believes the citizens like the service provided by the city.

Currently the city has 108 alarm customers, who are billed $120 annually. Eighty-one of those subscribers pay for the service and 27 do not. Of the 971 alarm calls in 2010, 762 were generated by systems served by the city's alarm services.

There were six burglary alarms in 2010. All but one were generated by private alarm companies.

Radder said there are several private alarm companies providing service to Sunnyside residents and at least two charge prices comparable to the city of Sunnyside.

Farmer said, "We're not in it (the alarm service) to make a profit."

Councilman Pablo Garcia said the city provides the service, but must cover the cost of service.

Councilman Don Vlieger said he believes the city is competing with private enterprise, but did not feel strongly one way or another as to whether the city should continue providing alarm services.

The council agreed to send the issue back to the finance subcommittee for further review of the cost to continue providing the service, as well as to analyze what rates should be assessed if services are to be continued.

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