Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Fire For the Budget

"Budgeting based on punitive fines that are, ultimately optional - in the sense that people can theoretically choose to avoid committing actions that would result in fines - is not good economic sense... smaller buildings don't have many tenants to spread the pain between. What I worry about are the smaller fires that would previously have been caught, but won't, because people disconnect their smoke alarms to avoid accidentally setting off a false alarm."
- Acts of Minor Treason, "The Fire and the Fussbudget" - February 19, 2010

I hate when I'm proven right. Especially when it's something like this. In exchange for an expected $1.9-million, Torontonians are now going to be on the hook for even bigger false alarm fees - "negligent or malicious" alarms, that is, which does include short circuits or other mechanical malfunctions.

Because, you know, it's perfectly feasible to keep a system running one hundred percent of the time without any errors at all. A mechanical failure does not automatically imply negligence!

Funny, isn't it, how it's a $60 increase per fire truck dispatched to the scene of a false alarm? I wonder how many people who thought they got a good deal with the reversal of the $60 vehicle registration tax will have to shell out for that in the coming months... or, alternatively, how many homes will be damaged beyond salvage because the smoke alarms were disconnected. It's not every Torontonian that would be able to pay a bill for $1,230 just like that.

Granted, this has yet to be approved by City Council. Still, though, I have to wonder what hizzoner da Mayor will say about it. If anything.

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