Citations Affected: IC 36-8.
Synopsis: False alarm charges. Authorizes townships, fire protection
territories, fire protection districts, and volunteer fire departments to
impose false alarm fees or service charges. Provides that an alarm
company is liable for the payment of the false alarm fee or service
charge, if the owner of the property that constitutes the owner's
residence establishes that the alarm is under a maintenance contract
and the alarm company has been notified of the improper installation
or maintenance. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by
the local government finance study commission.)
Effective: July 1, 2001.
January 9, 2001, read first time and referred to Committee on Local Government.
February 12, 2001, reported _ Do Pass.
February 15, 2001, read second time, ordered engrossed. Engrossed.
February 19, 2001, read third time, passed. Yeas 94, nays 0.
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning local
(4) shall exercise general supervision of and make regulations for the administration of the district's affairs;
(5) shall prescribe uniform rules pertaining to investigations and hearings;
(6) shall supervise the fiscal affairs and responsibilities of the district;
(7) may delegate to employees of the district the authority to perform ministerial acts, except in cases in which final action of the board is necessary;
(8) shall keep accurate and complete records of all departmental proceedings, record and file all bonds and contracts, and assume responsibility for the custody and preservation of all papers and documents of the district;
(9) shall make an annual report to the executive and the fiscal body of the county that at least lists the financial transactions of the district and a statement of the progress in accomplishing the purposes for which the district has been established;
(10) shall adopt a seal and certify all official acts;
(11) may sue and be sued collectively by its legal name ("Board of Fire Trustees, __________ Fire Protection District"), with service of process made on the chairman of the board, but costs may not be taxed against the members individually in an action;
(12) may invoke any legal, equitable, or special remedy for the enforcement of this chapter or of proper action of the board taken in a court;
(13) shall prepare and submit to the fiscal body of the county an annual budget for operation and maintenance expenses and for the retirement of obligations of the district, subject to review and approval by the fiscal body;
(14) may, if advisable, establish one (1) or more advisory committees;
(15) may enter into agreements with and accept money from a federal or state agency and enter into agreements with a municipality located within or outside the district, whether or not the municipality is a part of the district, for a purpose compatible with the purposes for which the district exists and with the interests of the municipality;
(16) may accept gifts of money or other property to be used for the purposes for which the district is established;
(17) may levy taxes at a uniform rate on the real and personal property within the district;
amount of the false alarm service charge. The notice required by
this subsection must be given:
(1) before the false alarm service charge is initiated; and
(2) before a change in the amount of the false alarm service charge.
(c) A volunteer fire department may not collect a false alarm service charge from a property owner or alarm company unless the department's bill for payment of the service charge:
(1) is submitted to the property owner in writing within thirty (30) days after the false alarm; and
(2) includes a copy of a fire incident report in the form prescribed by the state fire marshal.
(d) A volunteer fire department shall use the money collected from the false alarm service charge imposed under this section:
(1) for the purchase of equipment, buildings, and property for fire fighting, fire protection, or other emergency services;
(2) for deposit in the township firefighting fund established under IC 36-8-13-4; or
(3) to pay principal and interest on a loan under IC 22-14-5.
(e) If at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the money received by a volunteer fire department for providing fire protection or emergency services is received under one (1) or more contracts with one (1) or more political subdivisions (as defined in IC 34-6-2-110), the legislative body of a contracting political subdivision must approve the false alarm service charge established under subsection (a) before the service charge is initiated in that political subdivision.
(f) A volunteer fire department that:
(1) has contracted with a political subdivision to provide fire protection or emergency services; and
(2) imposes a false alarm service charge under this section;
must submit a report to the legislative body of the political subdivision before April 1 of each year indicating the amount of false alarm charges collected during the previous calendar year and how those funds have been expended.
(g) The volunteer fire department may maintain a civil action to recover unpaid false alarm service charges imposed under this section.
attributable to providing fire protection or emergency services under
the methods prescribed in section 3 of this chapter and for no other
purposes. The money in the fund may be paid out by the township
executive with the consent of the township legislative body.
(b) Each township may levy, for each year, a tax for the township firefighting fund. Other than a township providing fire protection or emergency services or both to municipalities in the township under section 3(b) or 3(c) of this chapter, the tax levy is on all taxable real and personal property in the township outside the corporate boundaries of municipalities. Subject to the levy limitations contained in IC 6-1.1-18.5, the township levy is to be in an amount sufficient to pay all costs attributable to fire protection and emergency services that are not paid from other revenues available to the fund. The tax rate and levy shall be established in accordance with the procedures set forth in IC 6-1.1-17.
(c) In addition to the tax levy and service charges received under IC 36-8-12-13 and IC 36-8-12-16, the executive may accept donations to the township for the purpose of firefighting and other emergency services and shall place them in the fund, keeping an accurate record of the sums received. A person may also donate partial payment of any purchase of firefighting or other emergency services equipment made by the township.
(d) If a fire department serving a township dispatches fire apparatus or personnel to a building or premises in the township in response to:
(1) an alarm caused by improper installation or improper maintenance; or
(2) a drill or test, if the fire department is not previously notified that the alarm is a drill or test;
the township may impose a fee or service charge upon the owner of the property. However, if the owner of property that constitutes the owner's residence establishes that the alarm is under a maintenance contract with an alarm company and that the alarm company has been notified of the improper installation or maintenance of the alarm, the alarm company is liable for the payment of the fee or service charge.
(e) The amount of a fee or service charge imposed under subsection (d) shall be determined by the township legislative body. All money received by the township from the fee or service charge must be deposited in the township's firefighting fund.
adoption of identical ordinances under section 6 of this chapter, the
designated provider unit must establish a fire protection territory fund
from which all expenses of operating and maintaining the fire
protection services within the territory, including repairs, fees, salaries,
depreciation on all depreciable assets, rents, supplies, contingencies,
and all other expenses lawfully incurred within the territory shall be
paid. The purposes described in this subsection are the sole purposes
of the fund and money in the fund may not be used for any other
expenses. Except as allowed in subsections (d) and (e) and section 8.5
of this chapter, the provider unit is not authorized to transfer money out
of the fund at any time.
(b) The fund consists of the following:
(1) All receipts from the tax imposed under this section.
(2) Any money transferred to the fund by the provider unit as authorized under subsection (d).
(3) Any receipts from a false alarm fee or service charge imposed by the participating units under IC 36-8-13-4.
(c) The provider unit, with the assistance of each of the other participating units, shall annually budget the necessary money to meet the expenses of operation and maintenance of the fire protection services within the territory, plus a reasonable operating balance, not to exceed twenty percent (20%) of the budgeted expenses. After estimating expenses and receipts of money, the provider unit shall establish the tax levy required to fund the estimated budget. The tax under this section is not subject to the tax levy limitations imposed on civil taxing units under IC 6-1.1-18.5. The amount budgeted under this subsection shall be considered a part of each of the participating unit's budget.
(d) If the amount levied in a particular year is insufficient to cover the costs incurred in providing fire protection services within the territory, the provider unit may transfer from available sources to the fire protection territory fund the money needed to cover those costs. In this case:
(1) the levy in the following year shall be increased by the amount required to be transferred; and
(2) the provider unit is entitled to transfer the amount described in subdivision (1) from the fund as reimbursement to the provider unit.
(e) If the amount levied in a particular year exceeds the amount necessary to cover the costs incurred in providing fire protection services within the territory, the levy in the following year shall be reduced by the amount of surplus money that is not transferred to the
equipment replacement fund established under section 8.5 of this chapter. The amount that may be transferred to the equipment replacement fund may not exceed five percent (5%) of the levy for that fund for that year. All participating units must agree to the amount to be transferred by adoption of identical ordinances specifying the amount.