False alarm rip-off of taxpayers

File photo.

False alarm rip-off of taxpayers

Story By: LEGIS. TOM BARRAGA
12/24/2015


SUFFOLK COUNTY—Our residents purchase a security system because they want safety and security for themselves and their families. No one wants to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on a home security system, but they do so because they want to be protected from criminals. They pay not only for the initial installation fees but also the quarterly monitoring maintenance charge, which can often run $75-$100 every three months.

And now, because these tens of thousands of families have made and continue to make the financial sacrifice to bring safety to their families in their own home, a majority of the members of the Suffolk County Legislature passed a bill that will financially penalize them. 

It’s a disgrace. This bill is a blatant, arrogant and stupid money grab designed to bring in revenue at the expense of the taxpayers, residents and families living in the Suffolk County Police District.

 Personally, I always justified the red light camera program and even the speed camera proposal, although never implemented, because individuals receiving the fines were breaking the law. But the residents affected by this outrageous bill—the good citizens making a financial sacrifice to protect their families—are rewarded with annual permit fees of $50, late fees of $25 and a host of false alarm fees that are just absurd. The people I represent struggle financially in this county with high property taxes, mortgage payments, car payments, exorbitant electric bills, huge heating bills, insurance, tuition, gasoline expenses, food costs, rip-off Cablevision bills and outlandish phone bills—it’s a very difficult time for many of them. Many people are paying on average $1300 per year for police protection, and for that kind of money I want the cops to answer every single alarm requiring a police response—no excuses. 

Finally, I have to believe that someone who will never run for election… someone who doesn’t have a clue as to the real financial plight of the people we’re supposed to serve, put this recently passed legislation together. The voters will hate this act and they will seek out and remember those legislators who voted for it. Then, just like the MTA legislation of several years ago, those elected members who supported this bill might also be justifiably turned out of office.