Possible fees for alarm permits and changes to streetscaping boundaries were discussed at a Tiffin City Council Law and Community Planning meeting Monday evening.
City Administrator Wayne Stephens told the committee he believes the city should expand the streetscape area.
"We may not be able to do it for some period of time," he said, "but that gives us the ability to do it in the future when and if we ever have the funds."
Mayor Jim Boroff suggested council consider Stephens' request.
"I think this is minor on some respects," Boroff said. "I think it should be the prerogative of the city administrator."
Streetscaping, which includes brick work on sidewalks, decorative lighting and trees, mostly is in commercial areas. Stephens' suggestion would expand into more residential areas, including some rental properties.
Law Director Brent Howard said such an extension would force property owners to comply with guidelines if they do any work on sidewalks.
Howard added the Tiffin Tomorrow campaign includes mention of "freshening up" the streetscape.
"You may have to go back to this and revise it," Howard said.
In other news, Stephens and Fire Chief Bill Ennis have been working to update procedures for alarm permits in private residences and business, last updated in 1993. Permits, issued for smoke detectors, fire alarms, burglar alarms and the like, are required if property owners want the city to monitor the alarms.
Stephens said the biggest change includes the addition of a $25 annual permit fee.
"For all the years that we've issued alarm permits, we've never charged a fee," Stephens said. "We have over 280 alarms, and I can tell you, that creates a lot of work."
The city does not charge to monitor the alarm systems and a fee would help cover costs.
Another change is an increases in fees for false alarms. Previously, a third false alarm fee was $20, a fourth was $30, a fifth was $40 and a sixth was $60 and permit revocation. The changes would double the fees.
While the city does not want to revoke permits, Stephens said that after six offenses, the property owner needs to address the reason for frequent activation.
"Obviously we don't want people to have their permit revoked, so we have them educate their employees or fix their equipment, because typically a false alarm is caused by employee error or faulty equipment," Stephens said.
In addition, charges are to be increased if firefighters or police have to wait longer than 30 minutes for a response from the business or home owner. Originally, $15 was charged if the wait was longer than 20 minutes, but the fee is to increase to $30 for the first half hour and $30 for every half hour after.
Ennis also suggested a fee if police or firefighters are unable to contact any of three individuals provided as contacts by the property owner in the case of an alarm.
The committee approved the changes to the alarm procedures and authorized Howard to create legislation based on Ennis' draft.