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Recently my local government in a effort to offset revenue loss has passed several ordinances establishing "user fees and fines" for a variety of "services" One in particular concerns me and feels like an invasion into my personal business. They will now be requiring anyone with a security alarm to "register" their alarm system with the city and will be charging a $25 fee to register it. Failure to do so will result in a $100 fine.

My concerns how safe will this information be? Will now the fact that I have an alarm, what type it is, is it monitored etc become available to every Tom, Crook and Harry? Do I have any legal recourse to fight this. And truthfully what business is it of theirs if I have an alarm? My system is monitored by an outside company and there are several safeguards in place to help avoid false alarms ( which by the way they also have established fines for, and I can understand and support that)

They will also be implementing fees for response to vehicle accidents and charging an "ala carte" menu of prices for goods and services. The charges will go to the "at fault" driver's insurance company. If their company doesn't pay or you are uninsured the bill will go to at fault driver. Several of these charges are for a materials that are supplied to the department free of charge by the county government. How will we be able to make sure that goods and services aren't "trumped up" just to increase the billing costs, ie: spend a little more time at the scene than is necessary, use equipment that isn't necessary, respond extra units, etc. There is an appeals process, but that is based on sending your appeal to the City Manager( the man who thought up and pushed for this) how fail will that be?

If you would like more information on the actual ordinances you may look at the City of Winter Haven Florida's website, government link, commission agenda for June 23,2008

Thank You

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You sound surprised. This is how the government officials do things so they are able to claim that they've kept taxes low. Fees they impose on whatever they can think of aren't included in their definition of taxes. It's a bait and switch that's been going on for years and few people ever seem to make the connection. So while you may pay fewer taxes on income and property to the government, fees for everything else go up or new ones start being imposed to where you're actually paying more than you were before "taxes" were cut.

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