A 25-year oversight left some off the hook for alarm system permit fees

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MARATHON COUNTY, Wis. (WSAW) -- Residents and businesses in Marathon County received a letter early this month about the alarm system permit ordinance the county has had on the books for decades.

Letter sent to residents in Marathon County. October 11, 2019. (WSAW-TV)

The county has been charging residents a yearly fee to have an alarm system for the past 25 years. It wasn't until recently that they noticed some of the county wasn't ever charged.

The oversight wasn't caught until a new employee started asking questions. After an investigation the county realized they had been missing out on that income for decades. "For the last 25 years we have been charging residents out in the townships of Marathon County. We never realized that the businesses and homeowners were never charged that were in the cities," explained Captain Jason Plaza of the Marathon County Sheriff's Office.

Now any business or homeowner that has an alarm system in Marathon County will be subject to those fees. The fees are going up. "The fees are being raised in 2020 from $25 to $50 and $50 to $100 dollars," said Plaza.

The county says the permit and fees provide them with an up-to-date information about alarms and helps reduce false alarm calls. "To maintain the database portion and all that information gets put into our dispatch system and for key holders," said Plaza.

The permit fees for 2020 are due by December 31, 2019.