City police phasing out alarm service

Marietta’s Police Department is phasing out its security alarm service, citing a low number of subscribers and a high cost to replace the department’s aging alarm panel system.

“Only about nine subscribers now use the alarm panel, but our current panel is an analog unit that no one uses anymore because the new systems are all digital,” Police Chief Brett McKitrick said during city council’s police and fire committee Tuesday.

He added that there is no money in the city’s security alarm fund to replace the current equipment. The estimated cost for replacement would be more than $90,000.

City law director Paul Bertram III said at one time there were as many as 60 entities, mostly businesses, that subscribed to the alarm service.

“But as the year 2000 (Y2K) approached many people were concerned that there could be a problem if their alarms were connected into the city’s system, so they dropped the service and went with private security companies like ADT and Suddenlink,” he said.

Bertram said the city’s alarm panel service would end in 30 days, which will give the police department time to send letters notifying current subscribers that the service will be terminated.

In other business, city development director Andy Coleman said local businessman Ken Kupsche has requested to be released from a CRA (community reinvestment area) tax abatement he was granted by city council in 2008.

People seeking to establish a business within the CRA, which covers most of Marietta’s downtown, can request a property tax abatement for a period of several years. The CRA was developed as a tool to help promote more economic activity in the city.

Kupsche, co-owner with wife Dagmar, of The Cook’s Shop on Front Street, was granted a 12-year, 49 percent tax abatement to help with property improvements and establishment of the kitchen supply business in the former Ohio Valley Grocery building at 180-184 Front St.

The shop is now among Front Street’s most successful businesses, and Coleman said Kupsche has asked to be released from the tax abatement after just five years.

“Mr. Kupsche was commended by the state for being a responsible business owner and asking for the CRA release,” Coleman said.

The abatement would have been worth a total $24,116 savings for the Kupsches if the agreement had continued for the full 12-year period.