Council OKs towing cars with blaring alarms


A bill that would allow Baltimore police officers to tow and impound cars whose theft alarms continuously blare for no reason was unanimously approved last night by the City Council.

The measure, which is expected to become law with the signature of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, would also allow the city to fine the car owner $100.

The bill was introduced by Councilman Robert Curran of the 3rd District, who was kept up one night by a neighbor's car alarm. After introducing the bill, Curran said he was shocked by the overwhelming support for the measure from irritated residents who have experienced the problem.

"This has struck an unusual nerve," Curran said after the approval last night. "People wanted the fines doubled."

Owners of area companies that install car alarms say the problem is easily fixed. Most of the alarms, which cost from $100 to $500, allow the installer or owner to set the sensitivity level.

In other action, the council:

Approved a bill that would restrict the amount of medical waste allowed at Hawkins Point Medical Waste Incinerator. Last year, the council passed a law permitting the owners of the incinerator to bring in medical waste from a 250-mile radius. Council members repealed the legislation last night, but not without debate over the legal impact of the move.

Schmoke said he would veto the bill because the city law staff has raised concerns over whether the council repeal would affect business contracts into which the incinerator operator has entered as a result of last year's change. But Council President Lawrence A. Bell III urged members to support the bill, noting that they inserted a protective clause allowing contracts already entered into by the owners to be fulfilled.

Announced a hearing on the privatization of city ambulance service payment collections. The city administration wants to hire a private company to collect charges for ambulance service. The company would receive 17.5 percent of the money collected.

Several council members and representatives of the city fire officers union oppose the step, saying there is no need to pay for the billing, which should remain with the Fire Department. The council passed a resolution to hold a hearing on the matter May 13.

Approved a bill that would allow city police to confiscate unregistered motorbikes. Several council members said they have received complaints about growing use of motorbikes by city youths. Under the bill approved last night, police can confiscate the bikes after one violation.

Introduced a bill asking for a report on illegal dumping in the city. Council members say they are seeing a growth in illegal dumps and want to crack down on the growing mess. "Everywhere I drive it looks like trash alley," said Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector of the 5th District.

Pub Date: 5/05/98

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