St. Cloud now open for business

A city contract had required the use of ADT for fire
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Wednesday, October 1, 2003

ST. CLOUD, Minn. - As many as 300 commercial fire accounts here could be in the market for a new monitoring provider for their alarm systems, thanks to the repeal of a 15-year-old ordinance that had bound them to ADT Security Services for that service.
The ordinance was based on a contract signed between the St. Cloud Fire Department and National Guardian in 1988. That’s when the fire department decided to end its direct to the fire department alarm monitoring service, according to Fire Marshal Mike Post, and replace one of its fire stations, a building that also housed the “fireboard” that handled all alarm signals coming into the firehouse.

“The fire department opted not to replace the fireboard and instead decided to use outside monitoring agencies to replace firefighters staffing the fireboard,” Post said. The former National Guardian won the contract in 1988 and city officials passed an ordinance that required anyone with a fire system to use that company, which is now part of ADT.

In August, city officials asked ADT to release the city from its contract, which renewed annually, and the company immediately agreed to do so, according to Ann Lindstrom, an ADT spokesperson.

“Now we have decided that in the spirit of competition and the repeated requests of city business owners to open that up,” Post said. “The technology has progressed to the point where it’s no longer necessary to have a single point of contact” for all fire alarms in the city.

In the terms of the contract, the city received $10 per month per account that was monitored by ADT, while the security company agreed to provide all the necessary equipment for the fire department’s dispatch center, including a printer that the department uses to record its responses, according to Fire Chief Bill Mund.

While city officials agree that St. Cloud’s arrangement with ADT was unique, they said there weren’t any legal issues that forced the city to end its relationship with ADT.

“It was to address the concerns of the businesses in the community,” Mund said. “Over the years we had complaints from vendors and consumers that ADT’s service wasn’t as good as it should be. We also had many people who have been very satisfied with the service.”

Lindstrom said that the company will leave the printer and modem it had provided to the city at no charge.

“We certainly feel that we have a proven track record in the city,” Lindstrom said, “and we are looking forward to the opportunity to bid competitively for those fire alarm accounts.”