False alarms may soon prove costly to residents and businesses on Jekyll Island.
The board of the Jekyll Island Authority heard a first reading Tuesday of a proposed ordinance regarding false fire and burglary alarms on the island. The island’s emergency responders have recently seen an increase in the number of false alarms to which they’ve had to respond.
Each response costs $150 and ties up resources, potentially delaying response to other emergency calls on the island, said Melissa Cruthirds, general counsel to JIA.
“We are seeking to introduce a false alarm ordinance that would penalize recurring false alarms from the same person or entity,” she said.
Similar ordinances are in place in other areas, she said.
The ordinance defines what will constitute a false alarm and introduces penalties for violators.
“Your first and second false alarm, you have a warning,” Cruthirds said. “And your third false alarm is a $300 fine, fourth is $500, and after the fourth false alarm is $1,000 each violation.”
Potential court cases will be handled in Glynn County Magistrate Court, and fines will go to the county.
The proposed ordinance will be posted on JIA’s website and open to public comment.
During a review of financial reports from June and July, the board was told that revenues in June were around $1 million less than what was budgeted. But in July, revenues were 9 percent better than what was budgeted.
The Jekyll Island Convention Center’s budget continues to be the hardest hit on the island because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept the center closed since mid-March.
The only events to take place there since March were a recent JIA senior staff event and the JIA Board meeting Tuesday, which was the first one held in person since the pandemic began.
The board unanimously approved an amendment to the contract JIA has with ASM Global, which manages the convention center. ASM Global recently merged with SMG, the previous manager.
JIA Executive Director Jones Hooks recently spoke with ASM Global leadership and explained the convention center’s predicament. Certain fees paid to ASM Global have stayed in place despite the lack of groups meeting at the center. Many events for the fall have also been canceled.
ASM Global agreed to amend its contract with JIA to give a six month reprieve in payments of the operating fee and an incentive fee. In return, JIA will extend its contract with the company for an additional year at the end of the present contract.
“We don’t see a downside at all,” Hooks said. “It would be different if we weren’t pleased with SMG/ASM management. We are pleased. Their surveys that are conducted on each group that meets here are all very positive.”
The board also approved the acceptance of a more than $300,000 grant from the AmeriCorps program to bring members to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center again this year. The grant requires a 50 percent match from JIA.
This will be the twelfth year the Sea Turtle Center has participated in the AmeriCorps program, and Jekyll is the third largest recipient of the grant this year, following the University System of Georgia for its 4H AmeriCorps Project and Hands On Atlanta.
“According to a press release from the governor’s office this past week, $3.7 million was awarded in the form of AmeriCorps grants in Georgia this year,” said Marjorie Johnson, JIA’s chief accounting officer. “The funding went to 22 organizations, and we have 597 AmeriCorps members statewide.”
The JIA board also received an update on the historic bond fund project that will soon wrap up and has added improvements to the island’s historic district, as well as an annual staffing level report and a report about plans to update Jekyll’s strategic plan.
JIA staff announced during the meeting an event planned for Aug. 26 at the Mosaic museum to unveil a new floating exhibit that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed and protected American women’s right to vote.
“This exhibit was made to recognize several fascinating women from the Jekyll Island Club who were actively engaged in the women’s suffrage movement,” said Andrea Marroquin, museum curator for JIA.