In a reversal of long-standing policy, the Montgomery County chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV) this week joined a growing chorus of support for the County’s Emergency Medical Transport Fee, which would collect $14 million this year (and $170 million over ten years) from insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid to fund critical Fire & Rescue efforts at no cost to County residents. Read the LWV statement.
The City Council of the City of Takoma Park also voted unanimously to support the program. See their resolution.
County Executive Ike Leggett recently forwarded to the County Council a memo detailing budget reductions that would be necessary if the ambulance reimbursement law was rejected in the November 2 balloting, opening up a $14 million hole in this year’s Fire & Rescue budget.
Among the consequences detailed in the proposal would be the mothballing of 11 County ambulances, the layoff of 107 firefighters and paramedics, and the elimination of the Police in County schools programs. Additionally, Sunday service at County public libraries would be eliminated, County road maintenance programs drastically reduced, and more than $2 million in Health & Human Services programs would be cut should the $14 million in ambulance reimbursement funds not be available.
“Given our already tight budget, any further cuts will echo across the County,” said Council President Nancy Floreen. Our obligation is to maintain a balanced budget. If residents vote against the ambulance fee, they will be voting for $14 million in cuts to services.” See County Executive Leggett’s memo to the Council.
The Washington Post and The Gazette have also editorialized in favor of the Emergency Medical Transport Fee. Read the Post editorial and the Gazette editorial.
To download the “It’s All About Saving Lives” fact sheet on the issue, click here for English and here for Spanish.
CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED AT: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 11:00:00 AM