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MoCo's Firefighters Threaten Referendum

Montgomery County's volunteer firefighter organization put elected officials on notice this morning that it will not back away from its opposition to a proposed ambulance fee. If the County Council approves the fee this fall, the volunteers said they would gather petition signatures to put the issue before voters in the next election.

County Executive Isiah Leggett, who proposed the fee, has stressed that health insurance companies - not residents - would be billed for ambulance transportation as they are in many of Montgomery's neighboring jurisdictions.

But the volunteers say they philosophically oppose charging residents for a fundamental government service that they provide for free.

"We know money is tight," Marcine Goodloe, president of the Volunteer Fire Rescue Association, said at a press conference at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.

Council member Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) became the second of nine council members yesterday to announce his opposition to the measure. The council's Public Safety Committee is likely to vote on the measure on Thursday.

By Ann Marimow  |  October 21, 2008; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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Comments

If this matter is a proper subject for referendum, I shall be delighted to help the firefighters place the ambulance fee on the ballot alongside the elected officials who gave it to us along with huge property tax increases this year and next.

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | October 21, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the referendum should also specify which taxes will have to be raised to pay for such a costly benefit.

Posted by: Ezra | October 21, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

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