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Leggett Presses Council to Embrace Ambulance Fee

As the Montgomery County Council prepares to take a preliminary budget vote as soon as tomorrow, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) is warning of the negative consequences of rejecting his proposed ambulance fee.

Giving up "$14 million in annual revenues from insurance companies and the federal government is neither prudent nor justifiable in these trying fiscal times," Leggett wrote late yesterday in a memo to Council President Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville).

For months, Leggett has pressed the council to pass legislation to create an ambulance transport fee, designed to charge health insurance companies-- not residents. The fee would be similar to those applied in neighboring jurisdictions such as the District, Fairfax and Prince George's County.

Council members have balked at supporting the measure that is opposed by the well-organized volunteer firefighters organization. They are concerned that such a fee would discourage residents from calling for help.

But Leggett said yesterday that leaving $14 million on the table has put the council in the position of trimming spending for important government programs. Leggett's memo highlights some of the council's recommended reductions to an affordable housing fund, a pedestrian safety program and EMS equipment, in addition to a proposal to increase parking fees.

By Ann Marimow  |  May 13, 2009; 10:50 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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But leaving millions in unappropriated funds for the Superintendent to spend as he desires without oversight is fine?

And skipping state procurement laws is fine? How many millions could be saved if the procurement procedures - RFP/competitive bids - were being followed?

Posted by: jzsartucci | May 13, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

As a member of the council, I shall vote to oppose the ambulance fee.

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | May 13, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

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