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Firefighter Layoffs Proposed In Montgomery County

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Prince George's County firefighters responded to an 'intense' fire in a two-story home in Capitol Heights May 10. The house was destroyed, but four residents escaped safely.
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Prince George's County firefighters responded to an 'intense' fire in a two-story home in Capitol Heights May 10. The house was destroyed, but four residents escaped safely.

By Matt Bush

In Maryland, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is proposing laying off over 80 firefighters.

The layoffs would be needed according to Leggett if voters reject ambulance user fees at the polls next month. The loss of the revenue raised by the fees would come in between $12 and $14 million. The county council narrowly approved the fees earlier this year, but volunteer firefighters immediately pushed to get the matter placed on the ballot via referendum, which a state court OK'd last week.

Councilman Phil Andrews, an opponent of the fees, says regardless of what Leggett is proposing, there's one thing he would not like the county executive to do.

"Now that the measure has been certified as a ballot measure by the courts, it would be wrong for the county executive or any public official to spend public monies or assign staff to advocate for or against the passage of the referendum," says Andrews.

On the main page of the county website is a link to a flyer and web page supporting the fees and consistent with the position of the county executive. The web page was created during the run-up to the council's vote earlier this year.

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