There was pomp and circumstance for the opening of the new Takoma Fire Station, the oldest volunteer station in the county. But County Executive Isiah Leggett says future ceremonies like this may not happen if voters reject ambulance user fees at the polls Tuesday.
"This is now a county of nearly one million people. We have to make certain that our response time is appropriate. We have to make certain we have the right apparatus and right personnel," Leggett says.
He says county residents would not have to pay the fees because insurance companies will pick up the bill. But opponents worry the fees might make people think twice before calling 911 for an ambulance out of fear they would have to pay for it.
If the fees are voted down, Leggett has proposed budget cuts that include the layoffs of county firefighters.
Opponents call the cuts a scare tactic designed to drum up support for the fees.