Montgomery County firefighters are asking the Montgomery County Council not to eliminate the benefits they get for becoming EMTs in the 2012 budget.
The council has held hearings all week on budget cuts, ranging from the minor to the very large. In nearly every case, each cut is facing opposition from a group it would affect.
For example: The fire department is seeing just a small drop of less than two percent in its budget from the 2011 level, while other county departments are seeing their spending slashed upwards of 15 percent. But the fire department is still fighting some cuts.
One such proposal would eliminate pay increases for firefighters who train and become EMTs. The move would save approximately $200,000 dollars. But John Sparks, the head of the union for career county firefighters, says cutting that benefit sends a bad message.
"You're doing a disservice by eliminating this necessary funding," Sparks says.
But the total elimination of this incentive seems likely, as council members have already begun looking at other ways to encourage firefighters to become EMTs.