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County Council’s Public Safety Committee Calls for Fire Units to Remain Funded

On Monday, the Public Safety Committee of the Montgomery County Council recommended 3-0 to restore funding for all three proposed cuts to the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service, including the proposed cut to the fire engine in Germantown.

In March, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett introduced his Fiscal Year 2019 Operating Budget it contained plans to eliminate two fire engines from the UpCounty, one in the heart of Germantown and the other in Hyattstown, and a ladder truck in Hillendale. The proposal would eliminate Engine 729 in Germantown, Engine 709 in Hyattstown, and Tower Truck 724 in Hillendale.

The budget, which is Leggett’s last as County Executive, contains an overall two percent increase of the Fiscal Year 2018 Operating Budget. The County’s new fiscal year begins July 1, 2018. The County is also continuing to struggle with dealing with an estimated $120 million budget shortfall.

The Council’s Public Safety Committee is made up of three members, At-Large Councilmember Marc Elrich is the chairman of the committee, he is joined by District 5 (Takoma Park/Silver Spring/Burtonsville) representative Tom Hucker, and District 3 (Gaithersburg/Derwood/Rockville) representative Sidney Katz. Also in attendance were Councilmember Craig Rice and Fire Chief Scott Goldstein.

The Public Safety Committee also recommended restoring the $114,780 cut to the local volunteer fire departments and recommended adding six new career firefighter positions to address failures to respond at the Burtonsville Station, which was the impetus for cutting Tower 724 in Hillendale.