During yesterday's Council session on the County Executive's proposed $70 million FY10 savings plan, I voted along with a majority of my colleagues to retain all Ride On service rather than make the reductions proposed by the Executive. Although I fully understand the seriousness of our current fiscal crisis, I believe that transit service must remain a top priority, especially in these economic conditions. Many of my constituents depend on Ride On to get to work, school or important community activities and the proposed reductions would have a serious negative impact on their lives. The Council may have to consider Ride On cuts again once we receive the County Executive's proposed FY11 operating budget. However, I remain committed to seeking out every possible alternative before making any reductions in this fundamental County service.
In addition, I voted yesterday to restore $183,000 to Montgomery Cares, which provides critical healthcare services to uninsured County residents. Instead, the Department of Health and Human Services will offset this amount with reductions elsewhere in its budget.
Although we were able to protect these services, the Council voted unanimously to approve an overall $70 million budget cut, for a total of $100 million in FY10 reductions.
Though these were difficult choices to make, I truly believe that my votes reaffirm my support for fiscal responsibility while minimizing the impact of cuts on our most vulnerable residents.