The Prince George's County Council approved a resolution Tuesday that would allow a Tel-Med information system to begin operating in the county.
Tel-Med provides medical information to the public through the phone system. A county resident may call a central number and listen to a tape recording three to five minutes long on any of 233 topics from heart disease and family planning to baldness.
The resolution narrowly passed because of the objections to what Council Chairman William B. Amonett called "an end run approach." The county had already purchased the equipment necessary to implement the system before Council approval and many members objected to "irresponsible spending."
"It's hard to approve another new program," said Ammonett. "There is no authority for it and we already have a tough budget year.
Funds from the health information services of the county health department were used to purchase Tel-Med tape equipment and set up 10 phone lines. Councilman Francis Francois told the Council that the Tel-Med program "wouldn't be before us except that the health officer wanted to tell us about it. He has full authority to do this from his general program."
Dr. Donald K. Wallace, the county health officer, has promised the Council that the program's projected $8,000 one-year maintenance cost would be absorbed by the health officer. The system has cost $32,000 since the two-year study of the program began.
The Tel-Med system will be staffed by current employees of the Greenbelt library and will be available during the week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, beginning in mid-April.
In other Council action, Councilman Frank Casula introduced a bill that would prohibit the use, possession and sale of all fireworks by citizens in the country except for persons involved in authorized displays.
Casula said he sponsored the bill to get the county in line with state legislaiton. The bill includes firecrackers, rockets, roman candles and sparkes in the ban. Casula said he hoped he could eliminated sparklers from the bill in committee sessions before the Council votes on it.
The Council also heard an analysis of proposed metrorail alternatives for the E and F routes routes in the county. The alternatives were requested by the Urban Transportation Administration to provide a full range of rail and nonrail transit alternatives for portions of the unbuilt Metro system.
The E route alternatives provide five routes from the District to the Beltway area around Greenbelt. The F route alternatives call for systems terminating at the sourthern end of the beltway from Branch Avenue to Rosecroft.
Public hearings on the E route alternatives will be held Monday at 7:30 p.m., at the Adult Education Center, University of Maryland, College Park; and on the F route alternatives on Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. at Benjamin Foulois Junior High School, 4601 Beauford Rd., Morningside.