Barring a last-minute deal by warring political factions, the Prince George's County town of Forest Heights will go out of business at midnight.
That means no trash collection. No police service. And no paychecks for the 12 employees of the town of 2,600 that covers less than one square mile.
The threat of shutdown is the result of a tug of war between the new mayor and four members of the Town Council over a proposed $1.3 million budget for the fiscal year that begins tomorrow.
"Forest Heights is shutting down until I have an approved budget," said Mayor Joyce Beck, who was elected last month after serving two years on the Town Council.
Beck said she will tell the company that picks up trash at the town's 964 houses not to show up. The town's five police officers will be told not to make their patrols because they cannot be paid.
Beck is arguing that a budget that was approved last week in her absence is null because the meeting was not properly advertised.
Council members "have chosen to be spoiled little boys, blocking my ability to move on the budget and my ability to administer the business of the town," she said this week.
Beck, who proposed a budget last month, does not have to sign off on the new spending plan.
A public hearing at the municipal building scheduled for tomorrow to try to resolve the issue was moved to 7:30 tonight, an indication that an agreement might be reached before the deadline.
The fight began during a budget public hearing June 22.
At the end of the meeting, council member George Wiggers wanted more time to review the spending plan and moved to postpone a vote until Friday.
Bonita Anderson, the town clerk, said the council voted 4 to 0 Friday to pass an amended version of the budget. Anderson, Beck and two other members of the council were absent.
Beck said this week that she would not sign that budget because the meeting was not properly advertised.
"I will not sign or administer a budget that they passed outside of the law," Beck said.
Beck said if the budget is approved tonight, a shutdown will be averted.
"All I ask is that they do it right," she said.