After nearly two hours of political sparring, the Town Council in Forest Heights approved a budget last night and averted a possible shutdown.
The mayor of the town of 2,600 residents in Prince George's County had threatened to stop town services -- including trash collection and police patrols -- if the council did not settle on a spending plan last night.
The council, which includes the mayor, voted 6 to 1 to approve the $1.3 million budget, which goes into effect today, the first day of the 2006 fiscal year. Council member Myles Spires cast the dissenting vote.
"We got a budget," said Mayor Joyce Beck, as she shook hands with constituents after the raucous meeting. "We needed to do it right."
More than 150 residents of the town, which borders the District in the southwestern part of Prince George's, attended the meeting. Some went to the podium to urge the council to vote. Others yelled from their seats for an end to the fighting.
"Drop all of the pettiness because we will vote you out if you don't," said Jacqueline Goodall.
One resident warned that if her garbage wasn't picked up, the mayor and council members' "front yards might become the county landfill."
After the Town Council failed to approve a budget June 22, Beck said she would be forced to shut down the town if a budget was not approved by today.
The council passed an amended budget last Friday. Four of the seven members were present. Beck has argued that the vote on budget, approved 4 to 0 in her absence, was not acceptable because last Friday's meeting was not properly advertised.
The mayor scheduled last night's meeting to settle the issue.