The Montgomery County Council voted yesterday to strip $200,000 from its proposed allocations to Takoma Park -- more than half of the revenue sharing funds it pays the split city -- because of a dispute over whether Prince George's County should pay for fire services there.
"Why should we be the whipping boys in this?" lamented Takoma Park Mayor Sammie Abbott, who had attempted to dissuade the council.
"Why can't these two proud sister jurisdictions get together to deal with this problem? The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission crosses county lines , so does the Park and Planning Commission. Why the hell can't they talk about fire service on the same level?"
But County Council President Michael Gudis said the money was transferred into the designated surplus budget to allow the three governments more time to come up with a mutually acceptable solution.
"We met with members of the Prince George's Council last week, and they told us they had given residents of Takoma Park a tax credit that they felt would be used to compensate Montgomery County. Rather than try to agree on how the tax credit would be used before the May 15 deadline," when the council takes a final vote on the 1986 budget, "we decided to set this money aside."
Montgomery County maintains the fire station in Takoma Park, and officials say a third of the calls it handles are from the Prince George's County part of the city.
Abbott argues that under state law Montgomery County must pay the city the deleted funds as a return for services not rendered.
"The county taxes us for police protection, for streets, for libraries, for recreation, for sanitation, yet they don't provide them," Abbott said. "That's not revenue-sharing, based on some poverty formula . . . that's a tax differential."
In other business, despite an 11th-hour campaign by Bethesda residents, the council declined to defer appropriations for extending Woodmont Avenue one block from Bethesda Avenue to Leland Avenue.
Building the Woodmont extension would require the razing of four houses. The influx of traffic, residents had testified, would hurt the character of the neighborhood, one of the few moderately priced residential areas bordering Bethesda.
However, transportation chief Robert S. McGarry told council members that terminating Woodmont Avenue at Bethesda Boulevard would back up traffic into Arlington Road and Wisconsin Avenue.