LEE COUNTY, Fl. - Lee County commissioners passed next year's budget Wednesday. But sparks flew when Medstar came up. The medical helicopter service has been grounded for flying without accreditation. It's also accused of wrongfully billing patients up to three million dollars.
Lori Grady has lived in Lee County for more than 20 years. She says while she's happy the budget does not include a tax hike, she does not agree that tax dollars should continue to fund the Medstar mess.
"I think it's needed elsewhere... if it's been cancelled why are they paying, who are they paying?" she says.
"I think they should because it's saving people's lives and I think when you put a price on that it can affect saving people's lives in a negative way," says resident, Cheryl Harold.
The approved budget is about 597 million dollars. The County wide tax rate will stay around 4 percent. To make up for a shortfall, leaders are using 30 million dollars in reserve funds, money the county built up during the real estate boom. But dipping into reserves doesn't sit well with newer residents Robert and Cheryl Herold.
"I guess I would rather see people pay ... if you raise the taxes and pay for the bill now and not worry about it, that's what we should do, pay as we go," Robert Harold says.
That 597 million dollar budget represents about a one percent decrease in spending.