Baltimore County police officers and firefighters were celebrating last night the overwhelming approval of a referendum question that will allow contract disputes with county officials to be settled by a third-party arbitrator -- a process called binding arbitration.
"It shows that there's a mandate from the public," said Michael K. Day Sr., president of the Baltimore County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association, which backed the measure along with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4.
Binding arbitration received the highest percentage of votes of all ballot questions in Baltimore County. Each question was approved.
Proposed amendments to the county charter that would establish a commission to redraw County Council district lines and require council confirmation of department head appointments passed easily, according to final vote tallies.
With all precincts reporting, voters also overwhelmingly backed questions that would allow the county to issue up to $199,789,000 in municipal bonds to pay for a variety of projects, including the renovation of several middle schools, construction of a library and a community college branch in Owings Mills, watershed restoration and community revitalization programs.