Voters Consider Significant County Ballot Issues

This election voters were faced with a number of significant local ballot questions.  A few of the more noteworthy are highlighted below.

Anne Arundel County

County voters approved a controversial local zoning bill that allows the location of a slot machine parlor next to Arundel Mills Mall.  While the primary question dealt with a local zoning issue, the policy implications drew interest from across the State and outside of the State.  From a November 3 Capital article:

Voters endorsed the state’s largest and most lucrative casino for the Arundel Mills mall yesterday, and the 4,750-slot machine gambling emporium could arrive as soon as The Cordish Cos. can erect a temporary tent to house it.

“I’m going to try like the devil to do it, but it’s not a hundred percent sure that I can,” company president David Cordish said. “I’ve got to figure how to build a world-class permanent structure at the same time I’m building the temporary one.”

The casino and the estimated $430 million the state expects it will pump into government coffers will help plug holes in county and state balance sheets, but may spell the end of horse racing industry in Maryland. The issue inflated voter turnout across the county.

Votes for:  103,263

Votes against:  82,008

Baltimore County

Baltimore County voters strongly supported a charter amendment that would require the County to create a binding arbitration process for its merit system employees.  Several counties already have binding arbitration for their police and firefighters as part of their collective bargaining process, but not for general county employees.  For more background information, see the November 1 Conduit Street article.

Votes for:  161,161

Votes against:  72,441

Cecil County

Cecil voters approved the adoption of a county charter, effectively transitioning the county from a commissioner form of government to a charter form of government.  More information can be found at the following November 3 Conduit Street blog post.

Votes for:  14,477

Votes against:  10,334

Montgomery County

Voters defeated a proposal that would have required individuals who are subject to emergency medical transport to pay a fee (commonly referred to as the ambulance fee) to defray the transportation costs.  County residents would have been charged based on the extent of their insurance coverage.  A hardship waiver would have been created for non-county residents.  From a November 3  Potomac Patch article:

A contentious ballot measure to charge for ambulance rides in Montgomery County was voted down in Tuesday’s general election. With all 248 precincts reporting the ambulance fee referendum was defeated 53.83 percent to 46.17 percent.

The fee would have generated $14 million toward the county’s budget shortfall according to supporters, but those against the fee said it would deter people from calling ambulances.

The county will have to find the $14 million elsewhere and County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who was a big supporter of the fee, said the money would come from cuts to fire and rescue services.

Votes for:  116,173

Votes against:  135,434

Note:  All vote totals and percentages are from the Maryland State Board of Elections (data last updated 2010/11/03 1:37 AM).

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