City/County Digest


In Baltimore County

Firefighters OK 1-year pact giving them $2,300 raises

TIMONIUM - The Baltimore County firefighters union voted overwhelmingly last night to accept a contract that will give members $2,300 raises and two additional paid holidays.

The one-year-deal - expected to cost the county $1.6 million - also provides a "firefighters bill of rights" for disciplinary procedures, said Michael K. Day Sr., president of the Baltimore County Professional Fire Fighters Association, which represents the county's 1,000 firefighters and paramedics.

The firefighters' current labor agreement expires June 30. Day said turnout was very good during the voting sessions at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. The new contract takes effect July 1.

County awarded $737,000 for homeland security

TOWSON - Baltimore County has been awarded $737,000 in grants by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to purchase a mobile command post and other equipment and supplies, county officials announced this week.

The county will use a $355,000 Urban Areas Security Initiative grant to buy a mobile command vehicle. The vehicle will feature radio equipment that will allow it to communicate with government agencies and video equipment that can be used to download video from law enforcement aircraft and other sources.

An additional $382,000, awarded under the State Homeland Security Grant Program, will be used to equip law enforcement and rescue personnel with protective gear and medical supplies.

Agency to hold sessions on insurance problems

ESSEX - A representative of the Maryland Insurance Administration will be at the Essex Senior Center from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays next month to help anyone who is having problems related to Tropical Storm Isabel or who has unrelated insurance problems.

"I am concerned people may not be aware of what assistance the Maryland Insurance Administration can offer," Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr. said in a prepared statement. "Although this agency does not have jurisdiction over the National Flood Insurance Program, we are working with them to help people settle their claims."

Copies of the administration's "Consumer Guide to Homeowner's Insurance" also will be available. The senior center is at 600 Dorsey Ave. Information: 410-468-2000, or the agency's Web site:

In Baltimore City

Cummings seeks $6 million for work near biotech park

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings said yesterday that he is seeking $6 million in federal funds to help pay for street and sidewalk repairs for an East Baltimore revitalization project centered around a biotech park.

Cummings, a Democrat who sits on the House Transportation Committee and represents the 7th District, mentioned the money at a news conference at City Hall to launch a search for qualified developers for the first phase of the project north of the Johns Hopkins medical complex.

An estimated $23 million in public money is needed for street, utility and open space improvements for the first phase of the project, according to a request for qualifications posted on the Web site of East Baltimore Development Inc., the nonprofit organization overseeing the redevelopment. The source of $8 million of that money has been identified, the solicitation said.

Applications for utility aid may be made today at expo

Anyone having trouble paying light and heating bills can apply for help today at the Baltimore City Energy Expo.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries, 6000 Radecke Ave. The assistance is not restricted to city residents.

Customers applying for help should bring photo identification, Social Security cards and proof of the past month's income for all household members, plus proof of residence, such as a lease or mortgage.

The expo is sponsored by the Baltimore City Office of Home Energy Programs, the Maryland Office of the People's Counsel, the Fuel Fund, the Maryland Public Service Commission and Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

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