March 2, 2012 9:12 pm ET
The Norwood Holabird Community Association held its 2012 Annual Meeting at the Squires Restaurant in Dundalk . President John Ayres focused on Dundalk’s future through a community needs assessment, citing the loss of jobs, county budget woes and a ten year program that would bring government leaders together with the community and revitalize the area and restore it as a hub of business activity.
Ayres used words like community destabilization, crisis situation and the loss of living wage jobs. He alluded to the recent sale of Techalloy, a Dundalk business, which was sold to Lincoln Electric Company in Cleveland with the loss of $70 million in state revenue and 55 jobs.
The first guest speaker was Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson who spoke on the issues of crime in Dundalk and Baltimore County, along with announcing the formation of a new Cybercrime Unit in the department. The chief pointed out that more county residents are becoming victims of these types of criminal activity.
When the issue of crime in Dundalk arose, Ayres took issue with the chief on the violence in and around the community.
Captain Butch Wilson then spoke on the problem of metals theft which has become a major crime issue in the Dundalk area. Wilson said the department is taking proactive steps to deal with this issue.
Captain Wilson also addressed the concern from audience members who complained that Dundalk had a disproportional number of registered sex offenders living in the area. Wilson said while that is true, most of the sex offenses were relegated to family crimes and not random acts of sexual predators.
Another important topic was Senator J.B. Jennings and his assessment of the state’s budget woes and how they will impact the county. The Senator spoke on matters such as the proposed 6% sales tax on gasoline, and the possibility of passing onto the county the issue of teacher pension liability. When questioned, he admitted the state budget has increased each year during his entire nine year tenure in Annapolis.
The final guest speaker was the county’s Chief of Code Enforcement Lionel Van Dommelen. The audience listened attentively as he outlined some new code enforcement goals to clean up Dundalk.
Van Dommelen announced a new five year $750,000 rat eradication program for county residents, along with targeting those who post illegal signs and addressing owners of Section 8 Housing who fail to follow code laws.
During the course of the meeting several awards were presented. The first went to Community Outreach Officer Marianne Snyder, who was recognized for her dedication to her duties. Next to receive recognition was , recognized for her support for our troops and Roy Moreland who was honored as NHCA Director of the Year for 2011.
The meeting space was provided by Robert Romiti, the owner of Squires, a Dundalk staple for over 60 years.
Other community leaders in attendance were North Point Peninsula President Harry Wujek, his VP Fran Taylor, Gray Manor/Northshire President Linda Gossman and Principal Tom Shouldice from Dundalk High School.