The people were there waiting for the Baltimore County Executive to make his appearance and discuss the future plans for the North Point Peninsula. Just before 7 p.m. a smiling and cordial Mr. Kamenetz entered the cafeteria, stopping at each table to shake hands and greet those in attendance.
Longtime NPPC President Harry Wujek called the meeting to order and outlined some of his concerns for the peninsula, including a 2007 Community Plan that continues to languish in the county’s bureaucracy.
Mr. Kamenetz then began his presentation by referring to the peninsula as the birthplace of the county with a reference to the War of 1812.
That opening remark was followed by some ominous words from the county executive.
“Tough times are still out there,” he said, adding that the council was reviewing his proposed budget for final approval.
He cited declining property taxes and tax revenues along with the fact that 70 cents of every tax dollar goes towards the county’s payroll.
“The economy is bad and it’s a challenge,” he said, while pointing out the county has consolidated numerous agencies in an effort to cut costs and increase efficiency.
“We were able to delay a police academy class by six months by assigning the PAL duties to Recs (recreation) and Parks," Kamenetz said "That allowed us to put more officers back on the street."
The county executive pointed to the advancements in technology in cutting costs. People can now report crimes online where a police officer will assist the victims in determining if an investigation is warranted.
Kamenetz also alluded to the county court system adopting a recording system thus freeing up court stenographers for other duties. In addition, he pointed to a new phone concept the county will adopt utilizing the internet via Comcast, eliminating the costly Verizon phone service.
Russ Donnelly, the Environmental Representative for the council, asked Mr. Kamenetz about his stance on the LNG issue.
“I don’t think it creates a lot of jobs,” the executive replied, indicating his stance on the project has not changed and he opposes it.
In response to another citizen concern over a delay in the county not marking a pedestrian crosswalk in front of the Food Lion on North Point Road, Mr. Kamenetz promised that the director of public works would be given two weeks to rectify that situation.
Fort Howard was the next topic of discussion. Mr. Kamenetz reported that his office has heard nothing from the developers and thought they were trying to line up financing.
This brought a response from President Wujek, who held up a copy of a signed lease agreement which indicated construction could begin in the fourth quarter of 2012.
To be sure, this story is just heating up.
The highlight of the evening was a quote from NPPC President Harry Wujek when he said, “We expected more from tonight’s meeting.”
Mr. Wujek spoke out of frustration at the county’s failure to act on a community concept plan submitted over five years ago. Mr. Kamenetz promised to look into the situation.
Mr. Wujek wanted to know if there was any movement on the streetscape project, and again Mr. Kamenetz said he would look into it. He went on to urge members of the community to take an active role in their own destiny by getting involved in the many issues that impact the peninsula where they live.
President Wujek also presented Senator Norman Stone with a plaque for his 50 years of government service. A side note to this part of the story, Senator Stone drove down from Delaware to attend this meeting unaware of his pending award.