NORTH BALTIMORE – The village’s population will increase by "one" in 2010 when North Baltimore
Police Department purchases a K-9 officer with grant funds donated by CSX.
During council’s last meeting, Ken Gilsdorf, CSX manager of community affairs and safety, presented a
$5,000 check to Police Chief Allan Baer.
"The good part of my job is when I can give money directly to the communities we serve,"
Gilsdorf said. He had asked Baer to write the grant for the dog, which he did, and it was the first
request accepted during this round of funding. "The company likes to give money to police."
One reason for the grant is that CSX may call upon North Baltimore’s police officers to bring the dog to
the intermodal yard to sniff out contraband like drugs. "People smuggle anything and everything in
these containers," said Gilsdorf. "I think $5,000 is a small price to pay."
After he left, he explained the company’s budget had gone down 60-65 percent in the last five years, but
it still offered some grants, and a K-9 purchase would really help the village’s police department out a
lot. "All kinds of things are smuggled," he repeated, "guns, drugs, people, gangs. We’re
going to have CSX give a special presentation with our agents. They know Chief Baer very good. We
already did one class for them, a lot of it was what to expect in the yards. Between Wood County and the
chief, he’ll have the dog and be the first to respond."
Prior to council’s start, and knowing about the check presentation, Mayor Ned Sponsler quipped, "It
won’t be a chihuahua, will it?"
"No, but they’re feisty," responded the chief. He said the department is looking at several
places to purchase a K-9 officer and expects to get it in 2010.
During his police report Baer said he knew council has received several complaints related to truck
traffic. He reported officers in marked cars did a study at three areas of town over a two-week period,
at all hours of the day, and clocked 772 large trucks. They were going at an average speed of 52 miles
per hour. Only 29 were found to be violating the speed limit, and 28 of them were going only one to five
miles over the limit. The 29th truck was found to be going eight miles over.
"We are not seeing a significant increase," said Baer, clarifying, "in truck traffic, yes,
but not in speed limits." The chief added he sat in a 35 mph zone and commented that the trucks
looked fast. "Even at 31 miles per hour making a curve, it looks fast. … I don’t see a huge
problem with speed. … It doesn’t mean they’re not speeding through the village. We’re just not seeing
them. They do look fast on West State, flying past homes and cars." He told council members if they
get complaints, "refer them to me."
Street Supervisor Doug Wickard said leaf pick-up has started and will continue until mid-December
"or when the snow falls. As long as they keep putting them out, we’ll get ’em."
Councilman Mike Julien reported the village got its first check for income taxes collected with the CSX
project since it is part of the Joint Economic Development District. But he said some contractors are
not sending the income tax money to the Central Collection Agency.
"The figures are less than what we would have anticipated," he stated. The income tax check was
for about $3,000, and Julien said it was "earmarked for utilities on State Street for the new
Any work done within the joint district has to pay income tax. The construction work is expected to go
Fire Chief Doug Ebright reported the department should be getting paid recovery costs for responding to
auto accidents on Interstate 75 and hazardous materials spills. The county’s Emergency Management Agency
has a set recovery cost which is billed to insurance companies.
"We can be collecting a lot of money," he said. "We need to be recouping that money."
Council held an executive session to discuss personnel, after which no action was expected.