After long battle with state, NHCA gets its charter
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:38

NHCA president Ayers could step down in 2013

by Ben Boehl

    After a three-year battle with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT),  the Norwood Holabird Community Association got its charter as a non-profit corporation finalized.
    John Ayers, president of the NHCA, said he had to shut down the community group back in 2009 when the previous officers lost their charter. According to Ayers, the old group failed to pay personal property taxes, which got the charter pulled. In order to get the charter back, Ayers and his new group had to pay arrears of $2,000 accumulated by the former officers.

“I was not going to pay the fine that was from the previous leadership,” Ayers said.
    So Ayres and his community team, including Roy Moreland, Ron Schaefer, Byron Harris and Terry Godwin, worked together to reform NHCA and came up with the name New Norwood Holabird Community Association. The name was chosen to differentiate themselves from the previous group.    
    “When the old NHCA organization ceased operations in September 2009, and [we] set-up the trusteeship, the decision was made to move the entire old organization’s remaining operational paperwork and historical documentation and the operational bank account assets to the trustees,” Ayers explained.
    “The trustees would then begin the process of rebuilding the operational foundational structure for the new organization to be reborn out of the remaining old corporate remnants that needed to be researched and pieced back together for the future.”   
    Meetings continued to be held, but Ayres knew he needed the community group to have a charter so they could become a non-profit to reduce the legal liabilities against the individual officers.
    “We are only one of a few (community organizations) with a charter. This will allow us to have a greater impact. We are continuing our 10-year plan,” Ayers said.
    Ayers started the journey by going down to the Community Law Center to try to get the charter back. Ayers expressed gratitude to attorney Robin Jacobs and her team for getting SDAT to drop the $2,000 fee. An agreement was reached that SDAT would waive the $2,000 if  NHCA promised to fill out back tax returns, which they did.
    “The credit doesn’t go to me. The real credit goes to the legal team at the University of Maryland Law Clinic. I’m from Dundalk and I planned to win. I’m not paying (the fee) from the previous group,” Ayers said. “I stood my ground and won. I had a legal team that believed the same thing.”
    Ayers is upset that it took almost three years to settle that dispute and questions the real motivation behind SDAT’s actions.
    “The State Department of Taxation and Assessments is a bureaucracy,” Ayers added. “They take money and spend it on entitlements that shouldn’t be there. They make it difficult to do.”
    In other NHCA news, Ayers said his group will start holding meetings at Holabird Middle School. The meetings were previously held at the North Point Precinct at the Government Center, but Ayers said NHCA outgrew the location.
    “We appreciated the police station, but it is becoming too small. We needed to find a centralized location that has a higher profile than the police station,” Ayers said.
    Looking to the future, Ayers said he might step down as NHCA president around November 2013, as he believes it is time for new leadership.
    “It’s good to go out on top as I look to pass the baton for the next generation,” Ayer said. “The best time to walk away is when you’re on top.”