Lois Garey, executive director of the Harbel Community Organization, contends Baltimore neighborhoods suffered a major blow when Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke trimmed the city's budget by $27.5 million to deal with the ailing economy.
"We feel that communities and businesses have taken an extremely hard hit in the most recent round of budget cuts," Garey said.
"Agencies that serve the community and the noncenter city businesses have been wiped out in their entirety," she said.
Garey addressed about 100 business, community and civic leaders gathered at a meeting last night to react to budget cuts that eliminated a neighborhood program and housing inspectors.
In attendance were City Council President Mary Pat Clarke, council members from the 1st and 3rd districts, and state legislators.
Harbel, an umbrella organization of 91 groups in the Harford and Bel Air roads corridor, plans to rally along with other community organizations outside City Hall Monday at 4 p.m. to protest the cuts.
Pink slips were sent to 138 city employees.
Among them were Kurt Kocher, coordinator of the Baltimore Boulevards Program, which works with businesses to help fill vacant commercial buildings, and Naomi Benowitz, head of the Neighborhood Incentive Program, which assists community organizations in developing playgrounds and renovating community centers.
Kocher helped generate tax dollars by bringing businesses such as Frank's Nursery and Crafts into the city, Garey said.