A great menu doesn’t mean the food will taste good: City of Dayton goes to Denver for an expensive website

When I first came to Dayton there were a lot more people living in the city. Downtown didn’t have two new class A skyscrapers, a new performing arts center, Riverscape, but it still had people working there. The Arcade was open and we didn’t have the Downtown Dayton Partnership or the Dayton Development Coalition or give-away tax dollars to every single business that promised to employ people.

We did invest in having 6+ recreation centers, a police force close to 500 sworn officers and the streets were smooth, clean and not full of potholes.

Now, downtown is a ghost town, we have about half the police force, just a few recreation centers and the streets are like an obstacle course. Oh yeah, and our population has dropped by something close to 40%

So, tomorrow night, the Dayton City Commission is going to spend $45,000 on a website with Atlas Advertising of Denver, Colorado, on a GIS-enabled website for the Department of Economic Development.
Here is how Atlas describes its product:

Does your community know how to leverage its unique strengths to drive inquiry and investment from prospects? Economic development marketing is where Atlas started and it’s what we do every day. Our CEO is a former economic developer. Our Creative Director has designed the best economic development website in the country—four times. And we all work hard to create feature-rich, integrated software products and dynamic creative services for our economic development clients every day. Smart, Feature Rich Economic Development Websites; Atlas offers the most feature rich, easy to use economic development websites on the market. These include Atlas Smart City Economic Development Website, developed specifically for cities and counties under 100,000 in population, and Atlas Smart Region Economic Development Website, developed specifically for regions and utility service areas made up of multiple cities and counties and totaling over 100,000 in population.

via Economic Development Marketing Services & Products.

There are also monthly fees of:

  • Annual maintenance, demographic data, software and hosting: $495
  • Company data (D&B) $125

So instead of working on recreating the unique strengths we once had- parks, recreation, safe neighborhoods- we’re going to send large sums of money to a web development firm in Colorado (not that there are any in the entire state of Ohio that can do this) but, we’re going to spend our hard-earned tax dollars on yet more “economic development” Hail Mary solutions instead of investing in making sure the streets are smooth, safe and clean.

I don’t care what you tell people about what you offer- if they do their due diligence on this community (greater Dayton) and get one whiff of the kind of three-ring circus we call “government” – with umpteen hoops to jump through, the prospective employers will head elsewhere.

We’ve “invested” about $150 million in moving the deck chairs of local companies to Austin Landing over the last 3 years- just imagine how many more police, parks and street sweepers that could have bought. Never mind the savings by consolidating our I don’t want to even know how many jurisdictions into one competent one.

And- as per usual, the 126-page agenda was posted as a scanned PDF- unreadable by people with disabilities and not in compliance with the ADA. So, I’ve done a little OCR work and uploaded it here for you to review. The internal links unfortunately break with the OCR process.

Dayton City Commission 04-18-12 Agenda

I also find this item interesting:

DHDC, Inc.- Contract- for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP3) Nuisance Abatement Program Residential Asbestos Surveys and Post Abatement Verification Inspections- 2012 (Open Market Contract) (Federal NSP3 Funds)- Dept. of Building Services/Housing Inspection. $77,357.00

DHDC is Design Homes- owned by Sherry Oakes, who was recently investigated by the Dayton Daily News and the Feds for issues about minority and set aside ratings. The city says “This Project was bid with a 0% participation goal; however, DHDC, Inc. is a minority and woman owned company.” If this is a 0% participation goal- why are these relevant? They also checked “No” with an * on disclosure of litigation and have a handwritten explanation of their issues with RAPCA.

Note- Design Homes website doesn’t talk at all about doing asbestos abatement. However, TesTech- one of their other companies does: http://www.testechinc.com/enviro.html

If you don’t find this odd, you must work for the city.

 

 

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