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Belt tightening isn’t going to solve the Dayton financial problem

No real time to write a full post about this- but, either Joey or Nan should be happy I’m running, because next year won’t be easy. The city is projecting a $20M shortfall next year:

The city of Dayton’s financial woes grow deeper with budget estimates for 2010 predicting up to a $20 million shortfall.

via Dayton estimates $20 million budget shortfall for 2010 [1].

You don’t fix $20 million in a few months, nor do you get in this kind of trouble overnight. Remember, this is the Commission that spent at least $2M chasing a pipe dream for a Kroger that never materialized, and then bought a bunch of “blighted buildings” at the corner of Wayne and Wyoming for $800K. [2]

Start to see where the problems are?

Economic development, tax breaks, special deals- are a big part of what got us into this mess. Did we really need to give $125K to BGH Studios [3] for their promise of new jobs (that never materialized). It’s been willy nilly spending like this for years- gambling away our money that was supposed to go for service delivery, which might have actually helped project an image of a city that could actually deliver services- when we still had people to deliver them to.

Now, we’re looking at trying to woo tenants to a city that’s broke, and desperate- and we don’t even have money left to pay for the date.

The problem won’t be solved overnight, but, with a little marketing savvy (one of my favorite quotes is from Guy Kawasaki- “Advertising is the plastic surgery of business,: a procedure to make ugly and old products look good”) and some really innovative ways to empower the neighborhoods- we may start to change perception. Throw in some consolidation with other governments and we might be able to start working our way back to financial stability.

I believe that trying to push my proposal for unlimited H1B visas for HUBzones [4] could transform Dayton overnight, but, that would take some lobby muscle.

However, all of these things take the same thing: a new approach to the old problems, and our current commission isn’t equipped for that.

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Most of the comments on the DDN article are a bad reflection on the locals since they are so stupid.  Except a few.
One person brought up the fact that they (city government) dont know where the bottom is.  Another mentioned that it’s difficult to discuss this since there is no way to  compare, another said that the decline is a 15% decrease in revenue (if I read it right).
I think there are some good points here about asking if this is a permanent decrease or is the reflection of the recession.   Given the issues with abandonments and population loss there are some structural issues with declining revenue that have to be faced; less money coming in is hardwired into the fiscal environment.