When Dayton stops being a reverse Robin Hood- then we can talk about tax increases

Yesterday, the question of corporate welfare was the subject of the Dayton Daily News- with Mayor Gary Leitzel seemingly being the only one to realize that the handouts are nothing more than handouts.

Since 2008, the city has given $400,000 in public funds to help law firms and nonprofits already downtown relocate — sometimes across the street. The city has also lured [email protected] and Deloitte Consulting LLP from Kettering with a combined $200,000.

City officials said the money is an investment to retain the income tax revenue from the few hundred jobs, but Mayor Gary Leitzell said the process has become “a game” by downtown law firms and said that spending the money doesn’t help the city long-term.

“They come to us and line up and say our lease is up, what is the city going to do to keep us here,” he said. “Wouldn’t that (money) be better spent in programming to attract people to Dayton so they want to be here?

“Our mission is get people to want to come to Dayton, not pay them to stay,” Leitzell said.

via Paying firms to stay doesn’t help Dayton, mayor says.

Today, we find out that City Manager Tim Riordan can’t find a way to plug the holes in the budget- and thinks that raising the city income tax is going to help:

Dayton City Manager Tim Riordan could ask city leaders “within a couple weeks” to support an income tax increase to fix a deficit in the operating budget that could drop by $17 million next year.

via If city can’t meet budget, voters could face temporary tax hike.

Unfortunately, Mayor Leitzell seems to think a “temporary tax increase” is OK- never paying attention to the effect it will have on every business that now has to change its processes to collect the extra tax- and the impact it may have on those companies’ bottom line- or decision to stay in Dayton or to go.

Let’s see. Last year the city gave away $600,000 of the taxpayers’ money to a few select companies- instead of providing needed services with the money. What isn’t included in that sum is the huge amount of overhead it requires- all the “economic development people” who cost money as well. Just get rid of Shelly Dickstein’s position and you save another $100,000+ her support staff- probably another $500,000.

Wow, eliminating 5 people plus their handouts – just saved the city $1.5 million a year.

Now, lets go back to the illegal raises granted by former City Manager Rashad Young to city staffers- and himself. Revoke them. Go after Mr. Young and former Mayor McLin as criminals- and recover damages- because what they did was to break the public trust, and it’s the public’s trust that gives us the incentive to allow the City to take more money out of our income- to take care of our business.

Unfortunately- City Hall thinks it’s their business to take care of private businesses- not the taxpayers:

Who has received city funding since 2008?

  • Flanagan, Lieberman, Hoffman & Swaim: $50,000 to relocate from 318 W. Fourth St. to 15 W. Fourth St.
  • Area Agency on Aging: $200,000 to relocate from 6 S. Patterson Blvd. to 40 W. Second St.
  • [email protected]: $65,000 to relocate from Kettering to 937 S. Patterson Blvd.
  • Vocalink Language Services: $40,000 to relocate from 40 S. Perry St. to 405 W. First St.
  • Deloitte Consulting: $140,000 to relocate from 10 W. Second St. and Research Park in Kettering to 220 E. Monument Ave.
  • Taft, Stettinius & Hollister: $100,000 to relocate from 110 N. Main St. to 40 N. Main St.

via Paying firms to stay doesn’t help Dayton, mayor says.

If the city wants more income tax coming in, the easiest way is to gain more residents- utilizing our abundance of cheap housing and abundant clean water (never mind a large pool of skilled labor). Yet, in their mad pursuit of supporting Nan Whaley’s biggest campaign donor– they chose to invest in decreasing our inventory in a never-ending retreat strategy:

The number of vacant structures in the city continues growing despite a demolition effort that has razed more than 1,000 housing units since 2007.

At the current pace, it will take more than a decade to right size the city’s building stock at an estimated cost of $50 million.

via Vacant buildings grow in number despite city demolition program.

Not only could $50 million go a long way to fixing up homes- it would bring taxpaying residents into the city. At some point we need a strategy that is different than the current one. Right now we are taking away what the poor have abandoned as they increasingly can’t afford to live in a dying city- with no hope of job growth with current “leadership” and handing our money over to title bureaus, demolition contractors, landfill operators and other vultures of society who are feasting on the shambles of our once great city.

Robbing from the poor, to give to the rich isn’t a viable strategy. It’s time to knuckle down, find our strengths and start building instead of throwing up our hands and asking for the last nail of a tax increase to seal our fate.

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Ken Carman

Dayton has a lot to offer, there is no doubt about it . . . before we talk about luring in new businesses and residents, there is a whole lot that needs to be fixed.  I keep hearing talk about promoting Dayton’s strengths and trying to get people and businesses here, but a bucket with a hole will never be filled until the hole is repaired . . . or you may need to get a new bucket.


I’m with Ken.
I don’t think Dayton inspects sidewalks. Never in my life have I seen so many six-inch cliffs along sidewalks.
And I wonder why the garbage bins stay out in the street all week, too.
Minor points, perhaps, but vital to anyone who walks.

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

1) Get rid of zoning
2) Lower the tax rate
3) Fight for citizens with county on property tax adjustments
4) Stop land banking and demolition
OK, same 4 big items to change Dayton have not changed. They are going the wrong way and will see this small business owners Tail Lights next year after we close on our property.

Civil Servants are People, Too
Civil Servants are People, Too

Again with cutting development.   So you’re talking about what, say 1 percent of the city’s budget?     We can talk about cutting the grant program, but in the meantime you are eliminating all other services they provide for the business community.  

Throw in the nuisance money.   It says “at the current pace” it will costs $50 milion over 10 years… so that’s $5 million a year.   How much of that current pace is stimulus money with strings attached versus the City’s budget dollars they can control?

Let’s say we can move ALL that money to other purposes.   What should they do with $6M a year that’s not already being done?    How is shifting a couple percentage points of the budget going to magically transform the community?

I see a lot of big ideas here but few real, on the ground, solutions.   I guarantee most of the practical solutions are already happening in one form or another.   It’s ALWAYS a question of priorities, and those are very difficult decisions.   


CSAPT, It is always a question of priorities, but the politics of the city tends to skew priorities to try be all things to all neighborhoods when some area of the city have a better chance of survival and redevelopment than others.  The number one priority should be preserving and stabilizing still viable neighborhoods.    

Will Brooks
Will Brooks

The city can go ahead and put it to vote. I will vote against it and if it passes perhaps I will relocate to Columbus where the tax is at 2.5% but the city is stable.
Why is Gary Leitzell in favor of a temporary increase? I have never seen a temporary increase that did not become permanent. Has anyone else?

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

As a small business owner I receive the following from the city:

1) Water, sewer and trash: I am billed directly
2) Police: I have never used, but I have a private security monitoring system, which I pay for directly
3) Fire: Which I have never used, but I pay a private company for fire insurance
4) Business services that CSAPT says they provide, I have no idea what these are
5) Streets, which I pay a usage tax on via gasoline.
6) Fire and poster inspections…..in which I pay a private company to always have me updated, because it is mind numbing nonsense.

So, what is my tax going towards? What will my tax increase go towards? Relocating other businesses is a possibilty. CSAPT, diminishing the conversation by pointing out it is only small wasteful theft concerns me greatly. Because I am a better steward of MY money. You certainly prove you would be a worse steward of MY money than I, but I have no choice in the matter. Likewise, I am sure I would be a worse steward of YOUR money than you would be of YOUR money.

So lets assume we have 2 groups of people. Group A loves city services, uses them, abuses them and takes as much as they can. Group B hardly uses them at all.

Lets put it to a vote: Would group A like MORE services and MORE products, but only a portion of the cost, because we are going to spread the cost over group B as well? Reeeaaaaadddddyyyyyyyy vote! If group A is bigger, group B suffers. Damn, I love city politics.

David Lauri

3) Fire: Which I have never used, but I pay a private company for fire insurance
Robert, you seem not to understand that your fire insurance premiums are impacted by the rating of the fire department covering your insured property.
From the Insurance Services Office’s Public Protection Classification webpage:

To help establish appropriate fire insurance premiums for residential and commercial properties, insurance companies need reliable, up-to-date information about a community’s fire-protection services. ISO provides that information through the Public Protection Classification (PPC™) program.

Looking at my own renter’s insurance policy from earlier this year I see that Dayton’s fire department is rated as protection class 3 (on a scale of 1 being almost perfect protection to 10 being almost no protection).
You may think, Robert, that you “have never used” the services of Dayton’s fire department, but if it were possible for you to opt out completely, your property insurance premiums would go thus up.


>The number one priority should be preserving and stabilizing still viable neighborhoods.

Bravo, Bobby!   This is triage.  You can’t spend an equal amount of time and money on every neighborhood, or they may all die.    The hard and painful truth is that some areas must be put aside while other more viable neighborhoods are nurtured and grown, to set an example of the success that others may achieve.    You need critical mass, through dollars and leadership focus, to achieve viable and SUSTAINABLE success.    You build a foundation one block at a time.

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

@DL: I certainly do not appreciate the opportunity you took to run a sleight past me. I understand perfectly. I understand that I have no choice on whether or not I purchase fire protection from the city of Dayton. It certainly has occured to me that if not forced to purchase this product via tax collection effort, I would pay more in insurance, I may pay more in detection. I may pay a bum to stand next to my building with buckets of water. I may decide that none of it is worth it and purchase nothing. What is missing here…..my freedom of choice. What you just declared is that by forcing me to pay taxes for fire, I am most assuredly paying more for a service, when I could probably be paying less for a service of my choosing.

Thank you for the typical DL, pick a tangent and run with the minutia reponse. Lets even throw in a “you don’t understand” statement. Lets expound on the idea about how you paying taxes for fire service means you get to pay less in premiums and therefore we must ascertain that the current cost of your premium + Dayton fire must be much less than just what your fire premium would be without DFD protection. Well hot damn, thank you Dayton for saving me so much money. I would imagine if they raise my taxes that they will only save me more money.

I think I understand now, lets quadruple taxes.

Civil Servants Are People, Too
Civil Servants Are People, Too

@David, your comment explains exactly WHY cities have economic development staff… to help businesses navigate a regulatory environment they  may not fully understand.   Planning, development, and enforcement are three sides of the same triangle – connected but different.
Also, the development groups you mention do very different things.  (cities, CityWide, Chambers, DDC)  Ideally, they could indeed all be under one roof.   I fully support the notion of regional structures.  Until that happens, perhaps they need to do a better job of explaining their mission.
What you call “contempt” is an insult to every hard working civil servant who cares about their community, and does the best job they can with the resources available to them.    I promise you, this describes most of us, even if you don’t think so and continue to look down upon us on a daily basis.   In writing.     If the citizens wanted regional government, for example, we would have it.
@Robert – the person who sees no value in a fire department is the exception to the rule.    Most people would agree that it’s nice to know someone will try to stop your house or business from burning down.    Insurance will not do that for you, and your security company cannot put anyone behind bars.
If you don’t know what services your city can provide, perhaps it is time to ask.    There are certainly enough ways to find out, and it’s not your city’s fault if you don’t pay attention.
PS.  The gasoline tax pays for interstate highways, not local streets.

David Lauri

Robert, dearest, you don’t live in a vacuum.  You may be perfectly content to take your chances and “pay a bum to stand next to my building with buckets of water” but your neighbors shouldn’t have to have increased risk because you choose not to participate in your community.  Your freedoms don’t include becoming a sovereign citizen who can decide not to pay taxes because you feel you don’t need the services of the city’s fire department.


3) Fire: Which I have never used, but I pay a private company for fire insurance

Are you suggesting that you’d like to “waive” the costs associated with the fire department service because you have fire insurance ? Instead of them responding to a potential fire, just let it burn down and have your insurance company pay the claim ?

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

DL: You just justified collectivism with collectivism. Once you begin to negate the individuals rights based on another individuals risk, there really is no point in talking about freedom any longer. Let me try: Dear David, you do not live in a vacuum. Just because you are perfectly content eating unhealthy, does not mean that your neighbor should have the increased risk of paying more into public healthcare. It must be a law to eat healthy.   But, I digress. I already know that you like aspects of collectivism and you are not really an individual rights guy. You want to contend my taxes that go towards fire, fine. What level of fire service should a city provide? Why are we a 3? We should be a 1………tax and spend until we are a 1. No wait, tax and spend until they rewrite the scale and we are better than a 1. No wait, cut taxes and cut spending until we are a 5. . . . . . . . . . . . .  There is no accounting for this. I could build a fireproof building, I could install sprinkler systems. I could build 100 yards away from any other structures. I could pay a fire crew direct to be on standby for my property. All of these methods allow me to choose my investment and my risk. I could potentially choose a level of investment in which my fire protection would greatly exceed everyone elses. But, guess what……………….The cost to me from the city does not change. So my own capital investment is meaningless, except for maybe on my insurance premiums. @CSAPT: Regarding gas taxes. I pay state and federal taxes on gas. I also pay local sales tax. I have not done the math, but lets take all sales revenue from gasoline and match that to city street expenditures. Lets also take any state money and calculate which portion is from Ohio’s .28 gas tax. So, if you want to elaborate I am open to being educated/corrected etc. It is not my city’s fault that they take my money… Read more »


I think that David L. completely misunderstands your political opinion.
The basic difference as I understand it is that fans of Liberty don’t want sovereigns.  They aren’t saying that they are the supreme power and authority.  They are only saying that you can’t impose your stated “sovereign rights” or utilize a government to impose force and coercion against them.  Essentially that no group or individual gets to claim sovereign dominion…not that any individual can claim it.
The individual sovereigns seem to take the view that they have the power to impose their will upon everyone else.  The big difference here is the people utilizing the force.
David wants “his” sovereigns to be able to use force to make you do the “right” thing.  You seem to want no sovereigns to be able to force anyone to do anything.
I have gathered from all of your posts that you are a fan of individual liberty and not individual sovereignty.  Can you confirm that this is correct?
If I am correct about your position; I love your point of view and find his terrifying.

Insider Info
Insider Info

CSAPT says, “What you call “contempt” is an insult to every hard working civil servant who cares about their community, and does the best job they can with the resources available to them.   I promise you, this describes most of us….”

Nice sound bite.   Seems to me that the “insult” was directed at the “in crowd” downtown and not the actual workforce.   One wonders, were you assigned the task of monitoring and responding to Mr. Esrati’s website?  Are you doing this on city time, on the tax-payer’s dime?  Don’t worry, I don’t expect an honest answer.  

Civil Servants Are People, Too
Civil Servants Are People, Too

@ Insider Info – Sure thing, the message I wrote at 1:52 a.m. was on the taxpayer dime.
If by doing things “on city time” you must mean the many, many hours (not to mention miles on my car) that I never  get paid for,  because I think serving the community goes beyond punching a clock.
Or maybe that I think it’s worth the time to step up and explain how local government actually works, as opposed to most of the garbage we see online.
The evidence is right there in front of you and you still couldn’t resist taking a shot at me.   Classy.

David Lauri

A fun news article that the Libertarians on Esrati.com may enjoy, which I found via a Slog post (“At Least His Taxes Were a Bit Lower Before his House Burnt Down “), is this one, “Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground,” which tells the story of Gene Cranick, who opted out of the optional $75/year fire protection offered by the city of South Fulton and thus got to watch his house burn down.


“”I thought they’d come out and put it out, even if you hadn’t paid your $75, but I was wrong,” said Gene Cranick.”

“Friends and neighbors said it’s a cruel and dangerous city policy but the Cranicks don’t blame the firefighters themselves. They blame the people in charge.” (emphasis mine)

Sounds like the system worked.  Hopefully a little time and a couple of wallet sapping payouts will fix the Cranicks’ sense of entitlement.

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

David Lauri,
Awesome article. Lets take a good look at the situation. The city offered a product to the Cranick’s and they declined to purchase fire protection. This I do not see a problem with. What I do see a problem with, is that if the fire department was private, you can bet your ass they would have accepted his offer to pay anything and put the fire out. They may even have pre-negotiated rates for these circumstances and people would be able to leverage their risk as they saw fit. Furthermore, funding a fire department on $75.00 per home creates a more direct cost to benefit that we lose in bureacracy otherwise.

I would imagine that homeowners insurance would also vary greatly in that neighborhood and their would be some stipulations there.

Libertarians do not wish for “NO FIRE DEPARTMENT”, rather simply one in which the fire department is a private business where we feel that either cost, service or both would improve.

So, while we can bring examples of misfortune, bad luck and poor choices to light…………are they really a foundational argument for loss of freedom, loss of choice and further entitlement? The town should have put the fire out and billed the man appropriately, probably somewhere around 5-8K for a night of home saving service.