The business of running a city is simple- provide infrastructure and shared community services to the citizens of the city. However, Dayton likes to believe that they are investment bankers. From today’s Dayton Daily News:
“We want to support companies that are growing. We want to support winners,” City Manager Tim Riordan said.
The Dayton City Commission, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, continued 2010 budget planning with presentations from the Office of Economic Development and the Department of Planning and Community Development.
Riordan rolled out the process last week by announcing the most controversial of all proposed cuts including 66 layoffs, fee hikes and service reductions.
Over the next three weeks, department directors and senior staff will fill in details of how those cuts will impact citizens and services.
Shelley Dickstein, assistant city manager for strategic development, outlined potential need of $14.5 million Development Fund spending next year to provide assistance to businesses, land development, grant matches, also continued work on TechTown and downtown.
Proposed allocation for the Development Fund: $4.3 million.
So, while cutting 66 people who deliver services, raising fees and cutting services, we can have more money to “support winners.” The losers are of course the taxpayers who are supposed to continue to provide monopoly money out of their hard-earned wages so Ms. Dickstein and company can continue to “provide assistance to business”- like she did at Wayne and Wyoming for Kroger- a several million dollar debacle that brought us goose-egg.
However, if we instead didn’t give Ms. Dickstein her play money- or her job, and instead focused on top-notch delivery of infrastructure and services, maybe businesses would invest here all by themselves? Or is Dayton so undesirable that we have to pay for people to come here? And how did we get that way? Failure to focus on what we’re supposed to provide- good schools, safe neighborhoods, affordable buildings and a competitive tax rate (do you think one of the reasons Reynolds & Reynolds moved to Kettering was to cut their income tax rate from 2.25 to 1.75% – maybe, just maybe? When you are making millions a year as you run the company into the ground- that was serious change in ‘ol Finbar’s pocket).
In another story, the City wants to hand over another $100K to the Dayton Development Coalition for marketing:
The city’s Office of Economic Development, over two years, will spend $100,000 to refine and implement a strategy to establish Dayton as an Aerospace Hub of Innovation.
The Dayton City Commission, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, voted to approve a two-year contract with the Dayton Development Coalition to assist the city with that effort.
These are the same people who came up with “Get Midwest” on a no-bid contract to a Congressman’s wife. Do you think maybe we should check out their books a little more closely, before handing them some more money. I’m pretty sure someone is looking into the DDC- but they are from the Federal Government, and they carry badges.
If the City of Dayton stopped all of it’s “economic development” activity, do you really think businesses would stop locating here? And how is it fair, to hand out tax dollars to some businesses, while not to others? At some point, I’m pretty sure this is what explains huge campaign contributions- like Rhine McLin received, despite facing a challenger who was raising relatively nothing. It surely hasn’t delivered us more jobs, or a winning track record. Nope, looking around, every single community to the East and South of Dayton seems to be doing much better at it- where there are neighborhood schools and the homicide rate isn’t 40x higher (that most of the killings are by career criminals of other criminals- isn’t Dayton’s fault- but, no one wants to talk seriously about County Prosecutor Mat Heck and his abysmal performance).
All we want to do is buy our way to happiness- while facing a $20 million deficit. But, this isn’t new- read this quote from the best City Manager not to last a year in Dayton from 1995:
In 1995, then-City Manager Bill Estabrook in a Dayton Daily News article called the executive savings plan “a golden parachute — a very rich plan for a city that’s poor.”
Maybe we wouldn’t be poor, if we weren’t so poorly run. City Hall isn’t where to work if you want to be an investment banker. It’s time we sent a few of these “economic development” charlatans packing before we stop fixing our streets, or plowing snow- or have we forgotten that when the snow doesn’t get plowed- there is no economic development?