Services come first.

Today, the ice is finally melting off the streets. We had 4″ packed ice and ruts down the road for over 10 days. People were going sideways, hitting things, breaking things- all because the brain trust downtown decided to “save money” by not plowing. We did see a plow go down Adams- on Monday- 6 days after the ice storm. Note to city: by the time the ice is frozen and packed- you need a zamboni- not a plow.

I’ve heard that two Dayton Fire Department Medic wagons got into expensive fender benders thanks to the ice as well. Never mind the citizens who wrecked their cars, couldn’t get to work, or got hurt slipping on the ice.

Yet, we still have bureaucrats in City Hall paid 3x more than a plow driver- who are supposed to “woo” business to the city. What good is having a business in the city if people can’t drive to it?

How long will you shop at a business where there is no service? After taking my first trip to Menard’s today, I wonder why I should go to Home Depot or Lowes ever again. There were helpful people all over the store- like we used to have at Wolohan Lumber and Furrow. Frankly- cities are just like retailers- judged on their delivery of service, and the value you get for your dollar.

Dayton has one of the highest income taxes in the State- yet, our property values are dropping. Basic equation here- we have to figure out how to build value through delivery of services or we’ll not have anyone left paying taxes.

In the last weeks, I’ve been contacted by three different business people who want to locate their business in Dayton- but are having a super difficult time. Somehow, this says to me that maybe the answer is it’s time to hire more snow plow drivers and fire all the planners, zoning people and especially economic development people- at least until they figure out how to be more customer friendly and flexible.

If nothing else, maybe it’s time to hire an ombudsman that will champion new business through the maze. Or, to have the city manager start giving reports to the commission every week on every contact for permits- and explain why they aren’t being issued.

We can’t afford to drive anymore business away. We can’t afford more bad service.

It’s costing us all a lot more than we think.

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