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Tax more or spend less? Introducing Reconstructing Dayton

Reconstructing Dayton logo [1]I’ve mentioned Reconstructing Dayton a few times before on this site [2]. As of this writing, it has exactly 4 posts.

That will probably change now. Today, at the County meeting at 6pm to discuss the .25% sales tax increase, we’ll have a frank talk about the absurdity of all these local banana republics masquerading as cities, villages, townships- and sucking money out of all of our pockets for no good reason.

We have too many governments in Montgomery County. We have too many City Managers, economic development directors, police chiefs, municipal courts, street maintenance supervisors, you name it. And I’m not even going near the multitude of school districts, school boards and the mysterious Montgomery County Educational Service Center.

On top of that- we have tax levies coming out the wazoo. Two levies each for Human Services and Sinclair. Metroparks, the Library, local schools, it all adds up to paying for bureaucrats in triplicate.

If you’ve wondered why there hasn’t been much on Esrati.com for the last two weeks, it’s because we’ve been working away on www.reconstructingdayton.org [1] where we’re working on identifying the costs and overhead caused by bureaucratic bloat. We’ve got someone working 20 hours a week, gathering data, tax rates, names of those in power, copies of contracts, annual billing statements, population of each subdivision- and working on creating a datamap of how much this insanity is costing us, the overtaxed minions of Montgomery County.

It’s set up as a 501(c)(4) so we can run informational ads at election time, telling voters which politicians actually will give support to working on ways to reduce the redundancy and cut costs- so a sales tax increase won’t be necessary. Because, if you understand the nature of sales tax- it’s a regressive tax that costs those with the least disposable income, the greatest percentage of their paycheck.

What would make more sense? A whole bunch of things. A flat income tax for all of Montgomery County, no matter where you live- township, city, village or under a bridge. Then, dole it out to each real jurisdiction, based on efficiency of delivering services. Take your payroll, divide it by people per square mile- or some such formula. Businesses wouldn’t have to spend a fortune trying to track payroll deductions- and employees wouldn’t be penalized for living in Brookville and working in Dayton (currently, they are paying 3.5% income tax- because Dayton raised theirs last year to 2.5% and Brookville stopped forgiving it all- and said you’ll pay 1% no matter where you work).

My first suggestion is to force Moraine to merge with someone. Anyone. Kettering should be their logical partner since their schools are merged. Jefferson Township schools- should become part of Valleyview or Dayton- or Trotwood, take your pick (if you’re smart- Valleyview), 340 students does not a district make.

In the meantime- pulling all this data together, building the databases and entering the data, will cost money. If you’re sick of taxes going up and government delivering less. Or if the battle of tax breaks to lure businesses from one municipality to another is leaving you as the last man standing with a tax bill (because you’re not GE), we’re here for you. Please consider making a donation to Reconstructing Dayton [3]. Every little bit helps. We’ll also be looking for volunteers to help with data entry sprints and research. So please go and sign up for updates.

How many municipal courts and websites do we need [4]?


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What you propose, David, makes all the sense in the world to me. But, alas, it will never come to fruition in my lifetime for one simple reason: No one, in what they perceive to be a position of power, is going to relinquish that power. Everyone involved wants to be that “big fish” no matter what size the pond.


Valley View schools will NEVER allow a “merger” with Jefferson Twp. Their “public” argument would be related to academic scores and how it will impact them (negatively).

Alex Smith

I think much of this is agreeable to strive for. I think most urbanists and proponents of downtowns would argue that lack of regional government is a problem. OTOH honest questions arise when discussing this I’m not sure there are answers for.

We already have a segregation and schools problem that are closely tied together (despite the DPS dumpster fire) in a 40% black city. As a region and still much of downtown, we are slowly trying to reign in 60s urban renewal that began centering on the car and tearing down historic structures. A regional government vastly dilutes these voices.

Would suburban voters want to help erase the systemic issues that created west dayton? Will suburban voters embrace walkability, or complain that 30 mph traffic is too slow and we need 5 lanes? We can talk about DDN building or the Arcade all day, but would the constituency of a regional government want them saved?

Obviously there is no perfect solution, but these are all top issues that need a lot of thought when discussing regionalism.