The real costs of our local government

Regular readers will know this subject is nothing new- we’ve got too many chiefs for a shrinking number of Indians. Not only that, but the Indians aren’t getting enough work since paying for all those chiefs costs business a bit more than it does in other states. But, it’s not just a matter of too many chiefs, it’s a question of are any of them any good?

If they want to keep trying to work with the system we have, the answer is simple: Nope, none of them are worth even the time it would take to think about recalling them (another issue in Ohio is it is almost impossible to depose anyone- no matter how incompetent). Of course, no one listens to local logic- nope, we have to wait for some out of town consulting firm or thinktank to tell us the obvious (in this case it’s the Brookings Institute):

School districts are not the only thing Ohio has in spades. It also has some 3,800 local government units, including 250 cities, 695 villages and 1,308 townships. The result is that “total local government payroll in Ohio is 10 percent above the national average and 17.5 percent above the peer state average,” according to Brookings.

None of this government is free, which leads to another finding: Ohio residents have the ninth-highest local tax burden in the country, compared with the 34th highest for state taxes. To know that fact is to understand that concentrating all the political fights about taxes in Columbus — as if state taxes alone define our competitiveness — is missing a big cost of doing business and living in Ohio.

via Editorial: Ohio’s rebound depends on cities | A Matter of Opinion.

But then again, even with reducing the numbers of fiefdoms, we’d still have to have someone to run the show. In Montgomery County, that job falls to Deborah “Teflon” Feldman, our County Administrator. She’s the “CEO” of the County- one that’s been hemorrhaging jobs and property value over the last 15 years. Of course, no one wants to blame Deborah, because she’s so good at what she does- mainly, keep the County Government out of the limelight and letting the city of Dayton sink or swim on its own. Not her problem- and not one she wants to take on. Of course, the problems she faces seem to get to be someone else’s fault every time- the buck never stops with her. Read what the DDN editorial written by her friend Ellen Belcher says:

Lesser embarrassments have cost people their jobs. But no one in high places is pointing a finger at Deborah Feldman, Montgomery County administrator. In fact, quite the opposite, they defend her fiercely and say they’re heartsick that she’s had to do most of the explaining publicly for the SCLC debacle.

The support for her stems from history, relationships and capital built up over almost 30 years.

via Ellen Belcher: County’s Feldman will weather SCLC storm | A Matter of Opinion.

Of late, even though we seem to have a bi-monthly scandal, no one wants to look at the top. The SCLC getting handed Federal funds without follow up, the Sheriff and his sister, the 911 dispatch system, the attempt to sneak in a vote to raise the hotel/motel tax to pay for a hockey arena at Austin Road, the big donation to the Dayton Development Coalition so that it could hire Congressman Turner’s wife on a no-bid contract- nothing seems to stick to her or her very slick aide de camp, County Economic Development Director Joe Tuss. No one is asking the hard questions about how this brilliant ED/GE fund is working at turning our community around. Nope, none of it is her fault, although she’s the second highest paid public employee in the County (after Dr. Stephen Johnson at Sinclair).

I’d still like to see an investigation into how the City of Dayton bought the old Sears building downtown from an investment group including Feldman’s husband and father in law at an enormous premium to put up the Riverscape fountains (and btw- how did that work out for us?).

The Dayton Grassroots Daily Show discusses both of these editorials and hopes that after reading and watching this- you have questions of your own.

Enjoy:

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!