Dayton Together, a non-profit corporation, has launched an initiative to propose meaningful changes to the structure of our local government. Dayton Together believes Montgomery County’s recent economic successes, including Fuyao, General Electric’s Research Center and Procter & Gamble, afford an exciting opportunity to ask the question, “What can local governments in Montgomery County do the enhance and accelerate prosperity in the region?”
Using Louisville, Kentucky’s metro government as a model, the group will work to create a Montgomery County Charter and propose a ballot initiative to combine the City of Dayton and Montgomery County into a single metro government.
“The ultimate decision-making power rests with the people,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley, also a member of Dayton Together’s steering committee. “There will be no change unless the majority of voters approve it.”
“This initiative responds to the growing realization that our County has been in continual economic decline for the past several decades with the major loss of jobs with livable wages,” said Bro. Raymond Fitz, S.M., former president of the University of Dayton and member of the Dayton Together steering committee. “This lack of good jobs has been a major roadblock to our families and young people.”
“The current county structure, comprised of 28 separate local governmental entities, is too fragmented to address and respond to our challenges and opportunities,” said Commissioner Foley. “It’s time to harness our talent for innovation and reinvent how we deliver local governmental services.”
Dayton Together studied broader use of shared services agreements, formation of a Council of Governments, and tax sharing agreements but concluded a unified governmental structure was needed to fully achieve needed improvements. “These types of agreements are valuable and are being used in our region already,” said the Honorable Walter H. Rice, U.S. District Court Judge and member of Dayton Together’s steering committee. “But we believe that they are not sufficiently comprehensive to solve our challenges. More dynamic change is necessary.”
Dayton Together has begun work through two committees to develop a proposed charter for the Dayton-Montgomery County Metro Government. The charter will allow for additional communities to participate in the future. A Charter Development Committee comprised of a diverse group of 15-20 people will lead the drafting effort with the support of a larger Charter Advisory Committee offering feedback and advice. Meetings excepting work sessions will be open to the public, and input will be sought.
The Charter Development Committee is co-chaired by Paul Leonard, former Dayton Mayor and Lieutenant Governor, and Commissioner Dan Foley. Brother Ray will chair the Charter Advisory Committee.
“The proposed reforms reflected in the new County charter will improve our county-wide performance in attracting, retaining and growing jobs, responding to community-wide challenges, and capitalizing on opportunities,” said Phil Parker, President and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and a Dayton Together steering committee member. “The reforms will free up and align resources for more effective investment in infrastructure and development initiatives, as well as increase our community’s visibility, voice and clout as we work to attract and retain both people and jobs.”
“As we look to the future of our communities, we know there is support for this type of bold, innovative measure,” said Judge Rice. We must reverse the declining trends in our county. We may not create a perfect government, but we can make improvements that will set the stage for success.”
For more information: www.daytontogether.com