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Published: Monday, May 09, 2016 @ 5:45 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 @ 10:47 AM
DAYTON — UPDATE @ 10:43 a.m. (May 11)
The Dayton City Commission’s decision to annex land in Bath Twp. in Greene County was done primarily to block a proposal to merge the city and Montgomery County, according to Mayor Nan Whaley.
Members of the Dayton Together group said Tuesday they were withdrawing the proposal because it became legally unfeasible after the city’s annexation of 25 acres located in Greene County.
Merging cities that cross multiple county boundaries is complicated and difficult under state law.
Mayor Whaley said the city annexed the land to protect the water system and because it would impede consolidation efforts.
UPDATE @ 6:56 p.m. (May 10)
Dayton Together — a group that supported merging city of Dayton and Montgomery County governments and services —withdrew its proposal Tuesday evening, citing a formidable legal obstacle.
The city recently annexed land in Greene county, and the group said the law would make consolidating the governments practically impossible.
The announcement came one day after opponents of the merger held a second town hall meeting that drew a couple hundred visitors and featured impassioned arguments from community and elected leaders.
The second town hall meeting on the city-county merger proposal, organized by opponents of the move, drew a crowd estimated at 200 and featured impassioned arguments from elected leaders Monday night.
Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge criticized the consolidation proposal of her colleague, Commissioner Dan Foley, saying it is unrealistic in large part because the jurisdictions have different functions and provide different services.
Foley is a member of Dayton Together, which is drafting a charter ballot that outlines how the jurisdictions could be combined.
“The county is a good partner with our local jurisdictions and collaborates in a variety of ways whenever possible,” she said.
Dodge was one of seven panelists who spoke out against the proposed merger. Other panelists included Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, the heads of both county political parties, NAACP Dayton Unit President Derrick Foward and Tom Richie, president of Dayton AFL-CIO Labor Council.
The town hall was held at Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, on Hoover Avenue.
Two audience members asked Foley to respond to specific concerns raised by speakers, including the decision not to involve the school districts and the potential for minority disenfranchisement.
But Foley was not given an opportunity to speak. Afterward, he told this new organization that, “I’m just here to listen.”
Foley said Dayton Together is working on this issue for the right reasons, including growing the economy and more effectively solving human services issues by bringing more people around the same table.
The AFL-CIO’s Richie said Dayton Together marched ahead with drafting a charter without gathering input from relevant stakeholders.
He said he asked Foley to postpone the news conference announcing the merger idea until more people provided input.
“I don’t believe it would be fair for these folks to work and build and come to this and invite him after he refused to invite us after some of us asked him to include us,” Richie said.
David Esrati, a former Dayton City Commission candidate, was escorted out of the church after yelling an obscenity after his microphone was cut off as he spoke during a question-and-answer period of the event.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
Another meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, June 6, at St. Margaret Episcopal Church, 5301 Free Pike.