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Police, fire service in question as Dayton City Commission fails to pass 2023 budget

DAYTON — The fate of city services is in question after the Dayton City Commission failed to pass the 2023 budget at a meeting Wednesday night.

Wednesday’s commission agenda included emergency legislation that would’ve approved the city manager’s 2023 recommended budget, which they had spent the last several months working on.

During the meeting, Commissioners Darryl Fairchild and Shenise Turner-Sloss said they would be abstaining from voting for the emergency legislation.

>> RELATED: City commissioners release statement after abstaining from budget vote

Turner-Sloss said she would like to see some more “policy-based budget that encourages public participation.”

Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims asked both commissioners why their concerns were not raised prior to the meeting. Turner-Sloss claimed to have previously raise her concerns on multiple occasions.

“These questions and concerns in elements of the budgets have been raised. I sent emails and we also had a meeting on the 30th of November in which my concerns were raised at that time,” she said.

Fairchild said he felt the priorities that he brought up in a budget input session were not reflected in the current budget.

Mims then laid out what he claims not voting on the budget would mean for the city.

“A no vote means your trash will not be picked up. A no vote means there will be no pay for employees. A no vote means that no sort service will be conducted out of Dayton airport. A no vote means there will be no fire or police. A no vote means there will also be no health insurance for our employees and their family members,” Mims said.

Commissioner Chris Shaw accused his two colleagues of trying to score points by abstaining from the vote.

“These ridiculous stunts, and that’s what this is, it’s theater,” Shaw said.

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On Thursday, Mims, Shaw and Commission Matt Joseph addressed the failure to pass the budget.

Shaw and Mims said they were “blindsided” when Fairchild and Turner-Sloss said they would not support the budget. Since it was an emergency ordinance, it required four out of five votes to take effect immediately. It would take 30 days to go into effect with a simple majority vote.

“So even if the two of us and Mayor Mims pass it with three votes, that still leaves us to probably January 9, 10 or 11 until we can actually start spending money,” Joseph said.

Mims that there was no indication that there would be a opposition to the budget. He also claimed that Fairchild and Turner-Sloss declined an invitation last to stay, reconsider their decision and find a solution.

“It’s reckless, irresponsible and negligent behavior on behalf of commissioners Turner-Sloss and Fairchild with regards to this dangerous game,” Mims said.

If a budget is not approved between now and the end of the year, the City of Dayton would be forced to shut down on January 1. If an agreement is not reached, this would be the first time that the City of Dayton would possibly shut down.

“This has never happened before, to my knowledge, in the City of Dayton. It puts us in uncharted waters into how we will navigate through this,” Mims said.

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On Thursday, Joseph called his fellow commissioners’ decision to not vote “pointless” and “irresponsible.” He also said a possible shutdown would be dangerous for the community.

“This could and will result in serious injury or death,” Joseph said.

Joseph said that if the commission can get the budget approved next Wednesday, they feel confident that a shutdown will be avoided.