Dayton Gets Real: Dayton looking to renew tax funding plan for housing improvements

DAYTON — Dayton City Commissioners want to take “Your Dollars, Your Neighborhood” money and use it for housing solutions.

This is just before they are preparing to ask voters to renew the eight-year-old tax funding plan.

Voters approved Issue 9 in 2016 which took 0.25% of income tax and put it toward improving Dayton neighborhoods.

“We saw Issue 9 as a sustainable source of funding for issues involving houses,” Destiny Brown said.

Brown is a community organizer for Advocates For Basic Legal Equality, focusing on housing issues.

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She is involved with the newly formed tenants union.

They are pushing for people’s rights to stable and safe housing.

“A lot of it was mold or landlord-tenant power dynamics or evictions,” Brown said.

The tenant’s union believes the city should be concerned about fair housing for all residents and seized on Issue 9 as a vehicle to do that.

But the .25% of income tax approved by voters in 2016 did not cover that.

It was marked for preschool, paving city roads, mowing vacant lawns, and safety services.

City leaders said the items on Issue 9′s initial funding needed to be protected.

“We don’t get other people’s money to do neighborhood streets, state of federal, like we get for housing, so it’s a balance,” Shelley Dickstein, Dayton City Manager said.

“We can’t just find money sitting on a shelf,” Mayor Jeffrey Mims said.

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Mims showed News Center 7 the buckets currently funded by Issue 9 and their funding levels.

After a week of discussion, commissioners agreed to add one new bucket to the tax renewal to go to voters next March, $650,000 a year will go to housing initiatives.

“They’re comfortable with it only if it doesn’t take away from some of the things we have going,” Mims said.

“It provides vital services like tenants having the right to an attorney,” Brown said.

Brown said this is not $2 million a year but it is a start.

She said spending taxpayer dollars on housing saves problems down the road.

“It shows itself in other expenses for taxpayers,” she said.

The final approval for this revamped Issue 9 is expected to happen at a Dayton City Commission this Wednesday.

Voters are expected to get a chance to voice their opinion in March of next year.

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