Remote work could hurt city budgets

DAYTON — Ohio’s cities and towns are digging out of budget crunches due to COVID-19, some of which say could last several years.

Roughly four out of five cities and towns across the state will lose tax income this year due to the switch to working from home. Dayton appears to be one of the cities impacted the most by this.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said cities like Dayton got through the work from home COVID-19 crisis with a temporary tax relief from state lawmakers and federal contributors, but those will not be long-term fixes or help to fill empty buildings.

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“Its going to impact Kettering [and] Dayton. Its going to impact Springfield [and] Centerville,” Whaley said, noting that large cities will not be the only ones impacted by remote workers.

Keary McCarthy, of the Ohio Mayors Alliance, told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell that remote work is not going away.

“The biggest takeaway was that remote work is here to stay and it could impact one third of the workforce,” McCarthy said.

The Ohio Mayors Alliance studied the impact of working from home on Ohio’s 30 largest cities. The study showed that the top 10 cities across the state, such as Toledo, were only projected to lose six percent of their tax income. That number increases to 10.5 percent for Springfield and 12 percent for Kettering, Columbus and Cincinnati. In Dayton, though, the potential loss of tax income rises to 17 percent.

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Whaley said the loss could impact city services like police, fire, water and trash pick-up.

Additionally, Whaley said that downtown vacancies could get worse in cities across the state, with more employees working from home and cities not doing anything to invest in bringing new companies in without guarantees their employees would work and pay taxed there.

“The reason cities invest in economic development is because it brings in tax revenue,” Whaley said.