Tuesday, June 16, 2009

City Hall - Disinterested, Disfunctional or Disconnected?

Once again, I wonder just whose side City Hall is on. Because it certainly doesn’t seem to be on the side of its citizens very frequently. Allow me to explain…

Annually, Priority Boards are given funds from the city to host annual festivals for their regions throughout the city. However, in late January of this year, the Priority Board Chairpersons were informed that this year City Hall’s intention was for us to combine the $19,400 to hold a single large festival. Much to our dismay we were also informed that this decision had been made in September of 2008, yet they had waited almost 5 months to tell us.
We responded by arguing that, given the fast approach of summer, there was no way we would have time to coordinate such a large event. There was simply too much planning and organizing to be done in such a short period of time.

Hearing our resistance to the idea, they decided to consider the matter further, thus delaying a final decision.

To make things easier to track, I’ve created a timeline of the events;

March 4th - Due to the lack of a final decision, I attended a city commission meeting voicing my concern. After hearing my case, the mayor and commission agreed to divide the money equally among the priority boards to hold their festivals as they saw fit, as had been done in the past.

May 19th - I submitted the invoice necessary to acquire the funds. Upon submitting the invoice, I was told it would have to be approved AGAIN at the next city commission meeting on May 27th - This meeting was pushed back until June 3rd.
June 3rd - The funds were presumably approved. I attended that commission meeting. I thanked the commission for their cooperation. I recommended that if they want us to host a single festival in 2010 that they notify us within the next 30 days.

June 15th - Today I was informed that the funding MIGHT be processed within 7 to 10 business days. Since we are holding our Southeast festival on June 27th, this means that it is entirely possible that we won’t receive funding until several days AFTER our event.

Obviously, this presents a problem. After being assured of funding for our festival the first time, we booked all the necessary elements… entertainment, facilities, etc. Now, it seems as if the city may break its agreement, potentially leaving us high and dry.

Fortunately for Walnut hills and the Southeast Priority Board, I anticipated this situation months ago. Because of the solid residents of Southeast Priority board and Walnut Hills Neighborhood Association, we have money available to loan in advance for the festival to ensure its success, if needed.

However, the bigger picture here is what concerns me. I have to wonder, “if this is how City Hall treats its elected citizen representatives from neighborhood associations and priority boards over a measly $2,800, how do they treat local businesses that have nowhere near the voice in City Hall that we do?”

Considering this, I’m not surprised that NCR would cut communications nearly 2 years ago. Nor am I surprised by the flight of other business from Dayton. If City Hall is willing to be less than up front about small Priority Board festival grants, I wonder what they are going to do when it comes to tearing down houses with the "Neighborhood Stabilization Money" or proper allocation of the "Stimulus money" from our federal government. Since we can't get festival grants on time, it's no wonder you don't hear anything about citywide Wi Fi that was promised years ago. What's up with that?


AH (Dayton) said...

No wi-fi, but we have million dollar water cannons in the river. :eyes rolled:

padraig said...

the city wide wifi project evaporated when they (current mayor and city manager) fired the former ITS director.