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Dayton Debates Property Tax, Changes Traffic on Part of Berry

The City of Dayton is debating its tax rates.

On Tuesday night, the city council discussed the first reading of its tax ordinance which would set the rate for real property at 0.495 percent per hundred dollars of value, 0.5009 percent per hundred dollars of value for automobile, and 0.713 percent per hundred dollars of value for all other property. The city's proposed ordinance would take 0.05 percent of the property tax collected and direct it towards park maintenance and construction. The rest of the taxes collected would go to the general fund.

The ordinance will receive a vote at a second meeting later this month. Councilman Joe Neary suggested that the city should consider a reduction in its property taxes instead.

"I hear from real estate agents all the time that property taxes are a real issue," Neary said. He argued that taxes went up as property values fell in the city, but now Dayton is seeing its property value increase and he said the need for a property tax increase is not as evident as it had been in the past. "The best advertising we can get is to lower our tax rate."

Neary will be unable to attend the city council's second meeting this month, which means his request would have to be taken up by other members if they wish to proceed with it. 

City Administrator Michael Giffen showed numbers from the past ten years that detailed Dayton's property tax rate fluctuation. The rate has recently been as low as 0.368 per hundred dollars value in 2008 as the recession was taking hold, and has steadily increased since. For the past three years the rate was 0.445 with a 0.05 allocation for parks.

The city council also approved by a 3-2 vote, changing the one-way portion of Berry Street to two-way traffic between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, and to eliminate parking on side of the street from Sixth to the alley between Sixth and Seventh. Council members Joe Neary, Joey Tucker, and Bill Burns voted in favor, while members Denny Lynn and Jerry Gifford opposed the decision. Ben Baker was not present.

The city will also allocate $6,000 for the replacement of two catch basins on Ervin Terrace in an effort to alleviate some of the flooding concerns.

Police Chief David Halfhill encouraged residents to consider enrollment in the Citizens Police Academy. Classes begin on September 20, and take place once a week for 2.5 hours. The application can be found here.

Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Berry Street (RCN)