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Dayton Launches Business Support Program; City Councilwoman Resigns

The City of Dayton is launching a new business support program boosted by federal funds awarded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The new program launches amid a shake-up at the city building.

City councilwoman Tammy Cornett announced Tuesday, hours before the city council meeting, that she had resigned, effective immediately. She did not provide specific reasons in a Facebook post announcing her decision.

Cornett's decision follows the departure of City Administrator Michael Giffen who accepted the same role at the City of Highland Heights, and City Attorney Tom Edge who departed for a legal job with the Northern Kentucky Water District.

Jay Fossett, the former Covington city manager and current partner at public and government relations firm Strategic Advisers, is serving as interim city administrator while Alex Edmondson, a former Covington city commissioner and current attorney at the Campbell County Attorney's Office, is serving as interim city attorney.

Mayor Ben Baker said that the city is working with the Northern Kentucky Area Development District (NKADD) in finding its next city administrator.

"We have received numerous - I don't want to put a number out there - resumes from many qualified candidates to fill that role," Baker said. "In the coming weeks we'll be meeting with those candidates to have job interviews, background checks, and work with NKADD to find the right candidate to lead the ship for the City of Dayton.

"We have some great candidates looking for this role. It's very exciting."

Baker will serve on the search committee with council members Jeff Volter, Scott Beseler, and Beth Nyman, as well as Fossett.

Cornett will be replaced by a candidate who is voted on by the council within thirty days of the acceptance of her resignation, or the task falls to Governor Andy Beshear.

Meanwhile, the city's economic development director, Robert Yoder, explained the forthcoming support program for the city's businesses.

The city received $126,000 in funding to support the program, $40,000 of which will be designated for $1,000 grants for businesses. Qualifying business simply need to fill out the required application and provide the necessary information in order to receive a share of that pot. 

Yoder said that originally the plan was to have two levels of grant funding available in amounts of $2,500 and $500 before settling on $1,000 across the board.

"That simplified things a lot," he said. 

Nonprofits based in Dayton can also apply, Yoder said. The only ineligible businesses are those that are publicly traded or those whose valid occupational license was obtained after July 1, 2020.

That program begins February 8 with a deadline of March 1.

An additional $15,000 is being used to support a Dayton Dining Dollars program. Each household in the city will receive a $5 voucher to be used at participating Dayton restaurants.

The postcard received simply needs to be brought to a participating establishment to be redeemed.

Yoder said that he expects about 20% participation.

"If we get above 20% participation, that's great for our businesses. That means they earn more money, they get more customers going in," he said. Yoder said that he expects most of the activity in the first month following residents' receipt of the vouchers.

The postcards should be sent out soon.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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