The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
the Times 

Dayton terminates county planning and compliance contracts

City hopes to take lead on urban growth

 


DAYTON—The Dayton City Council voted last week to terminate interlocal agreements with the county for Planning Department and Code Compliance Services.

City Administrator Trina Cole said the reason behind last week’s decision is so the city can hire a full-time planner to focus on growing the city and increasing the tax base.

Mayor Zac Weatherford noted that when the City initially contracted with the County for services, the County had three full-time planners. They now have one planner that is providing all services for both the City and the County.

The importance of increasing the tax base can’t be ignored, said Councilman Dain Nysoe.

“Our tax base is diminishing and yet the services the city is required to provide to the citizens keeps going up. So, at some point in time, you are going to end up having people move out of Dayton because the tax that we are charging to provide those services is going to be extremely high. The only solution to that is to cut back on the services the city provides, which I don’t think the citizens of Dayton want to see, or we become proactive trying to bring people into Dayton, to build homes that will increase that tax base.”

“We think the county has done a great service for the community. There’s no doubt about it, but it’s a fifty-percent service and you have heard Meagan (Bailey) talk a lot today about the Comprehensive Plan and direction the city is needing to go, that we really haven’t had a lot of vision about. Our growth is lacking,” Cole said.

Since the 2010 census Dayton has lost fifty people in the county. By 2025 it will be roughly 150 people, which represents a huge loss to the county, she said.

Cole said many organizations want to see an active business presence on Main Street. The only way we are going to get businesses on Main Street is growth,” Cole said.

The city is currently providing about $87,000, annually, for Planning Department Services and Code Compliance Services. Cole said it would cost the city very little more to hire someone to do both jobs. She estimated the cost of salary and benefits for a full-time planner at around $108,000.

She said the City is required to provide the County with sixty days notification, after which the city will begin searching for the “right” person for the job. If necessary, the city could contract for services with a private individual, until the “right” person can be hired, Cole said.

The City and County entered into interlocal agreements for Planning Department Services and Code Compliance Services in Jan. 2018, and in Sept. 2018, respectively.

 

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