Thursday, November 02, 2006

Special Investment Districts


I am looking into the details of establishing Walnut Hills as a “Special Investment District” or a “Community Investment District” after reading an article on page 180 of the October edition of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. From what I can tell, no one has attempted to establish a residential investment district in Dayton and possibly in Ohio. Downtown Dayton and Canton have Business Investment Districts and the Dayton one is affiliated with the Downtown Dayton Partnership.
Effectively, we agree to impose a special tax on ourselves. I am thinking along the lines of $50 per structure per year. The money is collected by the county as part of your real estate tax bill and put into its own separate fund. The money can ONLY be spent in Walnut Hills for the Walnut Hills community. It can be used to support the park, improve sidewalks and alleys and even for festivals within the neighborhood. I would like to find out if the money can be used to increase police presence and to demolish vacant nuisance structures. Although the city or county has custody of the funds, they do not decide how it is spent or who gets it. The residents have that authority through a board of trustees.
In order for the tax to take effect, a petition must be signed by 60% of the property owners within the proposed district agreeing to the tax. The tax is in effect for 5 years and to renew it the petition process must be repeated.
I don't have all the details yet and I am trying to get copies of the Downtown Dayton paperwork to use as a model. If we run with this concept it will still take two years before anything happens because real estate taxes are collected one year in arrears and it will take a few months to get the petition and paperwork finalized. Realize this, though, if there are 2000 structures in the neighborhood the tax would raise $100,000 that can only be spent in Walnut Hills. If you have attended the neighborhood meetings in the last few months then you would have heard me say on several occasions that the time has come where we have to take care of ourselves. The city does not have the money to support the services that they should provide and Walnut Hills is nowhere on their radar screen. Although it will cost all of us, this is one tool that we can use to make our neighborhood the best one in Dayton to live in. If we don't use it then we are paying a higher price individually through crime, vandalism and reduced property values. I would rather attempt this and fail, then not attempt it at all. We can blaze a trail for other neighborhoods to follow.


India and Ryan Hill said...

Excellent Idea! We are new to the Walnut Hills Community, but this is a great way to raise money for our community and to improve it. My husband and I fully Support!

Anonymous said...

That $50 annual increase in taxes represents $4.17 a month. Given that the funds would be used for improvements in our neighborhood, it sounds like a good plan on the surface. I would be interested to know more about how residents would be involved in giving the trustees input regarding how the funds are to be used.

Bottom line, if the plan came to fruition, residents would have a 5 year period to evaluate its success before it came to a vote again.