Local mayors focused on stimulating economic development and bringing more jobs to the Dayton area during an inaugural Mayors Advisory Council meeting with U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton on Monday.
Turner met for an hour Monday morning at the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce with mayors from Montgomery and Greene counties to talk about the challenges communities face and what to expect in the future.
“Economic development is incredibly important,” Turner said. “Raising the minimum wage will be an important debate over the next year. How do we get the economy moving? We’ll wait and see as the President puts forward his proposal. But we’ve got to get the economy moving again.”
Each mayor in attendance had a turn during the roundtable discussion to share their concerns.
Those concerns ranged from WPAFB; the value of U.S. 35; the affects of this winter’s weather on infrastructure; the area’s higher education institutions; and the recent announcement by Fuyao Glass, which is expected to bring 800 new jobs to the former General Motors plant in Moraine.
Beavercreek Mayor Brian Jarvis — who was named co-chair of the council with Miamisburg Mayor Dick Church — said that the region’s infrastructure and growth are directly tied to WPAFB.
“What happens at the base impacts us greatly,” Jarvis said.
The area’s roadways have taken a hit this winter, the mayors said. Kettering Mayor Don Patterson said poor streets are a turn off for companies looking to relocate to a new city or stay in their current location in that respective city.
Kettering announced last week that it will be spending $400,000 on three emergency road projects later this year.
“If you didn’t have road problems before this winter, you sure have problems after this winter,” Patterson said. “Congress needs to do something with the Highway Trust Fund to get us on a level playing field and take care of us.”
The mayors were in consensus that Fuyao’s impact will extend beyond Moraine.
“Manufacturing is a key piece not only for Dayton, but for the whole region,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said. “Frankly, if we don’t make things in Dayton, we cease to exist.”
The repurposing of the former GM plant — rather than demolishing the building — is a sign that Dayton is still positively viewed in the manufacturing industry, Turner said.
“We have a great workforce and a trained workforce that’s readily available,” he said. “We have the infrastructure and educational institutions where job training is available. It’s a place that’s job ready.”
Turner represents the 10th Congressional District, which is Greene County, Montgomery County and the northern half of Fayette County. He said he’d like the council to meet again in June or July to follow up on the issues discussed.