Published August 25, 2008
The goal of regionalization is to draw population back to the core. Cities, not suburbs, are best equipped to support masses of people. Look at a map; see the urban core from which satellite suburbs branching out. The very etymology of suburb from seventeenth-century London suggested detached areas of "inferior, debased, and licentious habits or life."
Of course, I'm being needlessly and satirically provocative. I grew up in Plano, Texas, which was once the country's heroin capital. It was neither less nor more virtuous than its urban core of Dallas, but as a matter of sustainability—and particularly in today's energy-starved world—it's critical to the efficiency of the area that its people have access to mass transit and other public services, along with redevelopment of the region's core.
Here in the Mahoning Valley, we have nowhere near the density of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. This means our needs for regionalization are far greater, not lesser. We must pool our resources, reduce our overhead, and level the disparities across neighboring localities to revenue generation.
The "Regional Economic Revenue Study" for Northeast Ohio, Phase I, available at http://www.revenuestudy.org, has drawn the following conclusions from its research:
This does not suggest that existing governments should be consolidated or replaced. The purpose is to "identify a revenue sharing model for Northeast Ohio":
Here are some successful models for regional revenue sharing (from revenuesharing.org):
Twin Cities Fiscal Disparity Program: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Allegheny Regional Asset District: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Region
Montgomery County ED/GE Program: Dayton, Ohio Region
Mayor Williams has openly stated that he's interested in any mechanism that will advance this goal. If it's not JEDD, what is it? But there must be dialog, and there must be a framework in place for the shared prosperity of area by some means.
Here are some resources to use in the pursuit and support of regionalization, as provided on a handout Monday night at the Unitarian Universalist Church's Arts and Lecture Series, where Mayor Jay Williams, Mayor Mike Lyons of the Village of Richfield, Mahoning River Redevelopment Director Dan Mamula, Governor Strickland’s regional representative Arne Clebone and Youngstown's regional revenue sharing director, Sarah Lown spoke:
One word to local politicians: you are not required to talk to the media about an issue before you've had a chance to speak with other parties involved. This is how misunderstandings take root and issues become intractable. The next time Mayor Williams or Mr. Ungaro gets a call from The Vindicator or other media organization before he's had a chance to speak with each other about the Wal-Mart project, I hope he'll say, "You know, I don't have a comment for you yet, I haven't had a chance to speak with all the parties involved. Once I do, I'll be happy to get you up to speed." Playing everything out in the media before it's been worked out in person is a sure way to bruise egos and entrench stances.
Have a topic you'd like to read about? Or just want to give your feedback? E-mail me at reason -at- tylersclark.com