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Dayton leaders tout financial stability and civic unity

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    City of Dayton staff members were on hand to support Mayor Martin Mudd and City Manager Kimberly Judge at the State of the City Address hosted by the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. The Vindicator | Russell Payne
  • Article Image Alt Text
    Dayton Mayor Martin Mudd delivers remarks in his State of the City Address at Tuesday’s Dayton Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Mudd hopes to see a unified city as the community grows. The Vindicator | Russell Payne
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    Dayton City Manager offered positive remarks and updated the city’s financial standing. The Vindicator | Russell Payne

DAYTON — The community gathered Tuesday for the first Dayton Chamber of Commerce Luncheon of 2024 and the annual State of the City Address.

The annual event features the mayor and city manager as they give an update on where the city stands and where they hope to go.

City Manager Kimberly Judge addressed some lingering issues about the city’s financial stability and clarified that Dayton was not now, nor was it ever, $5 million in debt, as she pledged to be more transparent with residents.

“A lot of folks are still thinking Dayton is in a hole. Dayton is not in a hole,” Judge said.

She explained that previous information on Dayton’s financial woes failed to show that the issue resulted from financial shortages on the utility side, prompting the city to reallocate general funds to make up for lost revenue. In recent years, the city increased water and sewer rates, creating an influx of funds that alleviated the general fund.

“Utilities need to pay for utilities. When utilities are able to pay for themselves now at the city, we’re able to take care of other needs like our infrastructure,” Judge said.

According to Judge, in recent months, city leaders have been able to allocate more funding to infrastructure, pointing to $400,000 dedicated to new road projects.

“We’re in a good place right now,” Judge said.

The address was the first for Mayor Martin Mudd, who was elected by the voters last May, and in his address, he hammered home unity to the audience, asking the community to find common ground.

“Today, I want to talk to everyone about something that’s kind of cliche, but I think it’s more important than anything else right now, and that’s the unity of our city,” Mudd said.

Mudd spoke about the city’s diversity and people and how it can become stronger and more resilient than ever before, building relationships that foster a united community.

“2024, we are going to start fresh and start new and come together under one moniker, and that is we’re going to be the best city that we can possibly be,” Mudd said.

Mudd spoke about times of economic uncertainty facing everyone, but that if the community comes together, it will overcome all obstacles.

“Unity doesn’t mean that we’re going to agree on everything. I’m sure there are some people in this room who are not going to agree with everything I have to say. Namely, probably my wife,” Mudd quipped.

The first term Mayor encouraged everyone to come together and find common ground and work to build bridges, especially with new arrivals to Dayton.

“Let’s reach out and become more neighborly than we ever have before. Let’s foster that culture of community more than we ever have before,” Mudd said, “We need to be united.”

Mudd hopes that Dayton will be known as a community that surrounding towns hope to emulate.

Judge echoed Mudd’s statements about unity in the city and relationships that are being formed with residents.

“We want to continue to establish those great relationships with our community,” Judge said.

She also mentioned the partnerships with organizations like the chamber, Liberty County, Dayton ISD and other community groups.

“Anything the city of Dayton can do for you, just give us a call, send us an email, we’ll be there to help,” Judge concluded.

Mudd and Judge are inviting the public to join them on Friday, April 5, at 7:30 a.m. for the first Coffee and Donuts with the Mayor at the Dayton Community Center.