Hundreds of people gathered on Monday night to discuss the Dayton Together Merger plan at a town hall meeting at Wayman Chapel AME Church on Hoover Avenue.
Panelists spoke in opposition to the plan, which would merge the governments of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County. Under the proposal, the government would be led by a council and one manager. A new mayor and 10 representatives would be selected by county voters using redrawn districts. School districts and other local governments in Montgomery County would not change.
Panelists, including the heads of both county political parties, the leader of the Dayton NAACP, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, said the plan would dilute black voting power and lead to a loss of Dayton citizen representation in government.
"This is an enormous issue and should not be taken lightly," said Whaley. "I don't know a community that would give up its right to self-governance, and the city of Dayton is not ready to relinquish that responsibility."
Whaley also said the county and city governments already work together on several initiatives.
The proposal would need voter approval. It’s not expected to appear on ballots until at least 2017.
This was the second meeting held to discuss the plan. The next meeting will be held on June 6 at St. Margaret Episcopal Church.