Dunwoody News Alert

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Citizens for Dunwoody presents case for City of Dunwoody

Dunwoody Crier, Front, 11/14/06, by Dick Williams

DeKalb commission condemns city of Dunwoody

From the story:
The Citizens for Dunwoody, led by Ken Wright, a past president of the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association, made its presentation to about 100 area residents Sunday evening. The detailed presentation - reflecting legislation being drafted for the 2007 General Assembly - showed that under different scenarios, a city of Dunwoody could operate at a surplus of $4.7 million or a deficit of up to $2.29 million.

The proposed city charter would cap the millage rate at one mill above the current rate. That one mill tax increase would generate $2.1 million. Any further tax increase proposals over the first three years of the new city would require a referendum.

“Our research does suggest,” said Wright, “that a tax increase might be necessary.”

He explained that a one-mill tax increase would mean additional $40 for each $100,000 of a home’s appraised value. For a house appraised by DeKalb County at $300,000, the additional tax would be $120.
What the commission thinks didn’t seem a great concern to people at the City of Dunwoody meeting Sunday at Dunwoody Baptist Church.

Ken Anderson said his wife’s family moved to Dunwoody in 1829.

“What has taken place in DeKalb County over the last several years has been a travesty,” he said, referring to public corruption and to the stewardship of chief executive Vernon Jones. “More power to your group and hurry every chance you get.”

Wright’s report and a panel discussion by other board members covered the reasons for incorporation, the benefits and risks, the final map that will be submitted to the General Assembly and estimated revenues and expenses (read the full presentation at www.citizensfordunwoody.org).

The citizens’ group proposes that a city of Dunwoody provide building inspections, code enforcement, police, a municipal court, parks and recreation, permits, roads and drainage, traffic enforcement and zoning and land use.

It proposes that DeKalb continue to provide fire and 911 emergency service, garbage and sanitation, health services, the jail and sheriff, libraries and water and sewer.

Since school boards are independent from the county, Dunwoody schools would remain under the DeKalb Board of Education.

The group’s analysis points to a net loss to the county of $4.1 million a year in revenue. County officials have put that amount much higher. Dunwoody residents would continue to be responsible for the bond issues in place, but a future city could decide whether to participate in future county bond programs.

“We are 11 percent to 12 percent of the county budget,” said Robert Wittenstein, the group’s chief information researcher, “and we are but 6 percent to 7 percent of the population.”

Wright pointed out that if the General Assembly and approves a referendum, perhaps as early as June next year, and if the city were approved by voters, it could begin operations as early as late December of next year.

Oliver Porter, the former interim city manager of Sandy Springs and the man credited with the city’s nimble start from scratch, also addressed the gathering.

“I’ve been involved in every new city that’s been created in Georgia in the last three years,” he said, “and this was the best exposition or explanation of any of them.”


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