Thursday, January 31, 2008
City of Dunwoody referendum defeated in committee
For several years, many Dunwoody residents including myself have worked on the effort to examine if Dunwoody should become a city. Two months ago, acting not as President of the Dunwoody North Civic Association but as an individual Dunwoody resident, I officially joined the Board of Directors of the Citizens for Dunwoody. The Dunwoody North Civic Association has the duty to keep you informed on issues affecting this neighborhood yet its policy is to not take a political stand on highly political issues such as this. We are here merely to provide information and that was the reason that the DNCA board as a whole decided to incorporate a flyer from the Citizens for Dunwoody in our last newsletter. (We received a complaint that we were being biased in our delivery of the information.)
This afternoon, the House of Representatives Government Affairs Committee held a two-hour meeting to discuss and vote on Dunwoody’s request to hold a referendum on incorporation.
Fran Millar re-introduced the legislation passed by the committee last year and described the results of the updated CVI study. DeKalb County Finance director Michael Bell spoke against the bill as did several legislators from DeKalb County. Commissioner Kathie Gannon (whose district includes Dunwoody) also spoke against the bill.
Surprisingly, the Democratic opponents of the bill were quiet throughout the proceedings. The only hostility was from Jill Chambers, a Republican legislator whose home is in Dunwoody North and whose legislative district includes a small corner of Dunwoody. She challenged the CVI study, raised the fear of law suits from the county and repeatedly attempted to raise uncertainty and doubt that the new city would face unforeseen obstacles. Despite repeated assurances before the meeting that she would support the bill to allow Dunwoody citizens to vote on incorporation she voted with the opponents of the bill. As a result, the Dunwoody referendum was defeated in the committee by a single vote.
What is next? Unless some un-foreseen turn of events occurs, the legislation to allow Dunwoody residents to vote on incorporation is dead for this year. It will need to be re-introduced next year and start the process over from the beginning as new legislation.