Tuesday, September 9, 2008

AJC - Dunwoody faces projected $2.3 million shortfall

The AJC; Tuesday, September 09

Georgia’s newest city will run in the red during its first year of operation, according to a new study by advocates of cityhood.

The Citizens for Dunwoody task force on administration and finance presented a cash flow analysis Monday that shows the city operations will cost about $2.3 million more than the city will take in from projected taxes and fees during its first year. The new city opens for business Dec. 1.

“I don’t want people to be alarmed to see a deficit, because it can easily be fixed and improved,” said Oliver Porter, a consultant who is helping the northern DeKalb city get off the ground.

The new city’s government can cut costs, officials said, by delaying some projects or by negotiating a less expensive contract with the management firm promoted by city advocates.

Various task forces have issued recommendations and reports on how to best provide services when Dunwoody begins operations. According to Citizens for Dunwoody’s projections, the disparity in the proposed city budget comes come from "revenue such as about $1 million from the Homestead Option Sales Tax and about $1.6 million in occupational tax revenue” that an earlier study had projected the city would collect. Now, city advocates don’t expect that money at least for the first year.

Sue Hansen, an accountant who co-chaired the committee, cautioned that the $14.7 million projected budget changed daily and that the figures were only a draft.

But she said the new council needed time to plan to make up for potential losses by negotiating further with the consulting firm CH2M Hill and making other policy decisions such as delaying road projects.

Voters will pick six city council members from 15 candidates next Tuesday.

It will be up to the council, many of whom are tied to Citizens for Dunwoody, whether to approve the recommendations and sign off the contract with CH2M Hill that the group is negotiating.


Kim Gokce said...

Making the budget work by actions "... such as delaying road projects." Am I the only person who finds this disturbingly similar to exactly what the voters of Dunwoody were trying to leave behind by voting, 'Yes,' in the referendum?

Ilovemykids said...

I voted for cityhood with the belief that it would not be "business as usual", ala Dekalb County. However, I'm starting to get some bad vibes the last few weeks. Can we re-vote? I mean, at least we would be dealing with the "Devil we know".

Kim Gokce said...

I do not want to overstate this as an example for concern. Remember, the key argument for 'Yes' was accountability. Those who said things would suddenly get better were being at best naive, at worst, deceptive. The citizens must stay engaged and hold the soon-to-be-elected leadership to account. After all, it was the hope of cityhood supporters that more representation would create more accountability. It will be just as hard to pave roads but at least you may have someone who will listen to your concerns and priorities more readily.

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell (TOD) said...

I don't believe it can be overstated.

If YES was for accountability, how could a rational decision have been made? We had information intentionally withheld. What was published was manipulated--I was told by Fran Millar that CVIoG was told to include certain items in the fiscal plan. What other directives did they receive and from whom?

Now many of the folks who conspired to keep voters in the dark and feed them propaganda are planning to run the city. We are going to start off this great adventure in the hole with a good ole boy network that has a proven record of deceit.

The question is: is it too early to initiate a recall vote for the mayor?