Monday, November 17, 2008

Busy day in Dunwoody

Working on the Dunwoody City Council has been a blast so far and I believe that I and the other City Council members are making a real difference in the future quality of life for all citizens of Dunwoody. That being said, let me say that the hours are very long and today was no exception, in fact I took a vacation day from my full time job to work on city issues.

At 10 am, I met with Mayor Wright, Jim Redovian of the DeKalb County School Board, Robin Burch of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and Page Olson, President of the Dunwoody Chamblee Parents School Council to tour the new 4th/5th Grade Elementary School on Womack; along with the County construction supervisors. The tour started in the construction trailer reviewing blueprints and raising questions that were brought up at the public meeting which happened several weeks ago.

Issues discussed were like the school clinic being too small, there are plans for two play areas and $75,000 set aside for playground equipment, each room has its own AC/Heat, we reviewed construction material choices and were looking to change the color of the roof, asked about increasing the sidewalk width on the property, possibly adding a few screening trees along the property line to block the school from the several highly affected neighbors on Windhaven Court. I asked about the originally planned Kindergarten rooms and if the mini toilets were going to be installed or if they were only going to stub the rooms for a future conversion back to an elementary school? I was informed that the little bathrooms and toilets were going to be installed as were shown on the plans I obtained a while back.

At 1 pm, I met at Boyken with our new City Manager Warren Hutmacher and Council Members Adrian Bonser and Tom Taylor to discuss city implementation issues. As I was arriving Council Members Shortal and Ross were leaving with Adrian Bonser who was staying for the second meeting.

At 3:50 the meeting was over and I crossed the hall to tour the new temporary Dunwoody City Hall which is very nice and contains 14 offices, a kitchen, conference room and reception area.

At 4:00 pm I witnessed Boyken logging in the last of the RFP bids, many of which were contained in boxes and the numerous submissions filled two carts.

At 4:30, I rushed home to review & print a number of items for the City Council meeting and have a quick dinner with the family.

At 6:00, I was meeting with the Dunwoody Chamber of Commerce to listen to their opinion of the Business License Ordinance that we have currently under review. The ordinance is based on DeKalb law which is all messed up and it appears that DeKalb's answer is to just not enforce anything that is problematic in the current code. I would rather fix the regulatory problems now and have fewer headaches later. One example is that the your neighborhood Swim Tennis would currently need to pay business taxes and I would rather see that rule corrected vs being not enforced.

At 7:00, I had the Dunwoody City Council Work Session, Audio here.

At 8:30, the meeting was over but talking to the various people in the room is an important part of the job. This evening, I introduced my friend Pattie Baker who writes the blog Sustainable Dunwoody to the City Manager and inform him of her efforts and ideas for the community (example in the video below)

At 9:00 pm, I returned to talk to the Dunwoody Chamber regarding the Business License ordinance and started to slowly hammer out a few of the issues. Three of the other city council members were returning to Boyken to review and grade the RFP's that were due today.

At 11:00 pm, I returned home after a long day to update the blog and figured I didn't have much to say, so instead I just recapped my day for the world to see and call it a night.


Dunwoody Grows! from Pattie Baker on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Thaddeus Osbourne Dabell said...

Thanks for the recap.

On the business ordinance front, I find it hard to believe that anyone in Dunwoody would accept the DeKalb ordinance as "Best In Breed". If nothing else that should be political suicide.

A fundamental problem is the components that attempt to legislate morality have to pass constitutional muster and these are intertwined with the traditional "we have the power, now we want your money" aspects of taxation-because-we-can. In general, (ab)using a law to circumvent constitutional protections is a minefield.

As the co-owner of a small business who pays the "occupational" tax I understand this is not a "service fee" of any kind and the taxing authority doesn't even pretend it is. But given this tax is not going away, could we please just roll the administration "fee" into the overall tax? It is downright odious to pay a tax, and then pay a separate "fee" for the cost the government incurs for my paying that tax. Unless of course this "fee" goes into a separate account used for collecting this tax, and this tax only, and the City presents an annual public accounting. Otherwise it stinks to high heaven.