The City of Dunwoody negotiating in good faith with the Jones Administration and now the Ellis Administration for a fair an equitable transfer of property took a preliminary step to review other legal avenues at the Monday night city council meeting. The consulting firm of Connect South (Clint Austin, Tony Simon, Sam Choate) were hired by the city at a sum of $55,000 to represent them on legislative issues concerning an equitable transfer of properties as well as the balance of the $11.5 Million dollars that were promised to Brook Run Park during the 2005 Parks bond referendum.
Prior to December 1st, Dunwoody provided DeKalb County provided 30 day notice in a letter stating that the City of Dunwoody intended to take over maintenance and programs in the city parks starting January 1. Under Georgia Law (Georgia Constitution Article IX, § II, Para. III (2008)), DeKalb County cannot operate a park in the City of Dunwoody without Dunwoody’s permission. The reaction of the DeKalb Board of Commissioners at receiving the letter was negative and at least one member of the Board stated that he wanted to padlock the park.
Negotiations between the County and the City are still ongoing and this action by the council was deemed necessary based on the negative reactions of the BOC in order to protect the city's interests. The transfer of the properties and the retention of the bond proceeds that were promised to Brook Run, go hand in hand in order to demolish the abandoned and asbestos filled buildings still located on the property as well as make capital improvements promised to the citizens as part of the Bond Campaign.
In other City business during the meeting, Deputy Police Chief David Sides and Lieutenant David Barnes, both from Marietta, were introduced to the City Council as well our new Finance Director, Mr. John Grotheer.
We now have an official zoning map and the Building Permit moratorium has been lifted (except for signs until the next sign hearing).
The issue of Dunwoody resident homestead tax exemptions came up and it was discussed that the initial IGA draft with the Tax Commissioner has the Tax Commissioner sending the tax bills with homestead exemptions applied to the residents of Dunwoody without the need to reapply but the City has decided that in order to be safe in case of legal challenge, they will be asking city residents to complete another homestead exemption with the City and information will be forthcoming on this in the coming days.
Finally the matter of issuing permits to allow alcohol consumption at Special Events in Dunwoody Parks came up and passed, though the Council already knows that the legislation needs to be tightened up prior to the City Manager issuing the first permit.
Next week's Monday night meeting falls on a holiday and was canceled though the City Council will be in an all day meeting/training session along with staff the next day.
I broke the audio of the meeting into two sections, look at the agenda. The first audio clip is from start until just after the Comcast agreement the second clip starts with the discussion on the homestead exemption until the end, with the ConnectSouth discussion towards the end of the evening.