By Mayor Ken Wright
As a Dunwoody homeowner for about 16 years, I realize there are a few things many of us Dunwoodians hold sacred: our family, our minivans and SUV’s, our faith, the Dunwoody farmhouse, and the ability to put any kind of garbage we want in front of our houses and know, with a 90 percent probability, it will be removed from our sight forever.
I can assure you that your city council members all live in Dunwoody and all embrace the DeKalb County sanitation service. We realize that most citizens are happy with our current garbage service from DeKalb and are okay with the fees associated. It seems to be a fair and satisfying arrangement. So, what the heck are we doing sniffing around the trash can?
The heart of the issue with our sanitation services is this, DeKalb County is only required to provide sanitation services to Dunwoody residents and businesses at the same fees as other residences and businesses of DeKalb County for the first two years after our city was established.
Our city was established December 1, 2008. After the two years are up, the county will be like every other private contractor we contract with, in that the services offered will be negotiated with no legislation, rules or cap on charges. That means we have until November 30, 2010 to sign a contract with a sanitation provider with acceptable terms and service.
With such a large and important topic and service, it means that due diligence, discussion, and contingency planning begin now.
Due Diligence: Both city staff and a group of Dunwoody citizens are currently in the midst of doing due diligence. This includes looking at other like cities and counties, and their situations, costs, vendors, likes, dislikes, positive results, and horror stories.
Discussion: This will include three public meetings on what our personal thoughts and feelings are on our current situation, and what the due diligence has uncovered. The former is relatively easy, since most citizens are happy with the service and cost; the latter we don’t know until it is completed and we are all able to listen, digest and discuss.
Contingency Planning: This piece is one that is most difficult. We must plan for the “what ifs” and possibilities, and be fully prepared should they ever come to fruition. This is a critical component that ideally is done with as much time, thought, planning, pricing, details and appropriate preparation as possible. So, if something happens or does not happen with our current provider, we need to include ample time for a thought out contingency plan and not a “knee jerk” reaction plan.
You have elected a very well educated, thoughtful, and deliberative council. Please know they are committed to serving you and your community’s best interests and have faith that their deliberations and hard work are meaningful and focused.