Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Are City of Dunwoody residents willing to raise their own taxes for park acquisition and development?


Discussions are starting on the possibility of asking the residents of Dunwoody if they should be able to vote in November on a parks bond referendum that if passed would raise the citizens property taxes to have those funds directed to the purchase and development of Dunwoody's park system.

Talks at the City Retreat were very preliminary and will continue at upcoming city council meetings as the Parks Master Plan is presented and vetted. In order for a bond referendum to be presented in November, there is much work to be done prior to Council setting the parameters and the amount of such a bond therefore nothing will be decided overnight but now is a good time to start being involved if you have strong feelings one way or another on what should be going forward.

I personally see both "Opportunities" and "Challenges" in the idea of a bond referendum but Council's job in the next few months will be to determine the needs of the community, set the funding amount to meet those needs and then step back to allow the residents to vote it up or down.

Opportunities: The funds collected would be spent locally within Dunwoody and done so rather quickly whereby the residents will be able to enjoy the long term park infrastructure improvements even though they will be funded over the next 20 years. The funds could be used to acquire green space in the Village and Georgetown areas that could possibly fuel developments that might be favorable and in line with the proposed long range development plans.  Property prices are at their lowest levels in years, large development tracts that are currently in foreclosure could be purchased for quarters on the dollar over prices of just several years ago. This bond could be looked at as a long term investment in the community to remove future residential development tracts in areas that are already over saturated with excess housing, thereby converting the land to uses for the residents who already live within the community.  Park development is a long term, quality of life investment in our community which if done properly will provide value in serving the residents recreation and social needs as well as adding long term economic value to the community.

Challenges: The economy is very tough for many residents who may not be able to afford much of an increase for parks, let alone the possibility of tax increases by the County and the School System. Questions will arise as the specific amount of the bond as well as the specific uses that it will be intended to be directed toward. Though I believe residents would have faith in the city leaders to follow through on the speedy implementation of the bond improvements, we unfortunately will need to overcome past DeKalb County history and citizen biases against bond referendums because all we have seen in past years by the county are promises made and promises unfulfilled.

Council may be in the starting stages of framing the discussion, but in the end; the residents will be making the final decision on this matter.  Please stay involved in the parks process and below are several articles on the subject posted by the Crier and the Patch.  The next City Council meeting is Tuesday February 15th at 7 pm.

Dunwoody Crier Article - Dunwoody Patch Article

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19 comments:

Sara said...

Am I willing to raise my own taxes so the City can TAKE my land using eminent domain with my money (from raised taxes)?! I think not! But take the trail off the master plan...I may consider it!

POSI said...

The trail is nothing more than a sidewalk. I see new sidewalks being install on North Peachtree, No Permits needed. So if it's a double sized sidewalk 1/2 on each persons property, they don't even need to ask for permission?

Bob Lundsten said...

Because the side walks are built on Right of Way property that belongs to the City. The can build sidewalks in the ROW without anyone's permission.
Trails and pathways are built on PRIVATE property. The Pwer Company has an easement, to run and service their lines with the homeowner. The property itself remains under ownership of the homeowner.
Any one would have to agree there is a huge difference between having power lines running through your back your and having strangers having complete access to you backyard on a trail under those power lines.

Sara makes a lot of good points

you begin again.... said...
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Joe Hirsch said...

What exactly is EXCESS housing? The proposal says, "This bond could be looked at as a long term investment in the community to remove future residential development tracts in areas that are already over saturated with excess housing..."

Duxxs3000 said...

I'm with Sara I do not care to raise my own taxes just so the city can later take my property and put a bike path down the side of and behind my house.I also think those councilmen (Doug Thompson and Robert Wittenstein)who are in favor of eminent domain should be removed.I never thought that when Dunwoody became a city that we would vote in theives to represent us.

I said...

In the future maybe, but right now I am probably against it because... (1) DeKalb is trying to raise my water bill, and (2) my property value is about to drop due to redistricting.

GaryRayBetz said...
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GaryRayBetz said...
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Pattie Baker said...

I originally thought that there was a right of way involved with the power line property, but since there apparently is not, I say let's move on from the greenway under the power lines and consider a path in some other way--as linear parks where possible along existing roads such as Mt. Vernon, for instance. And let's increase greenspace through foreclosured or otherwise available property acquisition, dual use agreements with schools and institutions, and other best practices that have proven successful in other communities. A clear and inspiring vision that unites rather than divides our city is needed here, as well as real, trustworthy leadership.

Ben said...

I am willing to pay more in taxes for increase amenities/higher quality of life.I do not endorse borrowing any money for these improvements. Why do we have the right to encumber Dunwoody residents 30 years in the future for improvements we want now. Any improvements should be made out of current revenues. We should not act like children that want everything NOW!!!

Bob Fiscella said...

I have mixed thoughts about a bond funding parks' improvements. I agree, real estate prices may never be this low again. Now is the time to buy. However, many of the improvements to the parks are for specific uses, and perhaps user fees (and a much lower bond) makes more sense.
With DeKalb talking about a tax increase, DCSS needing more money and a water/sewer increase - it does seem like piling on.

paul said...

I voted for the DeKalb Parks bond a few years ago.
We and I've learned that you don't necessarily get what you think you vote for.

For example:
1.We still have the problem of resolving with DeKalb on the funds, and

2.Brook Run was turning into a regional entertainment center (responsible names withheld) which is out of place, lighted, amplified sound, clear cutting (all the Skate Park mistakes we know about).

So, the Dunwoody Parks bond should be extremely specific when it comes for vote. If it's not specific, it should fail.

For example would it be for land, ball fields, tennis courts, tearing down the theater, swimming pool, trails, senior center, etc. (Personally, my priorities are land, greenspace, theater, trails, senior center maybe. Not looking for tennis, baseball, pool, lights, amplified sound....we have access to those in other places I believe, they are expensive to operate, and they should be private or County.)

Rebecca said...

I need some civic education here... Would all residents vote on the parks bond referendum before, after, or concurrent with a referendum for the proposed greenway homeowners to vote on, that is if the greenway is still on the table in November? Also, how specific would the parks bond referendum get?

In theory, I'd support slightly higher taxes for parks, but it's in the details where things could get murky. I'll listen to how the discussions progress and decide later.

GaryRayBetz said...

In the discussion where land is referred to as "my property" here in Dunwoody, I'm not sure we can be that confident it can be characterized as such.

Although I do know the bank currently holds the paper on my home, as an amateur archaeologist and antiquarian, I believe this land still belongs to the Creek Indians - though deedless they are - but I'm sure "eminent domain" was never a proposed option either, perhaps they were just gestured as to where they could find the "Trail of Tears".

So notwithstanding that with always stressful and at times back-breaking work I earned every nickel in paying down the house note, at my mortgage-burning party I'm not going to be so apt to declare definitive possessorship of the property to all and the heavens in an affront to the good tribe and their respected antecedents.

Sorry - at my age one tends to get a little too extramundane, if not cosmic.

Site Admin said...

Indeed.

Most folks are only renting from the bank. And once you've had that party you will still be renting from the government.

SmartOne said...

GRB,

The white man did not so anything the red man was not already doing himself. The red man conquered and took lands here before white man arrived. Maybe the creeks should have done more R&D work and developed more modern weapons like the white man did. The Cherokee ran your Creek tribe out of Italwa before the white man

dunwoodydad said...

I thought impermeable surfaces on private property were bad for the environment? Redirecting water, from worms and such, by as much as 12 feet is terrible for our water quality.

You would think that such an eco-conscious council would reconsider diverting rainwater from mother earth. I'd vote for building sidewalks and bike paths - but only if they voted to add more flouride and toxic waste to my water supply.

ILuvFruityDrinks said...

the planned paved walkway is a pervious surface