Monday, September 29, 2008

Audio of First Dunwoody City Council Meeting

My first Dunwoody City Council meeting is now behind me. I was prepared and made a few suggestions as to the operations of the meetings. Namely I requested a public comment section at the front of the meeting so that people didn't have to wait around for four hours to make a quick statement. This way if you have something important to say, you and nine others can sign up in advance and each have 3 minutes; you can then say your peace and then go home if so desired. There will be a second comment period at the end of the meeting with another 3 minutes per person with no set maximum limit.

I pushed for internet postings of everything, including all legal notices that are also required to be in the cities legal organ (newspaper).

I pushed for electronic open records to be provided electronically to the requester at little or no charge. (I personally have paid DeKalb County hundreds of dollars for paper copies of electronic documents that they printed for me when I would have preferred the electronic document to begin with.)

I listened to the presentation from CH2MHill for the third time but wanted more details to be provided to the community regarding the actual services and the total cost. Since negotiations are still on going; they provided no cost detail and very little service detail. I was hoping for an electronic copy of their detailed plan to post to the web but nothing was available. I held up CH2MHill's RFP response which is a huge binder of detailed information, which I signed a non-disclose agreement to obtain, and asked if it was now a public document to be disseminated to the community and the answer from the CH2MHill representative was no. I asked if the RFP had an expiration date and if we could delay making this decision for a month or two. You can listen to the audio for the answer but I believe the short answer given by Mr. Hirsekorn was that time was running short for a December 1st start up and it has been priced accordingly. With five current city council members and the Mayor there is a chance that the decision on whether or not to accept the CH2MHill bid may be dead locked in a 3 to 3 vote and therefore this final decision may have to be delayed until after the runoff of District 2. (I found on page four of the RFP that it states we have 60 days from yesterday to decide.)

I listened to Senator Dan Weber's presentation and went through his numbers for the second time in two days and I believe it could work, though it is a much more difficult proposition to start the city from scratch. It is riskier on several levels (untrained employees, questionable start up operations, unproven level of customer service and unknown variable costs which CH2 has built into their contract) and yet safer on a few levels (easier to scale back individual contracts if expected revenues don't pan out and lower initial costs freeing up more money for capital expenses and a larger reserve fund). I am very impressed with the proposition of working with Don Boyken, whom I know as a long time member of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association and believe that his companies' presence would be a huge asset to starting the city.

This first decision made by the city council will probably be the biggest that most of us will decide and it may come as soon as our next meeting, currently scheduled for Wednesday evening 7 p.m. at Peachtree Charter Middle School.

When I get the agenda, I will post it.

As a reminder, here was our last agenda and here is a link to the audio of the meeting but the player below should work for most people.

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