Put residents first and listen to them
Dunwoody must have a City Council that listens to residents and thinks through problems before moving forward with expensive detailed consultant plans and studies. Having to re-do plans and designs is wasteful of the taxpayers’ money. As a city of “Smart People” as our tagline proclaims, the City should listen to them much more before going to outside consultants for answers that prove less than optimal.
If I am elected to City Council, putting Dunwoody residents first while taking time for citizen input and Council thought will be a top priority.
Keeps taxes low and eliminate waste
Fiscal responsibility and frugality is paramount. The City is wanting to take on many $millions in new responsibilities, in particular that of fire service. The City needs to show a track record of better-managing existing funds before taking on new obligations. Existing projects have often doubled and more from initial estimates. We cannot keep taxes low over the long haul with many projects that greatly exceed initial budget estimates as we have seen.
Keeping taxes low and government responsibly frugal is also important if Dunwoody is to someday stand up an independent school system. This will be an expensive undertaking, and we must make sure we have the financial wherewithal to support it. One way to do this is to make much better assessments of needs vs. wants than have been typical in the recent past.
Avoid new debt and be fiscally responsible
The City took on $millions in debt for Project Renaissance to create a few small parks which appear like amenities for a subsidized private real estate development project. Debt should be taken on only for efforts that are of an emergency nature.
If elected I will push for concrete limits on City debt the City Council can incur without a vote from the taxpayers.
Don’t make sweetheart deals
Project Renaissance is a sweetheart deal for Weiland paid for by the Dunwoody taxpayer. Why do I believe this?
For about 20 years I was in the engineering business, about a dozen as a Professional Engineer and part owner of a Mechanical/Electrical consulting firm. Our clients were developers, architects, corporations, and the like. I saw the development process while watching some very successful commercial developers.
In the normal course of development, the developer would buy property, and put in roads, sewer, water, electric, and other utilities. Most of this would be at the developer’s cost. Then the property would get subdivided, built upon, and the properties sold and leased out, hopefully at a profit. If not, it was the developer’s money at risk.
In the case of Project Renaissance, we, the taxpayers of Dunwoody, are taking on these up front infrastructure costs. We are also financing the carrying costs of the land purchase. We are subsidizing this developer. And the costs keep rising. The Council just approved $65,000 in additional change order monies, and the City’s recent accounting does not include all costs that should be assigned to the project, as called out in a recent Council meeting.
I will not support sweetheart deals like Project Renaissance if I am elected to City Council. I will also not support the City being in the development business. No one in City government currently involved in this project has any significant experience in the development business, and they are learning using our money; their own funds are not at risk. We must not allow another Project Renaissance in Dunwoody.
Keeps projects sensible and Dunwoody-friendly.
The City is shoehorning a one-size-fits-all design philosophy into a community that has been around for decades. Their ideas might be great for a green-field planned community, or a total teardown urban redevelopment, but neither of those situations apply to Dunwoody.
Dunwoody projects must be much more sensitive to the community than we have often seen. For example, the City has a project plan underway now that would result in over 80 trees being bulldozed for one part of a minor intersection improvement, if allowed to go through as currently planned. This includes at least 6-12 large specimen trees of the sort that we should adjust designs to protect if at all possible – and it is.
As your councilman, I will work to right-size projects from the beginning and make sure City Staff and consultants work towards Dunwoody-friendly designs.
Dunwoody Independent School District
I fully support the formation of an independent school system to ensure excellence and lower taxes. Unfortunately, the critical path to an ISD doesn’t go through city council, it goes through the Gold Dome 30 miles south to get the enabling legislation. Tom Taylor and Fran Millar lead that effort, and I would support them in every way possible.