Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dunwoody Property tax INCREASE via DeKalb County?

At last night's council meeting we heard how our Millage rate remains the same as last year.  We also had a council member comment on how the rest of DeKalb had a 19% increase.  Had we not incorporated, we'd been part of that 19% increase.

But are we out of arm's reach from DeKalb's grasp for more Dunwoody dollars?  Perhaps not.

We've all heard about plans for the GM plant. 
In reading here at North DeKalb, we read:
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners is in the process of creating an intergovernmental agreement with the Development Authority over the use of facility and economic development bonds.
The Development Authority dispenses bonds to help finance business facilities and equipment. Commissioners are interested in becoming more involved in the project selection process to minimize risk to the county, said District 2 Commissioner Jeff Rader.
“We also need to spread risk and cost of this to other stakeholders. The county will have to service the debt and use taxpayer funds to pay back that money,” he said.
Is it possible for DeKalb to create an intergovernmental agreement with no opt-out for Dunwoody? 

Or will DeKalb increase Millage Rate, forcing all DeKalb property owners to foot the bill for 2,000 condos at the GM plant?

Here's more from the AJC.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Callaway Gardens & Wild Animal Safari

Recently the family took a trip south to Callaway Gardens.  On the way back we stopped and drove the Wild Animal Safari in Pine Moutain, GA.  Both are good day trips, with Callaway being an annual thing, but the Animal Safari being something you only need do once in your life.

Let's look at Callaway Gardens first.  Our first stop was the butterfly gardens  (Not sure of the history, but the butterfly place is named for Cecil B Day - same as the fitness center at Dunwoody Baptist).

NOTE:  Click on pictures for LARGER view (especially the animal photos)

One thing I noticed at Callaway was the parking at the butterfly place. The roads were typical, but lots of the newer parking was pervious parking surfaces.
I know once the city starts working on Brook Run, there will be a push for additional parking in certain areas.  Hopefully any new parking at Brook Run would not be the traditional impervious surfaces.  Even a leveled field (with rocks and stumps removed) is satisfactory parking for events like Lemonade Days.

Callaway Gardens is a great spot for biking.  If you go, I suggest taking bikes.  They do have bike rentals there.

Of course Callaway is known for its gardens.  Here's an interesting trim job on some shrubs.  The landscaper told me he nicknamed this bush "Balk Balk".

At Callaway they have a garden area.  The vegetables and herbs grown there are used at Callaway restaurants.  I think they also sell them.  We were there during planting season.  I'm sure it looks quite different now.


After a couple days/nights at Callaway we headed north through Pine Mountain, GA.  We've driven by the Wild Animal Safari signs on many trips in the RV, but decided to stop.  We had received good advice to rent a van for the driving safari, instead of using our own vehicle.  Good advice. With tickets, van rental, food to throw at feed the animals, the journey was about $80 for a family of four.

Once in your van (a 1985 Ford minivan equipped with window bars and sticky seats), you enter the gates, much like entering Jurassic Park.

Here's the window view as soon as you cross over the bridge, entering the safari:
The animals work together, as a team.  Usually at least one large animal and a few smaller ones walk in front of your van, then take a rest.  Why?  So their friends can come up and ask for a bite to eat (at the Safari ticket center you buy bags of food for a few dollars per bag.  We had four bags total, handing out mystery brown nuggets like Trick or Treat candy to anything with fur and four legs).

Here's the 'view' for the person riding shotgun:

Luckily, our van's windows were operative so we were able to open/close this glass portal as needed.  The rear seat occupants had bars to keep out animals.  The kids quickly learned to slide to the center of the seat (away from windows) as needed.
This poor guy (see photo above) seemed to have a cold, snot running out of his nose, into his mouth.  wish i had a Kleenex for him)

Did I mention school groups are welcome?  If you know someone at Chesnut or Vanderlyn PTA let them know they can go here instead of wasting time at the Fernbank.
Here's a photo of the animals lining up beside a busload of school kids.  Quite an educational trip for these kids, letting them see how animals live in their native habitat of Pine Mountain, GA.

The Wild Animal Safari, if nothing else, is an opportunity for your kids to see, up close, a variety of animals.  They get a better view here than at the zoo.  The animals all appeared healthy (except that big guy with the nasal drip issue) and fun was had by all.