Thursday, October 6, 2011

City Update by Councilman Shortal


Good evening my fellow citizens .... the following are some update items of interest ....

1. Paving .... Paving is a good thing!! The paving of streets thru out the city is moving forward. Stripping and bike lanes, where applicable, are now being painted on the streets that have been completed. For those of you that live on the west side of town the paving of Roberts Dr has been moved back and will start this Friday (OCT 7th) at about 8:30 AM - weather permitting. The reason for the move back is that the schools are closed this Friday and Monday and it was felt this would reduce the traffic congestion on Roberts Dr. My hint to all of you is to avoid Roberts Dr on these four days to the max extent possible ... go around, use the back way to go to your destination, etc. .... again, avoid Roberts Dr OCT 7th thru the 10th and remember that "paving requires patience." 

2. Sidewalks .... Construction on the sidewalk on Valley View has commenced. Construction on Happy Hollow sidewalks will follow. This will be a great enhancement to the quality of life of all the citizens who live in these areas.

3. Election ... My first of several updates. For complete information on the upcoming NOV 8, 2011 election go to this website ...  http://web.co.dekalb.ga.us/voter/CurrentElectionInfo.html .... Items of importance on this page:
            - In the center of this web page you will see "A List of Sample Ballots" ... just go down and click on "City of Dunwoody" ... Remember, this is a city wide election and all citizens get to vote on candidates for ALL four offices.
            - Further down on the above website click on "Election Calendar" ... Here you will note that the last day to Register to Vote, for the upcoming Nov 8, 2011 election, is OCT 11, 2011. You will also note that if a runoff is required it will be held on DEC 6, 2011. Please mark these dates on your calendar. 
            - To register to vote, click on "Voter Information" (second item on the top left of the above website) ... The second item that will appear in the center of this page is "Voter Registration " .... fill out the prepaid postage application and mail it in. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. You should receive acknowledgement in 2 - 4 weeks. Remember OCT 11, 2011 is the deadline to apply and you must register if you have moved within state since last registering or have moved in from outside the state of Georgia.
            - If you are going to vote "absentee" by mail click on "Absentee Application" ... this is the second item from the  bottom in the center of the "Voter Information" page. Fill out the application and fax it in (404-294-4038) or mail the application to "Voter Registration, 4380 Memorial Dr, Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032" and a ballot will be mailed to you. Absentee voting by mail is already open and ballots are being mailed out as of today. If you want to vote "absentee" in person you must go to directly to the Voter Registration Office noted above on Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8:00AM - 4:00PM. Absentee voting in person is open from OCT 17th thru Nov 4th. 
            - "Advanced Voting" will be open from OCT 31 thru NOV 4th from 8 AM to 4 PM. There is only one advanced voting location ... 4380 Memorial Dr, Suite 300, Decatur, GA 30032... which is just inside I-285. 
            - Identification (ID) ... Anyone voting in person via absentee, advanced or on election day must have a valid government issued photo ID.
            - As a personal request, I ask each of you to exercise your privilege to vote .... a lot of great Americans have given their lives defending your voting privilege. 

A general comment on the upcoming city election. Up for election are the Mayor's seat and three At-Large City Council seats. Remember this is an at-large election and all Dunwoody citizens gets to vote on candidates for ALL four offices. There are candidates running for these offices with very different philosophical, political and fiscal philosophies. I ask you to become informed on where the candidates stand on the issues not only on what they say but more importantly judge them by their actions ... past and present. As we all know actions are more important than words. Ask the candidates the hard questions and make them give you a straight forward answer. Know who is providing financial support for the candidates and who is on their campaign staff ... is it you the local citizens, or is it outside interest folks (meaning folks outside Dunwoody)? If it is outside interest then this should raise a "red flag". Your vote will determine the future of our City .... are we going to continue to enhance our infrastructure in a prudent fiscal pay as-you-go manner or, are we going to accumulate massive debts like the majority of the cities which are now in financial ruins across our nation? Remember there is a big difference between needs and wants and having "money in the bank" is a good thing!

4. Parks ... Someone recently said that I am against parks .... that is an untrue statement. I like parks and as proof that I present these facts ... I coached baseball at Murphy Candler and Dunwoody Senior parks for 10 years, I had the idea to start the Dunwoody Volunteer Coordination Committee (DVCC) and over the last two years we have had several hundred volunteer workers (that means no cost to you the good citizens of DunwoodyDVCC volunteers. I think my actions compare very favorably to what anyone else in our City has done to enhance our parks. Now what am I against ... I am against saddling you, our great citizens, with massive debt and high taxes!! I promised you when I was Co-chairman of Dunwoody Yes and when I ran for City Council that I would work to keep your taxes low .... I assure each of you I will keep my promise!!!

            PVC Farm ... We have closed on the 16 acre PVC Farm. The total price was approx. $5.2 million which we financed over a seven year period at about a 2.2% interest rate. I was in favor of this purchase as it is an "eyesore" and it was zoned multi-family thus, anywhere from 300 - 500 apartments could have been built there. I am not against apartments but I ran for office on the platform of "having the right mix of single and multi-family homes." I think we have more than an ample number of multi-family rental home. We closed on this property with a couple of legal issues still outstanding. That makes me a little uncomfortable but I have been assured the issues are not majors ones.  

            Hospital Site Property  ..... This is the old Emory Hospital on Shallowford Rd. There are 19 acres there and as part of the package deal was the purchase of 5 acres directly west of the intersection of Peachford Rd and Shallowford Rd. The City has signed a "letter of intent" to purchase the 19 acres for $6,100,000 and 5 acres for $1,430,000. We are currently in a "45 day free look period" which includes appraisals, environmental test, title search, etc. Unlike the PVC Farm where we had only one appraisal, I have requested and I thank the Council Members for agreeing to now have two appraisals on all property purchases above $500,000 and under some circumstances a third appraisal will be required. Purchases under $500,000 will still require only one appraisal. The purchase of the 19 acres is dependent on your vote on the Parks Bond Referendum .... if the Parks Bond Referendum get voted down the purchase of the 19 acres is null and void. The 5 acre parcel purchase will be consummated at the end of the "45 day free look period" if all requirement are satisfactory. The stated purpose of these 5 acres is to extend Peachford Rd west of Shallowford Rd .... the one problem with this is that more property must be purchased to connect Peachford Rd westward to an existing road. I voted against both of these purchases for the following reasons:
            - The 19 acre property is less than 2/10 of a mile from the PVC Farm .... why do you need a 16 and a 19 acres park only a "stones throw" apart?
            - The property is zoned O&I and thus is not eligible to have multi-family (or any other kind of homes) built on it unless the Council changes the zoning ... which I don't think has any support from this Council.
            - The 5 acres purchase will come out of the general fund and add this $1,430,000 to the $5,200,000 for the PVC Farm we will have either $6,630,000 debt or our reserves are reduced by $6,630,000. Park Bond funds can't be used for these two purchases. After the 5 acre purchase, the owner of the property that we need to complete the road extension knows we need his property ... he maybe hard to deal with. 
            - We paid too much for the 19 and 5 acres parcels. Concerning the 19 acre parcel, I went to the presentation by the group that is promoting the Park Bond Referendum on Sunday night. Their slides showed a cost of $280,000/ acre .... these figures are low as the actual cost / acre of the 19 acre package is approx. $321,000/acre. There is also noted in their slides that several years ago the owners of this property turned down a $1,000,000/acre therefore the price we are paying is a good buy .... that is like saying in 2007 Bank America stock was $52 / share but does that mean it is a good buy today at $5/share .. not hardly.
A local commercial real estate person told me there is no current market for O&I zoned property, that the City is the only buyer in town and he wouldn't pay more than $100,000/acre ... I think that might be a little low but in my opinion it is not worth more than $150,000 to $200,000/acre .... at the maximum.  
            - There are a lot of developers, etc. out there with plenty of money in their pockets that deal in this type of property .... If the acreage we are buying is such a "good buy" why aren't these folks buying these properties?? That is a very good question!
            - At our purchase cost, the city will lose over $20,000 in annual tax revenue from the 19 and 5 acre parcels which amounts to over $600,000 over the 30 year period of the proposed bonds. 

5. Recycling .... My thanks to all of you who started recycling and joined the "Blue Box Brigade." As I go running (it is hard to call what I do running these days) and cycling thru the neighborhoods on Wednesday mornings I see a continuous increase in the number of citizens recycling. It is a win/win situation and BTW I am a convert to this cause. Go to this website ... Residential Subscription Curbside Recycling Application ... to join the "Blue Box Brigade" and to start recycling. It only cost $30 and DC will deliver to your home a "beautiful blue" plastic recycling box and 200 blue bags ... that is about a four year supply of bags. 
           
6. Street Signs .... If you have road/information signs in front of your home or business I have ask you to grab a bucket with soap and water, a brush and a ladder and help beautify our City by cleaning these signs. As I drive around I see a lot of clean signs ... my thanks to all of you that have cleaned your signs. Also, if you have a neighbor that is having some health issues please do the neighborly thing and clean their signs. 

7. Leaves ... Fall is coming and the leaves are starting to fall off the trees. As a reminder please ensure you don't put your leaves down our storm sewer drains as the leaves tend to clog up our storm sewers and this will add to our already high maintenance cost that we are incurring with the storm sewer problems. Many thanks for your compliance
   
   8. Music Festival .... The second annual Dunwoody Music Festival will be held OCT 22 - 23, 2011 at our Brook Run Park. This was a big hit last year and Bill Grant has informed me it is going to be even bigger and better this year. Mark your calendar now for this big time event. Bring your chairs and prepare for a great weekend!

   9. Clean, Fix and Shine-Up Dunwoody Day (CFSUDD) ...... Our third annual CFSUDD will be held on NOV 5, 2011. There will be several hundred volunteers working on numerous projects to enhance our City. Approx. 200 volunteers will be painting the remainder of our fire hydrants, another group will be gluing the required placards on our storm sewer drain covers, another approx. 200 volunteers will be working in our parks re-striping the parking lot at Brook Run (BR), trail cleaning, trimming and blazing new trails at BR, Windwood Hollow and Perimeter Center East parks, repairing two foot bridges at DNC, repairing bridges at BR, working on the steps at Vernon Oaks North park and another approx. 40 volunteers will be doing Mayor Wright's # 1 project ... and since it is the Mayor's # 1 it also # 1 project ... cleaning the entry and exit ways on I-285 leading in and out of our City. Our local churches in Dunwoody spearhead this effort ... North Atlanta Church of Christ, Dunwoody Baptist, St Lukes Presbyterian, Life Center Church and All Saints Catholic Church and their Knights Of Columbus. Dunwoody United Methodist Church has their volunteer day on Oct 15th in support of our City. This year the Dunwoody Student Volunteers and various Boy Scout Troops for thru out our City have joined our volunteer work. On behalf of the Mayor and City Council I thank all of you for setting the example of what responsible citizenry is all about. I also recognized Jim Maloney and Bill Tobin, Chairman and past Chairman respectively, of the DVCC, for the work and dedication on this volunteer effort.   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
That is about it for tonight. Please pass this on to your friends, neighbors, members of your HOA or anyone else you maybe interested. If anyone want to be added to my email list please let me know and I will make it happen. Thanks for your continued positive support of our City .... it is a large source of encouragement to me.

           
Let Us Continue To Build Our City Together

Denny Shortal
Dunwoody City Council, District One, Post-1
Mayor Pro Tem
denis.shortal@dunwoodyga.gov

2 comments:

Chip said...

Anyone else but me noticed that the 2012 Administration Costs for the City has grown to almost 25% of the total budget???

Our "business model" called for a minimum of employees and admin costs...what happened?

This means that 25 cents of every $1 collected now goes to "overhead" for the City Government.

It's hardly a "lean and mean" model anymore, is it??!!

Mark said...

I had wondered about that too, Chip. Politics rarely favors lean and mean. It is accumulative which is why it must be taken to bits from time to time.