Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Notes from Dunwoody City Council Meeting

Public Comment
Mr. Chimney (see HERE for some background) made a return visit to council chambers. (also, see The Crier column HERE for more details).  As the story goes, there is an old, rebuilt chimney down at Ravinia.  Mr. Chimney says it's old and worth saving.  The future of the chimney calls for it to be on an outdoor patio at a new Starbucks at Ravinia.  Sounds good to me.

Raise your hand if you have ever seen this chimney...........okay, I saw 1 of 100 hands.  I think Mr. Chimney should approach Starbucks and ask them to make a nice bronze plaque telling the story of the chimney, and keep it as a focal point of the new Starbucks patio.  At least this way people will see it and learn a little local history.  Mr. Chimney never said (or I missed it) what he wants done with the old chimney, but he does not want it part of a Starbucks?  Why not.?  It's been hidden from most of Dunwoody for 25 years.  Let Starbucks incorporate it into their outdoor patio and people can then see it. What else you going to do with it?  Haul it to some new obscure location?

Next up was Mr. Chair.  Apparently it has been published that the city will replace the seats in the peanut gallery of city hall.  These are the seats I have been sitting in the past couple of years as a spectator at city council meetings.  The new seats are allegedly 3" wider and a little deeper as well.  Being a slightly wider chair means the room will hold a few less chairs and Mr. Chair objects.  He says the current chairs are fine. I don't really have anything to say on this topic so you are on your own.

One of the biggest issues on the docket tonight was discussion of a few budget items.  A few items were in the budget, but did not have 100% support of council.  First up was $150,000 for signage and monuments around the city - Way-Finding.  Of course we all know where the library is located and most of us can find the Nature Center.  But these signs are not for locals - they are for people who have not yet discovered the purpose of a GPS device.  Overall this sign project would cost about half a million dollars.  Some on council think it needs done right away, to support our logo and branding.  A couple others think it is a huge waste of money.  I agree with those opposing this expense.  the city manager pushed through $39,000 last meeting to create the sign plan, but it will be up to the next council to decide the fate of this project.  The $150,000 stays in the budget for now.  Agree or disagree?  Email your mayor and council members

Next up was discussion on expansion of the police department. The police chief wants about $500,000 for new police officers. The unit would be a crime prevention unit.  The chief said it would be about 60% traffic and 40% crime prevention.  When asked, the chief said the unit would not respond to most 911 calls (except for major incidents) and would not be suited for daily assistance at DES or any other school or traffic issue.  he said the unit could spend time at a school like DES for short periods, trying to alter driver behavior.  The unit, after council discussion, was pulled from the 2012 budget due to lack of support.  Some council members cited the current (and increasing) costs of the current police budget, factoring in the Chatcomm expense, as being adequate.

Next up the city manager made a sales pitch for Dunwoody On Ice, a portable "ice" skating rink.  The rink would be across from Ace Hardware (on the lawn at Calico Corners).  The city would put up $70,000 and attempt to recoup those costs from sponsorships and ticket sales.  A ticket to skate would be $10.

If this rink goes in, I am organizing a hockey game among local residents.  My team has the Hanson Brothers (Slap Shot, 1977), TheOtherDunwoody, Public Comment Joe, Chip, Mr. Chimney, and General Shortal.  Our opponents will be King John, Farmer Bob, GaryRayBetz, Nellie Woodson, and the StraightOuttaDunwoody rappers. See here for more details.
Where's Waldo the local celebrities
Old Time Hockey
Keepin' It Cool in Dunwoody


Site Admin said...

Yes I've seen the chimney. Worked at Ravinia in the early 90's and then at least is sat in a park-like setting. Perhaps now it is just-another-grassy-knoll. 'Course back then the absolute best vacation spot in dunwoody was a room on the 3rd or 4th floor of the ravinia hotel facing the park in back.

That was then. This is now. Why not just buy it an move it to the PVC pipe farm?

dpgroupie said...

Re Mr Chimney: Since outdoor patios are so de rigueur, it would behoove Starbucks to install a really cool one, and like you said, "why not" incorporate the chimney into the design? Anything that creates buzz and uniquely contributes to the Dunwoody label can only enhance their own marketability, yes?

Re Mr Chair: While I can appreciate Mr. Chair's compassion for the visitors of the Dunwoody court system, he may not have had the opportunity to sit in those chairs for any length of time. I try to stick it out at City Council meetings, but after about an hour, I no longer have any feeling left in my behind. Yep. Completely and painfully numb. I try to remember to bring a board from home - that would be more comfortable to sit on - but can never seem to remember. The court visitors are there for a short time, or they could try this - don't break the law and you won't have to be there at all, and risk the standing-room-only scenario. And maybe some of them could stop bringing their entire families, 3 generations back. Then there would be more seats available.

Next topic (which I could go on forever about, but won't) - I have to wonder where Council's priorities are (1/2M for signage???), and whether they (John excluded - I apologize if I missed anyone else in their support to add a traffic patrol unit) have any real, in-depth understanding of crime in this city, and empathy for us in zones 20 and 30. Not to mention empathy for a police force that "seems" to be adequately staffed, but is not quite there yet. If things are so peachy and calm in the north end, maybe the Chief will move his Zone 40 patrol officers to Zones 20 and 30. We would love to have them here. Too many people are looking at this issue from a bottom line dollar standpoint only, so let me just say that if that's what you think, do what I did and google similar cities of similar size - the % of our police budget is NOT UNUSUAL, in fact, was LOWER than most of the cities I looked at. Our decision to go with Chattcom should not be used as an excuse to cut off at the knees any request for additional police expenditures. They really are separate issues, and should be treated as such.
I'm sure this won't be the last I say on this subject.