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Dunwoody leaders discuss options for Brookhaven
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
August 15, 2012 07:41 AM | 1407 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As Brookhaven transitions into cityhood its DeKalb County neighbor Dunwoody looks on with a sense of familiarity.

After all, the latter’s leadership — having gone through the same a few years ago — can identify with the growing pains and gains their eventual counterparts in the former will soon experience.

Gov. Nathan Deal will soon appoint a five-member commission comprised of local residents to handle Brookhaven’s transition into cityhood.

Dunwoody officials weighed in on how the city-in-waiting should proceed in regards to municipal operations and finance in the weeks ahead.

“[Brookhaven leaders] have to remember to take their time to clearly identify and address the needs of the community,” said Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis. “Police, parks, zoning, planning and paving are all competing and are several of the most immediate needs.”

It will be up to their newly elected local officials to make those important distinctions and decisions, he added.

Recruiting and selecting a city manager should be the new city’s first priority, Dunwoody City Manager Warren Hutmacher said.

“Attention should also be placed on crafting intergovernmental agreements with the county and working cooperatively with the county on transition-type issues such as police services and building inspections and permitting,” said Hutmacher. “All new cities will face the challenges of meeting citizen expectations and creating a municipal operation that serves its community … I don’t expect the Brookhaven experience to be any different than Dunwoody’s.”

Brookhaven has at least two advantages over Dunwoody prior to incorporation, said Dunwoody Finance Director Chris Pike.

“First, because of the work done both prior to and after Dunwoody’s incorporation, Brookhaven is able to inherit knowledge about the revenue sources it is to receive while feeling comfortable in the methodology of the computations,” Pike said. “Second, Dunwoody illustrated and proved a service-delivery model to improve services with multiple private partners while staying within the limited budget that exists for the cities, especially those without [Local Option Sales Tax] revenues.”

Knowing not only that it can be done, but how it can be done helps to provide a “tested” foundation which Dunwoody did not possess, he added.

Potentially having more money coming in also helps.

“Post-incorporation, because of the [Homestead Option Sales Tax] distribution in DeKalb being based in a large part on residential homeowner values and because the boundaries of the proposed Brookhaven contains more residential than Dunwoody has, the estimate revenues for Brookhaven should be larger than Dunwoody’s revenues once all revenue sources are flowing in on schedule,” Pike said.
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