Could Dunwoody have its own school system, separate from DeKalb County? Most on the city council agreed that the initiative is a long, uphill climb, but that fact didn’t deter the group from adding it to a list of legislative priorities for the 2013 session.
Suggested by Councilor Terry Nall, the initiative requires a constitutional amendment. Nall recommended that council add the constitutional change to allow the creation of additional municipal school districts.
“Clearly that would only be a first step, but at least it would give us a choice were we ever to go down that path or not,” said Nall.
Councilor Doug Thompson wholeheartedly agreed and said that nothing would increase property values more in Dunwoody than if the city had its own school system.
Also on board with the idea, councilor Deutsch added that “this cannot be just about us or about DeKalb County.”
“It’s not about the city of Dunwoody and our school system,” said Councilor John Heneghan. “It’s about local control and our school system. When you work at the capitol it’s not about a municipality, it’s about what is best for the general populace of the state of Georgia.”
In a discussion on text amendments, Deutsch asked city staff to research passing an ordinance to make it illegal to use cell phones while driving in school zones during school hours. Deutsch said that similar laws in other states carry high fines for violations and are very effective at deterring the practice.
Councilor Denis Shortal asked staff to look into adding a text amendment t to require public comment speakers to provide their name and address. Currently the city only requires that those giving comments provide their name, not their address.
Shortal also suggested that staff look into preventing the public from carrying signs into city meetings. At council’s meeting last week, dozens of citizens carried signs protesting two road projects. City Manager Warren Hutmacher agreed that city staff would look into the requests.
In other news, Director of Public Works Michael Smith announced a plan to form an intergovernmental agreement with DeKalb County that would expedite the removal of metal plates from city streets following water and sewer repairs. Smith told council that the current process puts the entire repair on the county. Pipe repairs occur quickly, but the county then relies on subcontractors to remove the plates and patch the road. This practice can cause delays and inconsistency in pavement repair quality.
In the agreement, Smith said that the city’s road maintenance crews would repair the street and then the city would bill the county for the repair.
Citing a metal plate on Tilly Mill Road that has been in place for at least a month, Thompson urged all on council to approve the agreement.
Shortal agreed and said that he expected the quality of road repairs to improve under the city’s control.
As a discussion item, council did not vote, but was in agreement that the IGA was a very good idea.