The Dunwoody City Council has voted unanimously to approve more than $1.6 million on construction of Project Renaissance parks. Georgia Development Partners was the low bidder on the project which includes four parks interspersed within a 16-acre tract of land in the Georgetown area. The acreage also includes construction of homes by John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods.
The parks include one with a playground targeted for children, a square park with a gazebo, a natural trails park in a wooded area, and a linear park sometimes referred to as a multi-use trail. Council also approved a $50,000 contingency for unforeseen conditions during the development stage.
All other votes on council were not unanimous including a proposal to allocate $10,000 in support of a summer concert series at Brook Run Park to be run by the Dunwoody Homeowners’ Association. The proposal was tabled by a vote of 5-2. Councilors Denny Shortal and Doug Thompson voted against tabling the item.
Shortal spoke in favor of the concert series and said it was mind boggling to him that council would not approve it. Events like this build community spirit, said Shortal.
Councilor John Heneghan spoke in favor of events like this but thought the city was jumping the gun on moving forward with something that the DHA had not yet discussed.
A vote to approve the expenditure did not mean that the city was moving forward with the concert series, said Councilor Doug Thompson. The vote would simply allow the city manager to spend the money if the DHA or another non-profit organization wanted to take on the project.
Councilor Terry Nall voted to table the item and said that providing this kind of support for nonprofit organizations to hold events was unprecedented and would create disparity in how the city treats one over another.
Votes to approve a salary increase for City Clerk Sharon Lowery and to amend City Manager Warren Hutmacher’s contract were also not unanimous. Initially on the consent agenda, the items were moved at the request of Councilor Adrian Bonser who said that support of these changes was not unanimous and wanted council to have the opportunity to cast individual votes.
• Lowery’s salary increase was 4.75 percent.
• Hutmacher’s contract change included a 4 percent salary increase bringing his annual pay to just over $166,000
• Vacation days increase to 20 days annually
• Monthly car allowance increase bringing the total to $630 per month
Council voted 6-1 to approve the above changes for Lowery and Hutmacher. Bonser voted no. She said that she was acting as a good steward of the taxpayer’s money and that she didn’t believe that in this economy every employee automatically deserves an annual salary increase.
In other news, council discussed moving their work session meetings from a small conference room situated off of the main council chambers to the dais, the raised platform area. Shortal proposed the move for several reasons including issues with the sound system and for the security of council.
All agreed that sound has been an issue when council occupies the small conference room and decided to try all meetings at the dais for a few months.