The Dunwoody budget committee on Oct. 20 met to discuss an expected $500,000 surplus projected in the 2016 budget.
Finance Director Chris Pike said the initial 2016 budget called to put any surplus into reserves, but the City Council preferred instead to fund projects that were “on the horizon,” he said.
“We projected all the revenues and appropriated expenses and there was $500,000 left over,” Pike said.
City Council members Lynn Deutsch, Jim Riticher and Doug Thompson, the budget committee, decided which projects to fund from a shortlist collected by public works, public safety and other department heads.
They chose to spend $156,000 to complete a sidewalk on Village Creek Drive, which Pike placed at the top of the list to identify it as a top priority.
During the Oct. 12 City Council meeting, Councilman John Heneghan raised questions about funding additional mowing along interchanges so when drivers come into Dunwoody the city looks presentable. Pike said he added $15,000 to mow the grass along interchanges was added and approved by the budget committee.
Completing the sidewalk and bike lane along Peeler Road between Chamblee-Dunwoody and North Peachtree roads for the segment from Olde Village Lane to North Peachtree. The $50,000 design cost made sense, committee members said, because the road was already scheduled for resurfacing and paving.
Though a request to fund a new patrol officer position was on the list, Deustch said she’d rather not fund the position.
“I’m hesitant to fund hiring an officer because it’s an ongoing expense,” she said. “I’d rather spend the money on capital investments because then if something dramatic changes in the economy next year we’re not adding a position that we can’t really afford.”
The committee did approve a request to replace an additional 10 in-car cameras beyond what the 2016 budget allocated for police equipment. The committee also approved a request to upgrade and replace police interview room recording equipment. The total cost approved for police equipment is $38,000.
Pike said the thought process in adding projects to design and construct a sidewalk on Womack Road for $300,000 and add a $400,000 sidewalk project at Olde Village Lane at Olde Village Run was to get partial funding in place.
“Go ahead and ear-mark some funds,” Pike said, for things such as design and right of way acquisition. “These are projects that most likely won’t start in 2016 anyway, but if we give some initial funding, we can go ahead and address them quickly in 2017.”
Pike suggested allocating $50,000 to the sidewalk projects, but the committee chose not to.
After looking at and agreeing to spend $50,000 designing the multi-use trail on Cotillion Drive, Thompson brought up adding the Winters Chapel Road multi-use trail project.
“I was a little miffed that Cotillion multi-use project was on our list and Winters Chapel was not on our sidewalk priority list. The response I got back from public works was that the Winters Chapel was a transportation project and not a sidewalk project.”
Thompson said the project was a “streetscape project” and the designers specifically told him they wouldn’t deal with transportation issues. “I can’t in my heart of hearts justify funding Cotillion and not also at least partially funding Winters Chapel.”
Deutsch suggested allocating $50,000 to Winters Chapel Road multi-use trail, which the committee approved. That brought the total to about $360,000.
“That brings the total to about $359,000 and I don’t care if we spend anymore,” Deustch said.