The Dunwoody City Council voted unanimously July 24 to approve a resolution to create a Public Facilities Authority. The authority’s members will be the mayor and City Council and the first meeting to appoint officers is slated for September.

The act to create the Public Facilities Authority in Dunwoody was approved by the state legislature and signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal in May. Economic Development Director Michael Starling said the vote this week was part of the mayor and council’s desire to be transparent.

The authority was mainly created so it could enter into long-term lease agreement with the Dunwoody Nature Center and other entities rather than only one-year renewable leases.

“Under current state law, the City Council can not bind future councils with a long-term lease agreement. The facilities authority is able to enter into such contracts and this will allow us to negotiate a long-term agreement,” Nature Center Executive Director Alan Mothner said.

“As we seek further funding for a capital campaign among corporations and foundations, they need the assurance of a long-term lease so that any funds donated for capital improvements remain under the control of the Nature Center, and not another entity that may use the property at a future time,” he said.

The Nature Center is undertaking a $2.6 million capitol campaign to add facilities to its current venue at city-owned Dunwoody Park to expand programming and to meet the growing need for residents and visitors to come to the park.

Outside of entering into long-term leases, a Public Facilities Authority would also have the ability to purchase materials tax exempt and potentially establish future finance opportunities such as bond funding. Cities like Decatur, Peachtree Corners and Sandy Springs have similarly established a Public Facilities Authority.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.