The Dunwoody Homeowners Association’s executive committee elected its new president and honored several people in the community for their contributions at its annual meeting on Sunday, Jan. 28, at Saint Luke’s Presbyterian Church.
The meeting also included guest speakers DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond and Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter and Dunwoody resident Greg Bluestein.
Adrienne Duncan was selected as the new DHA president, replacing outgoing president Robert Wittenstein. Those making up the rest of the executive board are Erika Harris, vice president; John Sparks, treasurer; Gerri Penn, secretary; and Kerry DeVallette and Wittenstein are at-large members.
Those receiving awards were:
Former City Councilmember Doug Thompson with the Community Service Award for his service on the council and his advocacy for parks, trails and for being business friendly.
Bill Grossman, organizer of the annual Food Truck Thursdays event, as Citizen of the Year.
Business of the Year went to E. 48th Street Market for its role in securing 53 food baskets for families of Kingsley Elementary School. The family-owned business became concerned after Hurricane Irma struck leading into the Thanksgiving holiday that many children would be without food because schools were forced to close.
“Winning this award means we have achieved our primary goal to be part of the community,” said Anita Augello.
Thurmond touched on several topics, including the county’s financial stability and its ongoing efforts to stop sewage spills as part of the 2010 federal consent decree. The steps include inspecting 220 miles of creek crossings, where last year two year major sewage spills occurred, including 3.9 million gallons of raw sewage spilled into Nancy Creek in Brookhaven and near Sandy Springs.
With voters approving DeKalb’s first special local option sales tax last year, the county will receive nearly $400 million over the next six years to be used toward roads, bridges, public safety. Thurmond, a Democrat, thanked Republican state Sen. Fran Millar of Dunwoody, who was at the DHA meeting, for his help in getting the legislation through the General Assembly. He also noted that “much to [his] embarrassment],” Millar likes to describe how a white Republican from Dunwoody and a black Democrat DeKalb CEO were able to come together to pass the SPLOST.
“We came together and decided potholes don’t discriminate … and this was a way to reduce residential property taxes. That’s a big deal,” Thurmond said.
Councilmember Terry Nall asked Thurmond about the late garbage pickups recently. While much of the delays were due to the MLK holiday and snow and icy roads, a recent delay has caused confusion, Nall said.
Thurmond said the county has a shortage of sanitation workers and said most of them make $12 an hour. His budget proposal to raise the county minimum wage to $14 could give the county a recruiting edge to fill such jobs. Thurmond also noted DeKalb has 150 paid vacant positions in its police department that they are currently trying to fill.
In his comments, Bluestein noted how Republicans in the suburbs are stepping down from legislative seats to run for higher office along with many Republicans simply retiring from office. Democrats “are circling the suburbs” and putting forth candidates for these seats and other GOP seats where there have been no challengers for years, he said, which is an indication of how this region is dramatically changing.
Bluestein said the “cloud hanging over everything” is the Amazon HQ2 bid. At the General Assembly, he said, “no one wants to be the politician that screws it up.”