Katie Dunagan

Candidate for Brookhaven City Council, District 2

Website: https://votekatiedunagan.com/

Click here for a full list of Brookhaven City Council candidates.

1) What are three issues directly affecting your district you would plan to address while serving on the council?

Right now, our City Council needs to return back to the basic principle of why Brookhaven was created in the first place – local control that puts the power of our  community’s future in the hands of residents. They need to understand the impacts of  their decisions on our lives, and they’ve lost sight of that.  

I will focus primarily on ensuring any development reflects the needs of our communities  and takes neighborhood voices into account on how it impacts our schools, traffic, and  other concerns. 

I will also focus on improving the transparency of how our City Council operates. If we’re not honest about what we’re doing, Brookhaven residents cannot trust us. Transparency reflects honesty, and that’s how I believe we should operate. 

Crime needs to be a central focus, too. Our first responders must have the means and resources they need to be forward thinking community servants.

2) Brookhaven is expected to receive recommendations from the Social Justice, Race and Equity Commission (SJREC) this year. How should the council go about making active steps to ensure those are implemented properly?

I think before implementation can even be discussed, the recommendations will need to be vetted and voted on by the City Council for legality, reasonability, and effectiveness. However, once the recommendations are agreed upon, possible ideas would be continuing education sessions, monthly reviews on progress, and ongoing feedback from the community.

3) What can the council do to better public safety?

I believe our police department is one of the highlights of what makes Brookhaven  great, and one of the main reasons I voted to become a city years ago. We need to  continue to attract and retain exceptional talent. I would like to see our police  department more involved in development conversations as they can provide important insight into safety and how future development would affect their ability to do their jobs.  I would also like to see an increase in the drone and controller budget, which would  allow additional coverage and decreased incident response time.  

4) Would you make affordable housing a priority for this next council? If so, what do you think the council can do?

Affordable housing in Brookhaven needs to remain a priority especially now as the rent moratorium is lifted and many of our residents seek lower priced housing. As the  multifamily complexes need rehabilitation due to age, it is important the city of  Brookhaven encourages the price point to remain consistent, so current residents are  not affected. I would also propose we get resident input by including an Affordable  Housing Bond on a future ballot to get a full view of how the community values  affordable housing. 

5) With COVID-19 cases back on the rise, what more can the council do to address and promote safety from the virus?

Clarification: COVID-19 cases were rising when The Reporter initially asked candidates this question. COVID-19 cases in Georgia can be tracked on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website.

Since Georgia’s State of Emergency was lifted on July 1, it is up to the City Council to make sure our employees and contractors feel comfortable returning to work in person by providing adequate cleaning and an opportunity for social distancing.  Remote work should continue to be offered if the employee can do their job to its full extent remotely. Other companies within the city of Brookhaven look to our city’s safety protocols as an example and will follow our lead. The city of Brookhaven should continue to support our local testing site, now located at Northeast Plaza, for quick confirmation of COVID-19 cases in order to promote the best contact tracing and  quarantine procedures.

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.