Jim Riticher

Candidate for Dunwoody City Council, District 2 Local

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

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

Things are going well in Dunwoody. The quick answer is more of the same, and we will continue to improve.

The biggest issue in Dunwoody is the problem with the school system. Overcrowding is a multi-generational problem. I will do whatever I can to help the DeKalb County School District make the new Chamblee-Dunwoody Elementary a reality ASAP, but ultimately this, and schools in general, is the school district’s responsibility. I will support the city’s responsibility, which is to improve roads, intersections, sidewalks and paths in the vicinity of the school.

I will continue my support of our robust parks program with the new Perimeter Center East Park going under construction in 2022, planning/community input for the old Austin Elementary School site,  and the new Vermack Road property. I will listen carefully to the community regarding needs for those parks.

Thirdly, I will continue my support of the city’s progress in catching up on 25 years of county neglect on road repaving and stormwater system refurbishment. No one likes having alligatored paving and sinkholes!

2) Other communities have created social justice commissions to deal with issues of equity and race, particularly following the events of last year. Do you think that’s something Dunwoody could benefit from?

There are problems around the country and the state in these areas, and I am not in favor of spending time, money, and energy in solving problems that are not present in any significant way in Dunwoody. If this were to change, I support action. Our police are effective while being very respectful of all citizens in our community, and reasonably closely mirror our racial make up. We should be and are proud of this.

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

We will continue to well-fund and fully support our excellent police force, and I am recommending appropriate increases for 2022 as chair of the budget committee.

I remain concerned with ambulance response times, and we have been down this road in depth. The state’s ambulance zone system gives control of that to DeKalb County. I encourage our state senator and representative, Sally Harrell and Mike Wilensky, to work on this archaic system that is Byzantine and opaque, two adjectives I hate having to use for a key government function.

4) How can the council support development in the Dunwoody Village while balancing the concerns of residents?

The Dunwoody Village Zoning Overlay had massive citizen participation and input, and I voted for it. Restaurant improvements and new restaurant plans are already happening.

There are two properties still under consideration that were not included initially, and given that these represent an open zoning case, I am limited in what I can say, other than that I am hopeful a compromise that will be good for all can be achieved.

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.

I have carefully followed COVID-19 issues for 18+ months now. While we are in a spike in cases as compared to last spring, cases in DeKalb County are starting to fall per DeKalb Public Health, so it would be inaccurate to say they are rising.

Council’s most important Covid issue is allocation of American Rescue Plan funds of over $9 million, and this will be of huge importance over the next year. We are still evaluating how to proceed and are waiting on updated rules from the Federal level.

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.