Monday, August 17, 2015

Dunwoody City Tax Refunds are Coming

This letter arrived from City Hall this morning.  If you believe you are entitled to a city tax refund, watch your mailbox or your mortgage escrow statement.   Post in the comments if you've received yours.

Dunwoody, GA – August 17, 2015 – The City of Dunwoody completed the distribution and mailing of homestead exemption refund checks to all Dunwoody homeowners who qualified for a residential property assessment freeze exemption for the purpose of city taxes over the three year period from 2012 to 2014.

Dunwoody homeowners qualifying for the refund will receive a check according to individual annual tax payment methods. Refund payments were distributed either directly to the taxpaying homeowner or to the homeowner’s mortgage company escrow account. All affected homeowners were sent a letter from the City of Dunwoody indicating refund amounts and distribution method.

Refund payment amounts will vary according to individual property assessment increases incurred over the three year period. The City is requesting all qualifying homeowners cash or deposit the checks, regardless of the refund amount, to help ensure accurate reconciliation.

The City of Dunwoody and the DeKalb County Tax Commissioner’s Office examined residential tax records from 2012 to 2014 and determined approximately one in five residential parcels within the city were not properly credited with the property assessment freeze exemption. The city then worked closely with Tax Commissioner’s Office to issue individual refund checks and expedite check distribution and mailing.

Dunwoody homeowners who filed and qualified for a homestead exemption and received an increased property assessment during 2012, 2013 and/or 2014 above what their assessed home value was in 2009 have been mailed a refund check. Approximately 2,748 residential parcels were affected based on analysis of the Dunwoody residential tax records for the three year period. The city issued a total of approximately $150,000 plus interest in property assessment freeze refunds for affected residential parcels.

For questions or concerns regarding property assessment freeze refunds please contact City of Dunwoody Finance Director Chris Pike at

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Help Name Dunwoody's New Park on Pernoshal Ct

Dunwoody, GA – August 4, 2015 – The City of Dunwoody offers an opportunity to get involved in creating a lasting impression on the city with a newly introduced contest asking residents to name the city’s newest park at Pernoshal Court.

The “Name Your Park” contest begins August 5 and runs through September 30, 2015 and provides an opportunity for city residents to vote on potential park names or provide a write-in name. Interested residents can participate in the contest by registering at the “Name Your Park” online contest portal at

The “Name Your Park” contest offers participants a chance to choose a favorite new park name from a list of five potential selections or provide a write-in idea for a potential park name. The five potential park name selections are Pernoshal Park, Hightower Trail Park, Muskogee Park, Old Buck Park, and Magnolia Park or a write-in name submission.

Contest participants will be limited to one vote per person. After all votes are submitted the winning name will be identified by city staff and announced by the Mayor and City Council on Monday, December 14, 2015 at the 6 p.m. City Council Meeting.

The new park, located at Pernoshal Court, will be approximately 5-acres and the largest newly-built park created since incorporation. In addition to the multi-use trail, the park will have a centralized pavilion/restroom facility, 162 parking spaces for park and trail users, passive and active open areas/fields for sports, and basketball courts with a pickle ball court overlay. The park construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.

“Name your Park” contest rules and additional details on voting procedures are available at the online contest portal at

This contest/reaching out to the public to decide the identity of the new park is a classic case of Doing Something Right.  There is enormous talent, skill, perspective, and insight about our city and region right inside our borders.  That local citizen perspective (and skill set) should be the first go-to resource in building elements that contribute to our shared municipal identity.  Bonus points for the write-in option.

IMHO - I would not name any of our parks or other city features after a single person.  There is too much room for egos to get in the way and it would block the "organic" growth and evolution of identity.  No disrespect intended to Liane Levitan, but the locals think of Brook Run Park as Brook Run Park.  A space can be set aside to immortalize the efforts of individuals to establish a major feature (like a park) but leave naming the feature itself to the citizens.

Paving Dunwoody Roads, Timing, and Teachable Moments

(Insert picture here of Dunwoody ES, Vanderlyn ES, Dunwoody HS parking lots overflowing on to side streets during registration while road work continues on both Vermack and Womack.)

A picture of the streets-turned-parking-lots right outside of Dunwoody ES would have said all that needs to be said about schools and traffic.  But it isn't the first day of school - it's Registration Day in DeKalb County and that means that our centrally-located intersection with 3 public schools in close proximity are packed to the gills.  It wasn't safe to inch through the line while snagging a cell-phone photo of the above.

But wait, there's more.

Two much needed street improvements are also occurring at the same time.  (paving on Vermack, a refuge island outside of Dunwoody ES on Womack)

Discussion was had on Facebook with Terry Nall about the construction and its timing.  Terry reports that the contractor was required to complete work before the first day of school.
The work on both Vanderlyn Dr and Vermack Rd was intentionally scheduled to be completed before school started back.
Anyone who has ever had a child in public schools even for a single year can see the problem with that logic.  The "first day of school" is not the first day that activity gets heated in public schools.  Teachers and staff return in advance to set up their classrooms and get other operations in order.  then a few days BEFORE the first day of school is registration.  Even with prepping paperwork through the summer, families have to show up on registration day to finalize it all.  Dunwoody ES had a packed parking lot with overflow parking clogging both driveways.  Parking for all three schools spread into the neighborhood side streets.  A roundabout would have done nothing to ease the congestion at Dunwoody's most controversial intersection.

So what did we learn today?

1)  Allowing contractors to schedule street work at the last minute results in a clusterf*** by any definition.
2)  The "first day of school" is not a reasonable deadline for road work.  Assume the contractors are going to wait to the last minute to finish up.
3)  The real deadline should be a week before the first day of school, to get out of the way prior to registration.
4)  Whoever made this decision can read a calendar but needs to brush up on the actual start-of-school logistics.

Remember an earlier post where I said it's time to stop making mistakes?  This would be a good mistake to stop making.  Fortunately it's an easy one to fix.  Start construction projects around schools immediately after school lets out in May and mandate completion before August 1.

Best of luck to everyone in this new school year!