Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Update from Councilman Wittenstein; Condition of Springfield Roads

The following is a letter from Dunwoody City Councilman Robert Wittenstein. Among the topics Robert discusses is the condition of our streets, which were recently laser measured. Streets were rated from "excellent" to "very poor." In Springfield, Conover, Courtleigh, Mill Brook, Summerford Dr. and Springfield Court were all rated as "good," which basically means they won't be repaved for quite some time. Springfield Dr. and Summerford Court were rated as fair, which means they likely will be repaved sooner, but likely not in the very near future.
For more, read Robert's letter as well as the following link: Dunwoody Roads.

Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,
I spent this past weekend at the Georgia Municipal Association’s semi-annual conference in Atlanta. As part of that event I took a one day course taught by a UGA instructor on “An Introduction to Municipal Finance”. While it was pretty basic, it is a prerequisite for Municipal Finance II, which is taught over the summer in Savannah. I learned that we are doing many things right. Our budget process, financial controls and reporting are superior to what many other cities are accustomed to—even cities with much larger budgets.

I also had a change to meet counterparts in other cities, hear from state legislative leaders and participate in discussions on policies that effect municipal governments.
This coming weekend I will travel with the rest of the city council to Franklin, TN. Franklin and Dunwoody have a lot in common. Like Dunwoody, Franklin is a suburb of a major metropolitan city (Franklin is located roughly 20 miles outside of Nashville.) Franklin’s population and demographics mirror Dunwoody in that they are highly educated (33% with bachelor’s degrees and 15% with graduate degrees) and relatively affluent (average household income $80,778). As with Dunwoody, Franklin has made a deliberate choice to maintain its thoroughfares as two-lane roads and preserve their existing neighborhoods and single-family homes that surround downtown. We will tour Franklin and meet with their staff and elected officials.
Our preliminary year-end financial numbers are now available. Once you adjust out the HOST funds, which are still subject to a court battle with the County, and the lease payment due in January for our start-up costs, we ended the year with a surplus of $1.2 million, which is 6.4% of our budget. I think that shows great financial management. 2010 will be a difficult year. We had one source of income in 2009 that we won’t have in 2010—Franchise fees from Georgia Power. Our 2010 franchise fees won’t be paid to Dunwoody until March of 2011, so we are headed into a lean year. We will need to watch our spending very carefully.
Late in 2009 we commissioned an in-depth study of our roads. It will come as no surprise that the condition of our roads is only fair. To bring all of your roads up to excellent condition it would cost $23 million—about $2,000 per household. Obviously we can’t do all of that in one or two years. Some significant findings include:

  • Although the overall condition of the city’s pavement is described as “fair”, the majority of the city’s pavement is at a point where it is beginning to deteriorate at an accelerated rate due to its age and lack of maintenance.

  • Approximately $2 million per year is needed to maintain the current condition of the overall road system. If we want to gradually improve the road system we will need to budget $2.7 million for the next ten years.

  • Currently, there is a 13% backlog of roads in “poor” condition. Even at appropriate funding levels, this backlog will remain and may even grow slightly in the first 5 years of the pavement management program.

Would you like to see how your street is rated? Check out the full report at the city’s web site: http://www.dunwoodyga.gov/Libraries/Public_Works_Documents/01-13-10_City-wide_Pavement_Evaluation.sflb.ashx. Every street in Dunwoody is listed and the condition of the pavement is rated.

Finally, please try to join us this coming Thursday, January 28th for our 1st year Celebration. It will be held at the 1420 Room on Dunwoody Village Parkway at 5:00pm. We will have displays of “historic” artifacts and prepare a time capsule. Ken Wright will make his “State of the City” address. There will be food and refreshments and the event is free and open to the public. Several corporate sponsors are underwriting the event and we thank them for their support. Please try to stop by and say hello.
Regards,
Robert

1 comment:

Chip said...

While the demographics of Franklin, TN parallel the demographics of Dunwoody, you certainly can't make the same analogy with the geography!!

Franklin is some 10-15 miles OUTSIDE the 440 loop around Nashville. An the Nashville Metro area has only 1/3 the population of Atlanta Metro.

Franklin is also flanked on the east by I-65 (a major N-S corridor) and there doesn't seem to be much need for E-W traffic through the greater Franklin area. Sure, Franklin has a similar population to Dunwoody and even has a major mall along the Interstate as a visitor draw, but their access seems much better than the corresponding access thru Dunwoody.

Now, I just spent 3 minutes on Google looking up Franklin, but I have to wonder how much "street maintenance" advice is relative to Dunwoody's situation? We're trying to "push a string uphill" if we think we're going to maintain our idyllic two-lane charm if we don't do some major intersection improvements to help traffic flow better along the roads we have.

I'm not in the camp that the only improvement to Dunwoody roads must be four or six lane roads. There's a lot to be done by distinguishing between "widening an intersection" and "widening a road."

The Council seems to be unaware or uninterested in these distinctions!!