Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Suing Ourselves

The website definites absurd: utterly or obviously senseless, illogical, or untrue; contrary to all reason or common sense; laughably foolish or false: an absurd explanation.
With that said, the word absurd most definitely fits to describe someone that files a lawsuit against himself (or herself). 

Burrell Ellis
That's exactly what we, the taxpayers of both the City of Dunwoody and County of DeKalb, have done.  We are suing ourselves!  We are using taxpayer money to hire one attorney, and more taxpayer money to hire another attorney to argue the case against that first attorney.  And, oh by the way, these are not discount attorneys (the attorney hired by Dunwoody is former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Leah Ward Sears).
In case you haven't heard, Dunwoody is suing DeKalb for $7 million.  That's what the city says it is owed by the county in bond money promised for Brook Run Park.  Do I blame the city for suing?  No.  I blame the county, in particular CEO Burrell Ellis, for not forking over the cash that was clearly promised for Brook Run (it's fairly easy to follow the paper trail - see John Heneghan's site).  It's a losing lawsuit, and in the end, we, the taxpayers of Dunwoody, are the big losers.  After all, it's our money being spent, and not the money of our CEO, who apparently finds it necessary to flex his ego over this issue.

At this point it would be appropriate to use the words "arrogant idiot" and pass along's definition of those words, but it might be easier to simply "google" Vernon Jones!  Harsh?  You bet!  But I'm tired of my tax dollars being wasted!!!!

Below is Dunwoody Councilman Robert Wittenstein's letter regarding the lawsuit, as well as other city business.
Dear Dunwoody Friends and Neighbors,

I am sorry it has come to this, but this week we filed a lawsuit against DeKalb County in an effort to get them to turn over about $7 million in unspent bond funds earmarked for Brook Run park improvements. When we formed the city, we reconciled ourselves to the fact that we would continue to pay property taxes to retire almost $100 million in county debt from a 2005 parks bond issue. To balance that, we at least expected the county to recognize that the $7 million in unspent funds for Brook Run needed to be spent for the original purpose. We have held multiple meetings with the County CEO and members of the Board of Commissioners but they have dug their heels in. Our last letter in September was completely ignored. So now, both sides will get expensive lawyers and we, the taxpayers, will pay for the litigation expense on both sides. It is truly unfortunate that it has come to this.

Speaking of parks, we are in the final stages of developing a Dunwoody Parks Master Plan. This plan will include an updated master plan for Brook Run and highlight opportunities to improve our park offerings. I am very excited about this progress. One of the areas of DeKalb County’s neglect that is the hardest to overcome is the lack of parks they created in Dunwoody. It is easy to hire police and to pave roads but to acquire the land and develop the parks system we should have will be a commitment we will need to undertake over a number of years. The draft plan should be available in late February.

We are also making excellent progress on developing master plans for Dunwoody Village and the Georgetown area. These plans will help developers understand what the community would like to see built in these areas and should help guide private redevelopment. I hope that part of the plan will include a traditional ‘town green’ where we can have outdoor concerts and a gathering place for Dunwoody residents.

In other Dunwoody news, we will end the year with a slightly larger surplus than expected largely because the Insurance Tax payment from the state will be larger than we budgeted. This is the first time this tax has been paid to us (it is paid a year in arrears) so we had been conservative in estimating the amount.

Have a happy and safe New Year!



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