The Dunwoody Capital Prioritization Committee voted 2-1 to recommend to the City Council that the city not move forward with a bond referendum in 2022.
The council initially voted to create the Capital Prioritization Committee in April, tasking the committee with refining a list of capital projects ahead of a possible bond referendum, which is a voting process that would allow voters to decide if a city should be authorized to raise funds for specific projects through bonds to be paid back over time.
The committee and larger City Council have met multiple times over the past few months to debate the merits of putting a bond referendum on the ballot in November of 2022. The Capital Prioritization Committee met on July 15 following a July 11 City Council meeting where many council members said they didn’t know if the city had enough shovel-ready projects to justify moving forward with a bond this year.
The Capital committee is made up of three council members: Catherine Lautenbacher, Joe Seconder, and John Heneghan. All three council members said they personally agreed that a bond referendum should not go forward in November of 2022.
“A November  referendum for me is off the table,” Heneghan said.
The committee agreed they would feel more comfortable postponing a possible bond, and working towards a referendum in November of 2023. The committee members discussed the status of several capital projects – including parks at Roberts Drive and Vermack Road and trail projects – to get an idea of what would need to be done to make that possible.
“We need to march down the road so we’re ready,” Lautenbacher said.
Seconder said he would like for the council to come to a consensus on the level of detail needed for each project to be considered for a bond.
“I’d like to have a reset on the whole process and understand what we need to come back with,” Seconder said. “I’d like to set back and create a new project plan … and all come to a consensus, and council as a whole say, here’s the level of detail that we feel comfortable for each item.”
Heneghan and Lautenbacher agreed with the recommendation to not present a possible 2022 bond referendum list to council at the next meeting. While Seconder agreed that a bond referendum should probably not go on the ballot in November of 2022, he voted against the recommendation to not present a project list to the council.
“I thought that we were just focused on capital projects, and it was up to the council as a whole to decide whether or not to move forward,” Seconder said. “I didn’t even understand I would be asked, as part of being on this committee, to recommend to the council whether or not they wanted to move forward or not.”
Assistant City Manager Jay Vinicki suggested that at the next council meeting, one of the committee members make a motion to not move forward with a bond in 2022. The next Dunwoody City Council meeting is expected to take place on July 25.