Dunwoody City Council members agreed on an annual budget of $16.8 million on Oct. 26 after opting not to increase millage rates for 2010. However, city employees will receive a 3.4 percent merit pay increase and the police department’s size will also expand. A budget surplus of more than $1 million has also been forecast, despite a slight decrease of revenue compared with last year.
While discussions had been relatively harmonious throughout the budgetary proposal process, Police Chief Billy Grogan’s request for two more patrol officers proved the most contentious issue. Several council members were reluctant to agree, preferring to wait until 2011, when revenue streams are expected to increase.
Instead, the department will get its two officers–but in October 2010, with one more detective arriving earlier in January and a drug taskforce agent in July.
“Obviously there’s a lot of competing interests and different priorities [for the city council to consider], I am certainly pleased and very happy with what we got,” said Grogan, who did an analysis of other cities’ police departments before making his request. “You’ve got to go through a certain process, and, obviously, people need more than you can afford.”
Grogan’s analysis was, he said, based on population size, workload, calls, reports and accidents dealt with by officers.
Delaying the hiring of patrol officers until October was the result of a compromise forged by Mayor Ken Wright, who supports Grogan but did not receive the city council’s majority backing. It is expected that incoming revenue later in 2010 will cover the $240,000 cost of hiring the officers.
Among proposed projects within the budget are more than $1 million for repaving roads, a $500,000, 20-year comprehensive plan for the Dunwoody Village and Georgetown/Shallowford Road areas and a $100,000 study to rework zoning codes.
The 2010 budget is approximately $2 million greater than last year, when revenue was about $500,000 higher.