The city of Dunwoody’s proposed $25 million budget for 2019 includes much of the money needed to cover costs of building two new athletic fields at Brook Run Park and the construction of a small band shell for live performances.

How to spend the city’s new revenue from the hotel-motel tax increase approved last year is not part of the 2019 budget, however. The city approved raising the hotel-motel tax specifically to fund green spaces and trails in Perimeter Center where the hotels are located. City officials are waiting to see how much money will be generated and how to best finance the various projects.

The proposed budget is slated to go before the City Council in October to be approved.

“Brook Run Park is big on the budget this year, probably the biggest item,” Mayor Denis Shortal said in an interview.

How to pay for Brook Run Park’s proposed new amenities has been a hot topic among the council this year. A yearlong master planning process was undertaken and council members are planning to approve funding by the end of the year before construction costs rise.

Current estimates for all the proposed new amenities at Brook Run Park total $7.5 million. These include the two new fields, the band shell, but also a new picnic area, a new open play field, a new entrance and a disc golf course.

The fields and band shell with amphitheater seating together are estimated to cost right at $5 million, according to the latest estimates. The council will consider the final estimates in December.

Shortal said the proposed budget includes spending the nearly $3 million left over from a DeKalb parks bond settlement in 2015 at Brook Run Park.
Another approximate $1.5 million is also being picked up by the city this year from DeKalb County from the now defunct homestead option sales tax, he explained.

When DeKalb voters last year approved a special local option sales tax to fund transportation and public safety, they also approved an equitable homestead option sales tax.

Revenue from the EHOST and SPLOST started flowing into the city from the county in April.

But that meant their HOST funding was still in play for January, February and March. And for Dunwoody, those three months of HOST money means about $2 million for Brook Run Park, Shortal said.

The city expects to receive about $7 million a year for the next six years in SPLOST funding.

Other highlights of the proposed 2019 budget include more than $3 million for paving and sidewalk improvements, including money for the Chamblee-Dunwoody Road at Spalding Drive intersection improvement project and the Tilly Mill Road sidewalk project.

Another hot topic — what to do with the Dunwoody Village Overlay — is addressed in the proposed budget with $100,000 for a consultant to work with the city on any needed updates and zoning revisions.

The bulk of the city’s revenues next year is expected to come from more than $21 million in taxes and another $1.6 million from licenses and permits.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.