The Dunwoody City Council at its Jan. 9 meeting discussed its December retreat and reviewed goals for 2023, including the possibility of introducing a general obligation bond to finance parks development and other unfunded improvements within the city.

A presentation by Dunwoody Assistant Manager Jay Vinicki highlighted completed items, including the installation of 27 additional license plate readers along surface streets and the construction of restrooms at the newly opened Waterford Park.

Other projects that are ongoing include an organizational assessment of the Dunwoody Police Department by an outside vendor and the installation of additional lighting on the Brook Run multiuse trail.

One initiative that Vinicki described as “two steps forward and one step back” was the mental health responder program, which began in the summer of 2022.

“We engaged with a community service board who came back to us and said, ‘we can’t staff this,’” Vinicki said. “It’s another position in today’s economy that’s hard to fill. We are trying to come back with a secondary alternative because even in the short time we had this service, we saw the value in it.”

Another in-progress item is exploring how to improve ambulance service response time, which is in the discussion process between the city and the county. Dunwoody is contracted with DeKalb County for ambulance services, and residents have complained for years about the slow response times.

In other action, the council swore in its latest police officer hire, Mario Umana, who was previously employed by the Smyrna Police Department.

The council also discussed possible changes that would allow for better traffic flow around the Dunwoody Village area, including the possible installation of a roundabout at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Chamblee Dunwoody Roads. Dunwoody Public Works Director Michael Smith said the improvements would be costly with minimal benefits. No action was taken after the discussion.

The council also heard about:

  • Progress on the Georgetown Gateway Project, which may cause minor traffic delays in the next few months;
  • A new liquor store coming to the former Rite Aid location on Chamblee Dunwoody Road near Peeler Road;
  • Two recent ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Morty’s Meat & Supply and Bagel 101 in the Dunwoody Village Shopping Center;
  • The publication of the January edition of the city’s Dunwoody Digest magazine;
  • The fact that the city did not have to dip into its reserves to balance its 2022 budget;
  • Changes to the sign ordinance to update the code based on “tracking of outcomes and impacts in order to simplify the code, fix issues in the code and increase its usability.” The council passed the amendments on first read.

Cathy Cobbs

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at