Brookhaven City Council last month put in motion two resolutions for the Georgia legislature, and they’re not done yet. 

At the Feb. 15 City Council meeting, the body approved a resolution to ask the Georgia General Assembly to select Brookhaven as a pilot community for local choice voting in the 2023 General Municipal Election Cycle. 

Local choice voting is also called ranked choice. Instead of holding a runoff between two candidates who did not reach a majority vote, voters will choose their second choice at the time of the general election. 

Municipal elections will be held Nov. 7.

Mayor Pro Tem Linley Jones said voters are weary of runoff elections. 

“[Local choice voting] eliminates runoff elections, which I think people are so, so weary of and we want to be at the vanguard of getting rid of the runoff elections, let our voters go to the polls once both for the candidates they want and come out with a decision,” said Jones. 

City sending parks updates via snail mail

Brookhaven City Council approved two resolutions to begin work on Briarwood and Brookhaven Parks.  

Mailboxes across Brookhaven are receiving a flyer on the city’s parks plans, including a Parks Bonds Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The information includes estimated spending for six parks: Ashford Park, Blackburn Park, Briarwood Park, Brookhaven Park, Lynwood Park and Murphey Candler Park.   

The parks update comes as Brookhaven is moving forward with building a 4,000 square foot lake house at Murphey Candler Park; upgrading the Briarwood Recreation Center parking lot, stormwater and utilities as well as adding a new community garden; and at Brookhaven Park, building a dog park, playground, pavilions and restrooms. 

In July 2018, nearly 60% of Brookhaven residents voted yes on a park bond referendum and $40 million in capital improvements was authorized for parks and facilities. The mayor in 2019 appointed the Parks Bond Oversight Committee to stay involved in the master plan process, project design and expenditures. 

When Brookhaven incorporated in 2012, the city inherited 12 DeKalb County parks. Based on completed master plans, the city’s planning firm in 2018 estimated $77.5 million was needed for park improvements.

The Urban Redevelopment Agency asked the City Council to approve a supplemental resolution to the Series 2023A bonds, which passed in December 2022. The $88.5 million in bonds will finance a new City Hall, structural and streetscape improvements and multi-use paths and sidewalks.

“A local government is reflective of the residents it represents, and Brookhaven residents want and deserve quality,” Mayor John Ernst said. “The bonds will empower us to improve the quality of our infrastructure and construct an iconic City Hall, and the ratings on the bonds from Moody’s and S&P are a powerful endorsement of the quality of our fiscal stewardship.”

Brookhaven received the highest rating from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s on the financial health, management and fiscal policies of the city. 

Caution: Road detours and closures ahead

Ashford Dunwoody Road is closing from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during Feb. 24-28 to complete the right turn lanes at Peachtree Road. Construction crews are factoring in extra time in anticipation of rain. 

“The contractor plans on having the roads open in the evenings and overnight, so the work would take place just during the course of the day,” Public Works Director Don Sherrill said.  

Traffic from Peachtree Road will detour to Lanier and Windsor Parkway. Signage and message boards are going up to alert commuters. More information can be found here.  

A contract with Southeastern Site Development in the amount of $1.9 million was approved for the construction of the W. Nancy Creek Drive Bridge. 

Peter Vanderzee, a Brookhaven resident of 25 years and mechanical engineer, spoke during public comment. His repeated attempts to meet with the city were deflected. 

“After reviewing this information and discussing the scope and costs with my bridge engineering colleagues, it became plainly obvious that this project was not being managed to minimize cost. Rather it was being rushed to complete at any cost,” Vanderzee said. “Start insisting on spending discipline with taxpayer funds especially for large projects that can easily get out of control.”

Council members held an executive session to discuss litigation. No votes were taken.

In other news, several appointments were made to city commissions. 

  • Brian D. Brown was appointed to Arts and Culture Commission until June 2025 to replace resigned commissioner Tim Scarborough. One vacancy on the commission remains. 
  • Ariana Bryant, CHOA community development officer, and Jerry Goebler, an operator of multiple Chick-fil-A restaurants, were appointed to the Brookhaven Convention and Visitors Bureau to replace Diane Geyer as trustees. Their positions expire December 2024.
  • Sharletta McKinney was appointed to Brookhaven Planning Commission to replace Kimberly Adams through 2023. 
  • Sandra Bryant, deputy city clerk for the city of Brookhaven, was appointed as assistant secretary of the Brookhaven Urban Redevelopment Agency. Susan Hiott remains URA secretary. 

Logan C. RitchieStaff Writer

Logan C. Ritchie writes features and covers Brookhaven for Rough Draft Atlanta.