With a new mayor and two new City Council members, Dunwoody is set to begin the second chapter in its young life.
In the Dec. 6 runoff, voters elected Mike Davis mayor and Terry Nall to the Post 4 seat on the council.
Along with Lynn Deutsch, who was elected Nov. 8 to the Post 5 seat, the three will replace founding council members Danny Ross and Robert Wittenstein and Mayor Ken Wright.
Wright, who did not run for reelection, said he thinks the changes will be positive for the city.
“I think it will be different and I’m confident that everybody has got Dunwoody’s best interests at heart and they’re going to work hard and dedicate themselves to the community,” Wright said.
Rep. Tom Taylor, who represents Dunwoody in the Georgia House of Representatives, said it’s possible that the results of the runoff election were tied to the way people voted on the parks bonds.
On Nov. 8, voters shot down two parks bonds: one that would have allowed the city to spend up to $33 million to acquire park land and another $33 million bond to improve and develop parks.
“I think the telling issue was the parks bonds in the initial election in November,” said Taylor, who was one of the original members of the Dunwoody City Council before resigning to run for the state House of Representatives. “With a 2-to-1 vote against those bonds, it showed there was a lot of folks worried about taking on that much debt in this economy, in uncertain times.”
Taylor said the results of the election in November as well as the runoff expressed the mood of voters.
“It almost mirrored results in the bond referendum there with Bob Dallas for mayor and Robert Wittenstein for council,” Taylor said. “They were both in favor of the bonds and their opponents were not.”
Davis collected 3,432 votes, about 60 percent of the total. Opponent Bob Dallas received 2,268 votes, for about 40 percent, according to official results from the DeKalb Board of Voter Registrations and Elections.
For City Council Post 4, Nall collected 3,699 votes, or about 65 percent of the total, to unseat Councilman Robert Wittenstein, the incumbent. Wittenstein collected 1,981, or about 35 percent of the votes.
DeKalb County reported a 22.6 percent voter turnout.
Nall believes that his message of disciplined spending resonated with voters.
“I think voters said we want to return to focused priorities, basic priorities, and live within our means while accomplishing that,” Nall said.
Davis said his priority as mayor is to be a good steward of the city’s resources.
“We need to get back to basics,” Davis said. “Dunwoody needs to stop buying stuff and start fixing stuff.”
Wright said the newly elected council members will be running a city rather than starting one from scratch as the current council members did when they took office three years ago.
“I think you’ve got a completely, really separate set of circumstances. You’ve got one where you’ve got to get a city successfully off the ground. The intensity of that first go-round is absolutely insane. I think this go-round is completely different. You don’t have that intensity to face anymore, the groundwork has been laid,” Wright said.
Taylor said the first council did a good job guiding Dunwoody through its first few years and he is hopeful that the new mayor and councilmen will be successful as well.
“I wish them luck. I think we’ve been blessed, not through luck, but by being conservative with our governance,” Taylor said. “I would just hope they would continue the conservative governance we’ve had since we started the city. The first group of people that ran the city ran it very tightly, with a small government, and kept it that way.”
Dunwoody election runoff
Mike Davis and Terry Nall won runoff elections Dec. 6. Voters chose Davis as the city’s next mayor. Nall defeated incumbent Councilman Robert Wittenstein. Here are the unofficial results.
Mike Davis – 3,432 – 60%
Bob Dallas – 2,267 – 40%
City Council, Post 4
Terry Nall – 3,699 – 65%
Robert Wittenstein – 1,980 – 35%
13 of 13 precincts reporting
Source: DeKalb Board of Voter Registration and Elections