Two Dunwoody City Council members are facing off in a race to replace the mayor who is retiring when his term ends at the end of the year.
Lynn Deutsch and Terry Nall sit next to each other on the City Council and voted similarly on many issues. While they have comparable visions for the future of Dunwoody, each has prioritized different issues and believes they are better qualified and positioned to lead the city.
The election on Tuesday, Nov. 5, is non-partisan. Current Mayor Denis Shortal announced his retirement in April.
Like many cities in metro Atlanta, Dunwoody is facing challenges as it grows. With a population of just under 50,000, Dunwoody is seeing a boom in development around the Perimeter Center area, while the city makes infrastructure improvements to its neighborhoods through new walking trails and revamped sidewalks and intersections.
The race between Deutsch and Nall has remained largely cordial and positive. They have served on the City Council together for the last eight years.
They both say they want to retain the city’s small-town, suburban feel, while making improvements to neighborhoods through projects including multi-use trails. They also want Dunwoody Village, a retail and restaurant hub 2 miles north of I-285, to become a more vibrant community gathering place.
“Dunwoody is my passion,” Nall said in a statement provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think I’ve made a positive contribution over the past two terms, but there are challenges ahead that will take strong leadership to address.”
Deutsch said in a statement that “many “Dunwoodians’ have approached me feeling that something is missing in our community. They believe that I am the leader that will move Dunwoody forward towards the future.”
Nall said the biggest challenge facing Dunwoody is its financial outlook. He said the 2020 budget was the tightest one he had seen, and he pledged to implement five-year rolling budget forecasts. He has also been an outspoken critic of DeKalb County’s ambulance provider over slow response times.
Deutsch has criticized aspects of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s plans to build managed lanes along the top end of the Perimeter. She signed a petition earlier this summer pushing to halt the project, and said she is working with lawmakers and GDOT to “mitigate” the impacts of the new lanes.
Nall agreed that the I-285 project is an important issue for nearby neighborhoods, but said it is key not to jeopardize the city’s “seat at the table” for negotiations.
Though the city has limited power over the DeKalb County School District, both candidates have plans to improve dialogue. Deutsch said the school system has “avoided accountability” over the years. She wants to discuss issues with leaders across DeKalb, while Nall said he would establish a committee to communicate with school leaders within Dunwoody. He also pledged to continue exploring the idea of a “Dunwoody Independent School District.”
Nall said his background as an accountant and senior executive make him best suited to address the city’s financial needs.
“On specific issues, I’ve earned a reputation as someone who does the hard work on each item faced by the city to fully understand the issue and develop an action plan for a solution,” he said.
Deutsch said she is known for building consensus and solid relationships between council members and staff.
“I am ready to lead not only Dunwoody but also to be a leader on regional issues,” she said.
The mayor of Dunwoody makes $16,000 annually and serves for a four-year term, according to the city’s ordinances.
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