Imker’s plan to balance PTC budget: pension changes, staff furloughs, sales tax

Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker

‘What makes government employees so special [that] they are immune to what’s going on around us whereas commercial businesses are not?’

Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker wants to solve a looming $1.2 million budget shortfall for next year — and a potential combined $20 million shortfall over the next five years — by furloughing employees and slashing retirement costs.

Imker contends the city can avoid any property tax increase for the coming fiscal year. Simultaneously, he is asking for a new 1 percent sales tax — a new SPLOST — to be placed on the ballot for the purposes of debt reduction, which would shave some $12.5 million off the city’s projected $20 million shortfall over the next five years.

In a letter to the editor on Page A4, Imker said while he appreciates the hard work of city employees, he thinks furloughs equivalent to a 1 percent pay cut are “clearly not unreasonable in this economic environment” and can be done without drastically affecting services.

Imker acknowledges that discussion of employee morale comes with any pay cuts. But he thinks employees should “consider the morale of the 1,000-plus people living in Peachtree City who are unemployed right now. Or the thousands who have taken a pay cut.”

“We can ask employees to understand the economic environment everyone else is living in and ask they not be immune,” Imker wrote. “We can do something about the revenue side in a major way.”

Imker said the city offers two retirement plans for each employee: a defined benefits package that guarantees a certain monthly payment upon retirement and also a 401(k) investment account. He wants to eliminate the defined benefit plan for all new employees and also force current employees to choose one plan or the other.

While Imker is firmly against a property tax increase, he wants a new special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST) for the purpose of paying down the city’s debt. Imker says the city’s debt payments will equal about $12.5 million over the next five years.

But it will take approval of the Fayette County Commission to authorize such a SPLOST referendum. Given that voters roundly dismissed the most recent SPLOST, which had a large debt repayment mechanism for the county’s Justice Center complex, the likelihood of a similar debt reduction SPLOST going before voters might be slim.

Imker contends the commissioners should put such a proposal before voters anyway, without regard for their political ambitions.

Imker’s suggestion of avoiding a property tax increase drew criticism from Fire Chief Ed Eiswerth several weeks ago during the annual City Council retreat. Eiswerth said the idea was tantamount to “balancing the budget on the backs of city employees,” a contention that Imker denies.

While city employees had a significant increase in their medical premiums last year, Imker said he did as well.

“So did everybody else in the work force. Please tell me what makes government employees so special they are immune to what’s going on around us whereas commercial businesses are not,” Imker wrote.

The 5-0
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Hey Imker, Shut Up

We're getting sick and tired of you and your hatred of city employees.

Let me give you a little information about us government types before you bash us anymore.

Most people who decide to work for the government (whether it be local, state or Federal) do so for job security and retirement benefits. We have made the decision to forgo higher paying private-realm jobs for security and retirement (pension).

Our pay in local government is atrocious. A starting officer with a college education will only make around $35,000 (give or take). Whereas in the private sector, the median for people with a BS or BA is between $37k to $60k. http://www.adors.gatech.edu/assessment/adors/commencement/salary_report_...

Now you want to come in here and cut our pay, cut our benefits, and cut our pension. You leave us with nothing! Law enforcement is the State's most competitive job market. There are roughly 50-60k peace officers in the State of Georgia and if you keep on cutting, then officers will leave (which they've been doing already). You are driving out the best and brightest and they will be replaced with less experienced and less qualified officers. You know what happens to an area that sees a decrease in police effectiveness? Just look to Clayton and Fulton County. You cut law enforcement anymore and you can kiss our quality of life goodbye.

Imker and you forum rabble-rousers need to loosen up and stop your attacks on government workers. Just because we have the title "government," you shouldn't confuse us with Obama and the Democrats!!!

jevank
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Forum rabble-rousers

They let you carry a gun? I hope it's your day off and you're not sitting in your "free" car with your "free" laptop somewhere slamming the city council.
If you calm down and try not to take your anger out on the citizens of PTC, then I'm sure your job will be safe. We are in an economic crisis. We will come out of this with a stronger, more secure city government in the end.

ginga1414
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Bonkers Is Right

This SPLOST idea is just like the folks who order a huge piece of cake and have a diet drink or artificially sweetened tea to wash it down. If anybody in this world knows about SPLOST and what it can do to you, I DO. All the folks who own homes along the West Fayetteville Bypass know what I'm talking about. SPLOST, IN ANY FORM, FOR WHATEVER REASON, will destroy this country. Not being able to give up a piece of cake will cause heart attacks and strokes. If we don't get rid of the glut we are going to have a gut.

Terriers88
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SPLOST

The thing about SPLOST is that most people, especially those with kids in Fayette County Schools, don't trust Fayette County with our money anymore. Two years ago, we had an Education SPLOST rammed down our throats in the name of saving the school system. What did we get for that, a brand new, now empty school and a second empty building. We also had teachers furloughed and huge budget cuts. The school board has been questioned many many times about their budget and we never seem to get a straight answer. Now Mr. Imker wants us to put the City's future in the hands of the County. No way, we need to do this ourselves. If it means $250 increase over 5 years so be it. It's still way cheaper than where I grew up. And since we are picking on the Fire Chief here, let me remind everyone that his hard working staff managed to save homeowners an average of $100 a year on homeowners insurance. That would not have been possible without the current staffing levels.

Imker
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Imker Comment - Refer to Letter to the Editor

I realize I should have included all the other ideas from retreat in my letter to the editor so that it didn't seem like I'm only talking about empolyee furloughs and retirement. The city employee items were just one portion of the total cuts I'm advocating. Plus on the revenue side I'm talking about the Hotel/Motel tax situation, the city's miserable income from money sitting in the bank ($50,000 on $6M) and the recreation revenue that can be ramped up.

The overall picture, that most folks don't understand, is that is it not a $27 tax increase (1/4 mil as being discussed for FY2011) to solve the budget. It's more in the nature of $250 per household per year increase that needs to be implemented to cover the next 5 years of being $20M short if we don't clear out the city's debt.

I've looked at several of the comments herein and most simply need to read the letter to the editor I wrote that gives more details to the numbers I'm talking about.
http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/03-30-2010/imker-just-straight-talk-p...
I have researched the numbers extensively and checked with the city's financial director more than once to confirm what I'm talking about.

As for SPLOST being a solution and the acknowledgement that it failed last year, significantly. Of course it failed. I advocated turning it down. Everyone knows or should know the main reason it failed was because of its continued support of the West Fayette Bypass. If that item wasn't in it, it would have been a very close call. You wouldn’t have had the large financed camps opposing it as intensely as they did. Argue if you want, but I'm saying people will understand if the "pet" projects and developer pandering goes away and we stick to business, in our case, eliminating a crushing debt, we can be successful. We're not going to solve a $20M problem with additional staff cuts and furloughs. Once I'm convinced our staffing is about right (it will never be 100% efficient) I will be up front and say the only way to eliminate such a short fall is with a tax. A onetime tax. A SPLOST is a onetime tax for a special purpose, in our case eliminating our debt, with time limits. A millage increase goes forever. Only in rare instances do millage rates go down.

doright
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Thank you

Mr. Imker,

For the clarification. I must disagree. The SPLOST is never one time and taxation is not the answer. Government has to make the tough decisions and get PTC off the entitlement bottle.

It's time to cut back to the bare bones and do all we can BEFORE you tax the people. $250 may not seem like much but to some its all they have. And you are asking them to pay $250 on top of the Federal Government just passing the largest tax increase EVER in our history with the healthcare bill.

NO SIR! SPLOST is not the answer. Its time to go back to the drawing board and look for creative solutions to this problem. And the city should learn to live debt free so that these problems are not an issue going forward.

PTClurker
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A tad confused?

I think you're a tad confused, doright.

The $250 is the millage increase tax that Imker is AGAINST. This would be a yearly tax that is very difficult to eventually get rid of.

The SPLOST is a one-time tax for a special purpose.

Seeing as how the city is millions of dollars in debt and the drawing board creative cuts (over 200 of them) Imker and citizens generated during his citizen-input/collaboration session won't be nearly enough to cover this magnitude of previous council's blunder, a one time tax to fix it is likely the best, least burdensome solution.

I'm as against taxes as anyone on the planet. I also agree with you that government needs to be accountable for it's own actions and not always surrender to a tax increase to get the job done. In this case, the 200 or so creative solutions that were generated are enough to solve 1, maybe 1.5 million worth of debt. Not the 6 million dollar problem the city now realizes they have.

The previous SPLOST failed because it was for a silly side project that was a "nice to have" and not a "need to have". I myself was also against this SPLOST.

The current SPLOST Imker is proposing is for an absolute dire, need to have.... which is fixing a broken budget. And that's the SOLE purpose. Will it pass? It's probably the best solution, but it probably won't because of the bad-name "SPLOST" currently has from the last time it was on the ballot and folks generally are always against tax increases without considering the consequences of rejecting them. I know I, myself am guilty of whimsicly rejecting tax increases without considering what's the tax is really for. Most of the taxes shouldn't be raised. In this case, I believe Imker legitimately has a point.

Creative cuts can only go so far. Imker (and citizen input) have generated those creative cuts to drastically streamline the cities expenditures, but that can only go so far in the face of a daunting monster that is this budget shortfall. ... and the longer we wait to fix it, the worse it will get. We're all in this problem together, thanks to some very poor decisions from our council in the past. But hey, we elected them.

doright
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PTClurker: READ OUR LIPS NO SPLOST

PTClurker I think you have misread what the citizens of this county are screaming. NO SPLOST. See this is not "dire need" and secondly STOP SPENDING. Cart path bridges being built because people can't wait 60 seconds to cross. No this is not acceptable and should not be done.

The leaders have lost the trust of the people because they have irresponsibly spent the taxpayers money and then taxed them to make up the difference. GET PTC OFF THE ENTITLEMENT BOTTLE and empower them to be independent of local government programs.

When the leaders show themselves trustworthy again of the taxpayers money and are accountable for it and have done EVERYTHING under the sun to stop spending and cut to bare bones then and only then is SPLOST even an option.

PTClurker
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Thank you

After reading your article here, Mr. Imker, and the comments below, I'll admit these questions were on my mind.

Thank you for summing it up concisely and clarifying this.

Mike King
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Mr Imker

Being just a might cynical today, and government stooges being one of my two pet peaves (the other being an agenda driven media) allow me to comment. We both realize that Peachtree City's fiscal dilemma is of its own making and WHEN this economy does turn, it will be the citizens of Peachtree City who stand to gain. Why would we expect others to bail us out?

OK, I'll propose raising property taxes by $250.00 per household for the next five years, if you can get the city staff to reduce its annual salary by the same amount. Assuming 10,000 structures, that would be an increase of $2.5M in revenue and with an equal amount by the city you now have raised $25M over your five year period. Half the burden borne by the citizens and half by those who brought us to where we are.

Should anyone possess the cajones, this is doable.

inkslinger
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Councilman Imker

Thank you for the additional comments here. You are addressing this issue with the detail that is necessary to solve it. Please continue as you have been and I assure you as you continue to restate the obvious (to a few), over and over, you will eventually get more than the few to realize the severity of what we are facing.
You are so right about the millage increases. We are not to that point, and with your help and that of the rest of Council, we won't be there for a year or two from now (if ever).

Mike King
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Mr Mayor...

My friend, please consider input from ordinary citizens not affiliated with city employment when conducting this review. I know this goes without saying, but leaving this decision in the hands of Bernie & Co would be allowing the fox to reside in the henhouse until he eats himself out of house and home.

Should you like, I could set up a panel of 'extraordinary' (no citizen of Peachtree City is ordinary) citizens to review and make suggestions. You have nothing to lose, and those I would ask to assist may possibly all blog here. What say you?

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Mike

Mike, we are both details guys and it has been awhile since we sat down and talked. Too long.

We need to sit and talk on this. We are not going to get it all covered here in blogs as you well know.

Bonkers
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Mike

You must be being sarcastic with such an improbable request!

Mayor's soon become assimilated with the city staff and are usually afraid to take independent action or express straight forward wishes.

You may also become that way someday!
Remember your military days? suggesting things contrary to policy (non-direct orders) was a no-no.

dar thompson
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Mr. Imker

Are you really this clueless? What does the 1000 unemployeed people in Peachtree City have to do with city employee's?

Apparently you have no idea how money works. You can't be part of the solution if you are a part of the problem. Let me understand, you are struggling with adding $2.25 per household per month in a mileage increase to save our city?

Why don't you start by saving the citizens $400,000 plus dollars in taxes by fixing the money pit which is the "Kedron Aquatic Center"?

Please stop stepping over dollars to pick up pennies!

Imker
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Mr. Thompson

Your questions answered...
1 - Morale comparision because of the feedback on city employee morale.
2 - You may be struggling with $2.25 per month. I'm stuggling with a $20,000,000 problem that translates into $250 per household per year every year if we do nothing.
3 - We're upping the revenue in all rec dept areas. Are we to simply throw away a facility because you don't like or want it?

MYTMITE
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Au contraire, Mr. Thompson very much wants the aquatic center

and the rest of the Kedron facility. Maybe this blog is just his way of getting his foot in the door again to go after the city with the magnamamous offer he made us in the past. Of course he was being completely altruistic at the time. Hah!

dar thompson
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Mr. Imker

Thank you for your response.

first of all i believe you were against the splost that could have pretty much fixed many of your problems or am i confused.

1). i'm not struggling with $2.25 per month...i personally like the idea.

2).i would have no issue with the $250.00 per year if it increased my quality of life and increased my home value.

3). the rec department and the dollars given to the various rec entity's are very scewed. baseball is funded by the tax-payer over $14.00 per month per participate while other sports are funded less than $2.00 per month per participate. There is not an equal of equity distributions for rec sports in ptc. this should not be tolerated by the taxpayer.

4). i did not say throw away a facility...this facility is costing the tax payers over $400,000.00 per year. all i have suggested is that i will save the city hundreds of thousands of tax dollars and add a million dollar asset. to clarify i don't want it...if i had a venue costing me this much money i would have shut it down 10 years ago and you would have an additional 6 million to 8 million dollars in the bank. keep doing what your doing and in 5 years you will have wasted another 2.5 million dollars.

Bonkers
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Dar: clarification needed

I think you mean well most of the time but apparently English composition is not your first language! Nor is your attempt to involve yourself into the pool!

Please let me explain:
The defeated SPLOST you mention as fixing the problems would only have encouraged our managers to spend more for employees and projects.
Your "liking" the idea of a tax of any amount flies in the face of many here who have no job or business and can't pay current bills.

Also, a few hundred bucks more of tax would not likely make your home worth more nor your quality of life as it would likely be wasted a little at a time.
Can we now talk about sentence structure and words?
rec entity's should be entities
Capital letters start sentences.
participate should be participants
your doing should be you're doing or you are doing

I think maybe the recreation money is probably spent according to how many participate--squash shouldn't get as much money as football, should it?

Now sir, as to the pool and you! You wanted to be provided the location and building on which you would add other facilities for which you would make charges to people using it and somehow split any profits with the city for the use of our property!

What I say to you is this: build your own pool, gym, etc., and run it.

What this town needs is a facility for youth where they can participate in social gatherings, gyms, swimming, library, plays, and other arts.
Build that for them if you are so rich. Even run it. The town won't run it.

dar thompson
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I forgot

I don't want the pool, you can keep the pool.

Bonkers
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Dar

No, I don't want it either but if there are those who use it efficiently then it sounds as if all that needs to be done is see why it costs so much above income.

Now, I want to say that I was somewhat out of line in my first post to you. I was too personal as to the way you presented your information and that was not needed from me.

As an answer to the $2.25 a month to help meet the budget, I don't know if that is the correct number or not but in addition to a shortfall of over a million more dollars needed for next year, it is now being predicted that $20,000,000 more may be needed over the next five years!

As we aren't sure yet as to how long sales taxes, property taxes, and state and federal aid will continue to decline, we should prepare for the worst now.

$2.25 per month increase in taxes surely won't do it!

We gripe about aid furnished by the state and federal government causing our taxes to go up, then we can't wait to get money from them in such problems as we now have!
It would be better if we met our own local budgets as we go (by efficiency--not taxes) and then use whatever windfalls we get to further improve our situation.
A recent Mayor once offered to contribute a million dollars of his money for something he wanted for the city, (he didn't) maybe you could do the same? Pay it, not offer it. (that is a joke).

dar thompson
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Bonkers

Thank you for your post. It cost so much because it is a pool. By nature a pool(s) will never pay for itself nor will you be able to justify the loss in a city owned enviroment.

A big part of Peachtree City's problem is that past mayor's and council did not do their job...if they would have increased taxes many years ago (when the economy was great), which is what I would have done, we would not have any of the problems we now face. Like the saying goes "to busy trying to keep their job, they weren't doing their job".

Many (not all)successful, well run companies, foam at the mouth in this economic times. This is the time to take advantage of all the viable situations that are available. We can move backwards with everyone else or we can move forward with the few.

In closing I may be willing to donate 1 million dollars to the city...however, I promise you that the powers to be will screw it up...for example the city will say..."we don't want it in $20.00 bills we want it in $50.00 bills". Trust me, it's nothing like I've ever seen before.

dar thompson
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Your Wrong

Recreation money is not spent based on how many participate. That is exactly my arguement...it should be.

Your position does not hold water. If people can't afford the additional $2.25 per month tax increase, then we can't afford the aquatic center, as that is about what it is costing the average household.

On another note, in your arguement the $2.25 will not make a difference...then let's cut taxes by $2.25 per household and see what happens.

If you don't think the $2.25 per month will not matter then you do not understand money, which is becoming more obvious by the minute.

In closing, if $2.25 per month will create an economic disaster for a household, then trust me, it is already to late.

Cyclist
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The two sides of Bonker$

From a liberal to a conservative. Its got to be the meds.

S. Lindsey
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Oh it is Cy

I told him not to take the red pill but he did it anyway.. Don't worry he will take the blue pill later and slip back into the matrix..

Cyclist
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I wonder SL

If agent "Smith" is looking for him?

S. Lindsey
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Could be CY

but a Neo he ain't

doright
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The crowd goes wild for Bonkers!!

A standing ovation to you Bonkers!
FINALLY someone states the obvious SPLOST is an enabler for our managers to keep PTC on the entitlement track. THIS IS NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT!!

Time to cut spending, cut to the bare bones, give more power to the people and less to the government.

But in all fairness Bonkers, I believe since Dar is so passionate about paying taxes and they probably believe it is patriotic to pay more, Dar can have the SPLOST tax 100% and any other taxes the managers want to levy. I believe this would be fair and solve all the problems.

Congrats Dar YOU ARE A WINNER!!

Robert W. Morgan
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Looks like Haddix did not counsel Imker

One trick pony Imker is obsessed with annoying the PTC employees and somehow thinks a SPLOST will pass? Huh?

You are so out of touch it is not even close to funny. I know you won't listen, but the other 4 will - RAISE TAXES! THE $27 IS OK WITH MOST OF US. GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE, ERIC.

And please, Mr. Eric, I hope you understand that no one employed by the city will ever respect you. Yes, we know you don't care. Go away.

Bonkers
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Morgan

If you mean what I think you mean by Mayor Haddix "counselling" Councilman Imker, I don't think he has that prerogative. They are both elected independently. It is like Sonny trying to shame the Attorney General into doing his stupid bidding for votes, and to damage the AG's run for Governor. Dumb stuff.

How much money does riding low horses and gaining respect by protection have to do with balancing a budget?

Imker
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Mr. Morgan

Hello, it's me, he who couldn't get elected. Your own words a while back.

OK - Your proposal of $27 millage increase solves $500K a year. This solution doesn't even consider alternatives. The citizens expect more than just a simple millage rate increase easy solution. I've put forward a proposal to solve $20,000,000. I've ask for citizen input and got it. Where's yours? I'm waiting. eimker@peachtree-city.org

How close would last year's SPLOST have been if it didn't include the bypass support, pet projects and pandering to developers? Ans- It would have been close.

Like above, to Thompson, I'd like your input, like I got from many many citizens, on your ideas to solve the $20,000,000 problem? I won't summarily reject them. I'll seriously consider them, ask others for input on your ideas and come to a synergistic conclusion.

Robert W. Morgan
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Response to Imker

Ok, I'll take that on. Yes, I know you got elected and I know how. Same way as Prezbo - unattainable promises and a weak opponent. Big congrats. Now it is time to do the work of the people.

As to cost savings ideas, I have said it all before, although maybe not in the same response, but here is my list. I'm sure others can add to it. Please note that revenue generation is as important as cost savings. Hint, #1 is first because it is the most important:

1. Apologize to the employees of PTC for your emotional and intemperate remarks and put it all behind you and move on. As the late mayor brown discovered, having good ideas in conjunction with an arrogant, condescending attitude does not accomplish anything. In fact, the good ideas get rejected because of the disgust everyone feels for the author. So, be a team player - apologize first.
2. The tax increase is justifiable immediately. Understand the preservation of housing value idea, embrace it and sell it hard because it happens to be correct. $250 for 2 years, $350 for 2 years, then $450.
3. Hiring freezes, employee furloughs and selective weeding out are all to be considered, but those discussions should be conducted in private, not in the press. Hint, some private businesses I consult with have had 2 or 3 5% pay cuts and not lost an employee. Everyone knows times are tough.
4. The double pension idea (first heard about that this week) is unsupportable. The defined benefit is horribly expensive. Attack this problem with a task force of 1 councilperson, 2 department heads and 2 regular employees and then adopt their reccomendation.
5. User fees for recreation including a higher fee for golf cart registration should be considered.
6. Hotel motel tax should be increased and someway to convert those funds to address something useful (rather than salaries for 3 people) should be considered.
7. Encourage corporate sponsorship of city facilities and be aggressive about it. The NCR logo on police cars, Cooper Lighting fire trucks, Home Depot Public Works on their trucks, Best Buy logo on water towers, etc.
8. Economic development is the most lucrative thing we can do on the revenue side. There is a tremendous multiplier effect when new companies locate here - even if tax breaks and other incentives are used. At a bare minimum, a full-time staffer for Fayette County (cost shared with the county and cities) responsible for economic development. Ideally, a PTC employee dedicated to economic development would produce the best results. Simplest thing is to replace the Tourism Director and give him or her an expanded job description that includes economic development. BTW, John Boothby is available. And designate 1 councilperson to be the showcase political leader on call for presentations and visits to add gravitas and speak authoritively about special incentives. Fred Brown, Rich Parlionterri, Bob Lenox and Bob Brooks all filled this role and they were very effective. The other Brown and Logsdon, not effective at all. In fact that role has not been filled since Lenox left office.
9. The SPLOST idea is stupid, drop it. You need Fayette County's support to do this and by the time they and the other cities take their unfair share (thank you mayor brown) it won't help that much. Besides, it won't pass. Neither will the school system SPLOST.
10. Now, if you must do a SPLOST, do one for economic development with a recreation subsidy rider. That would give the county 2 serious, senior economic development staffers and a support staff and an advertising budget. Balance left over goes to the cities to subsidize their recreational facilities and operations. That SPLOST would pass because visiting shoppers would be paying for our growth and the recreation (cart paths, lakes, etc,) that some from other counties sneak in and use. Perfect zen.

Ten free ideas - all yours. Run with it.

mudcat
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Late Mayor Brown?

What are you talking about? Did something happen or are you just trying to be cute.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Imker

We talk, Morgan, but on the employee issue we just do not agree. We do agree on a number of other issues.

Maybe a SPLOST will pass this time. We will be discussing it with the other governments in Fayette.

The biggest problem last time was the erroneous belief there was West By-Pass money in the proposal. There absolutely was not.

The PTC SPLOST was heavily debt reduction. We will try again with that being the main goal once more.

The key is accurate knowledge on what is actually being voted on.

If we do not get it getting PTC out of our financial woes is going to be very difficult both short and long term. Not to mention fulfilling the goals many want on golf cart paths.

Simple reality is we didn't get here overnight and we will not get out overnight. As well when getting in the economy was a lot stronger and there was a lot of one time development fees, which are not coming back.

We will get there. But it is huge challenge.

What cannot be allowed again is the thinking that got us into this mess.

doright
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NO SPLOST

No Mr. Haddix Fayette Co. can't afford being taxed to death. This is not the federal government Mr. Haddix and I will help, with pleasure, to make sure SPLOST does not pass.

It's time to cut spending, it's time to stop building cart path bridges because people can't wait 60 seconds to pass. It's time to get PTC off the entitlement bottle.

The voters spoke clearly and I believe they will speak clearly again NO MORE SPLOST!

Bonkers
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Haddix: Thompson

You are the ones who do not get it!

Few want a tax increase or a SPLOST---a tax increase!
We are in a recession, soon to be a depression if people like you two don't stop acting as if there is no problem

If you don't make the cuts needed now then the problem will be worse next year and even worse in following years!

And, anyone who thinks $25 tax increase on homes and empty property will solve the problem are the ones who don't know how to handle money and will probably go broke.

Even Mr. Imker is backing off due to pressure.
I suggest you make the $1.2 million cuts now and another 2 million later. The feds aren't going to bail us out again for our schools, cops, nothing.
Layoff the same percentage as the shortfall along with the expenses they carry.
We will survive that way. Cutting pensions, furloughs, etc., will do more harm than cutting the least talented and unneeded.
That is what happens every where else.

The Wedge
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Ways of thinking to get into a mess

One of the key ways of thinking that continues the slide of fiscal irresponsibility is to consider governmental employees pay and positions to be sacrosanct. The largest unionized group of people in America is the government employees. The typical way of thinking is to think that taxes can always go up and it is the first thing to consider. How long until we have a national value-added tax? 12 months? maybe less

Bonkers
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New SPLOST, 1% pay cuts?

This appears like a back-away-from attitude by Mr. Imker!

Fayette County is not going to pass a SPLOST but he says do it anyway (on the ballot).
Then I suppose he could say, well I tried but it was voted down!

There is only one way right now.........cut 1.2 million worth of salaries now for next years budget.
Then if it is projected by Mr. Imker that 20 million will be needed over next five years ti fill a shortfall.....then that is four million shortfall a year each year!!!!

Now this article is poorly researched or Mr. Imker is guessing.
Don't we teach logic and math anymore---never mind economics and bookkeeping!

I can't comment on the pension cuts because I don't know the percentage the town donates to it nor the worker. I also don't know what the Town pension yields at retirement. Does anybody?

della
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Imker Right Again

Bonkers - you disappoint me once again. Imker is saying last year's SPLOST was rejected because of the bypass in Fayette county. You obviously didn't read the letter to the editor which details what this story says. A new SPLOST without the road and for debt reduction only is what he's saying. Trying is better than not trying. Instead, I guess you would rather roll over and pay more in property tax.
Since you didn't read the editorial letter, you didn't understand that the listed "cuts" for personnel were only a small part of the two million dollars of savings Imker recommended for next year. Since you didn't read the editorial you didn't see the profile of the mounting shortfall. You say Imker has poorly researched. You've got to be kidding. He knows more about the budget than you probably do about your own finances. Imker is right. Saving bucks now will save alot more later. On the pesnion stuff. Read the editorial. It was mentioned in this article. Bonkers - when you don't know what you're talking about don't pretend.

doright
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Della: READ OUR LIPS NO SPLOST NOT NOW NOT EVER

Della,

PTC needs to get off the entitlement bottle. It is time to do all we can to stop spending, reduce government, for goodness sake quite building cart path bridges to the tune of $850,000 just because PTC can't wait 60 seconds to cross. THIS IS SHAMEFUL!!

SPLOST was defeated before and it should be defeated again. PTC has to learn to live within their means with less spending and less entitlements. PERIOD.

Bonkers
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dells: gibberish!

You assume we are all idiots! Nobody thought the last SPLOST was for a road! We just didn't want a new Fayette County tax now. The feds are providing us with more than that as it is.
Another thing, making debts such as Haddix wants to pay off with a SPLOST is a sneaky way to eventually pay off debt that shouldn't have been made in the first place...by raising taxes later.
You do know that laying of less percentage of people than the shortfall won't pay for the short fall?
How will Haddix pay off our debts with a SPLOST that comes in a little at a time?
Another thing---the "listed" cuts are insufficient.
Mentioning a pension and doing something about it means nothing! What was his plan on that?
If they cut out the fixed pension but raise the contribution to the 401k by the same dollars, what does that save?
If we had the details it would answer many questions.
As to Mr. Imker knowing more about finances and budgets than anyone else in the world...I am glad for him. Maybe Geithner can use him.

No, I do not want to pay more property tax! It is not one or the other, Simply reduce expenses the same percentage as the shortfalls!
The world nor Peachtree City will not end with less Police, Firemen, staff, and Miscellaneous spending.

We have a recession! Don't try to criticize me as dumb when you are defending the status quo. If you are "afraid" of making employees angry for necessities, then we will never get much done.

Robert W. Morgan
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2 pensions? I may have to side with Imker on this one

2 pensions? Are you kidding me. That went out of favor in the 1990's - in fact so did the defined benefit plans - except of course for highly pampered (and protected) government workers and union members.

How about this. Let's get some numbers worked up on what we would save by eliminating one or the other of the 2 pension plans. I suspect the defined benefit plan costs the city much more than the matching 401k contributions, but let's get some numbers worked up and then council has something specific to vote on. One thing is certain, these pension expenses continue year after year and if we are serious about future cost cutting - here is the place to start. I seriously doubt that eliminating one or the other of these plans would cause an employee to leave or cause any employee great hardship.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Pensions

The pension issue is already under review. We have a tentative Workshop scheduled on the issue already.

Just understand this a more complicated issue than many think. We have to plan wisely to not just shift cost from one column to another.

Bonkers
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Mr. Mayor

Anyone who will leave or be bitter about a pension change needs to be replaced anyway.
We are in trouble and need help, not selfishness!