Skirmish over DAPC funding

Mayor, councilman threaten ‘no’ vote on city budget if $150K not included

There was a bit of a political showdown over Peachtree City’s budget Tuesday night at a workshop meeting of the City Council.

Mayor Don Haddix and Councilman Doug Sturbaum said they would not vote for any budget that failed to include $150,000 in funding for the Development Authority of Peachtree City.

The other three council members: Eric Imker, Kim Learnard and Vanessa Fleisch, said they wanted the funding to remain at $35,000.

Haddix contended that the city needs DAPC to work on attracting office and small industry jobs to the city that he believes are not being sought by the Fayette County Development Authority.

The city has a special tax credit designation for all new companies locating in the industrial park, and without the extra funding the DAPC will not be able to afford a staff member to help leverage that designation to attract new companies here, Haddix said. 

That designation, which offers higher tax credits than usually offered to businesses relocating or opening in the city, can expire in one year if the city fails to show results, Haddix said.

The authority’s contributions over the past several years have been almost exclusively on volunteer efforts, with most major expenditures spent on limited scope studies.
Learnard said she was appreciative but felt the $150,000 funding level was developed “a little bit randomly” and she wanted to see what the county development authority accomplishes with its recently-appointed new president.

Fleisch said she felt the DAPC has “done a wonderful job” but she couldn’t support the increase.

Imker said he considered the expenditure to be a risk and said he would rather revisit the matter next year.

Haddix soon after drew his “line in the sand.”

“I am not voting for any other budget that does not increase the funding,” he said.

Haddix also alleged that in the recruitment of a potential project here that county officials have been giving the project manager resistance.

“It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time they have interfered with us,” Haddix said.

Most recently the DAPC scored a victory when it was announced that The Fresh Market was planning to lease the space at the Peachtree Crossing shopping center that was vacated last year by Kroger.

DAPC volunteers have also been working to develop relationships with existing industries so they can help with communication issues should any problems arise. Also the authority has branched out to working with several of the city’s village centers in helping to develop tenant associations to help strengthen local businesses.

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