PTC's Imker wants details on cart path plans

At Peachtree City’s last budget meeting a few weeks ago, City Councilman Eric Imker inquired about the details of how the city will spend its projected funds next year for golf cart path maintenance

At Peachtree City’s last budget meeting a few weeks ago, City Councilman Eric Imker inquired about the details of how the city will spend its projected funds next year for golf cart path maintenance.

Imker expects to get a full accounting at the July 8 budget meeting of which cart paths are targeted for repaving or other maintenance. He also wants a priority listing of new cart paths that the city has not yet constructed.

In an interview Wednesday, Imker said he might like to take some of the money for path maintenance and divert it to funding for construction of new paths.

“I want to understand if we’re doing too much maintenance and not doing enough additional cart paths where maybe two or three thousand people could use a new 500 or 1,000 feet of cart path,” Imker said.

Doing so might mean dropping one path off the repaving or significant maintenance list for the 2010-2011 budget year, but it might be worth it, Imker said.

Those decisions previously have been left up to the public works director and/or the city manager, but Imker thinks they should be decided by the City Council.

“I want to understand what’s being left off the list and why,” Imker said.

Staff in recent years have said the city has cut out funding for all new cart paths in an effort to save money, spending its cart path funds only on repaving and maintenance of existing paths.

“What we’re missing is the next cart path we need to build may cost $20,000,” Imker said, noting that it might require dropping off the maintenance on a path that is on the borderline in terms of whether it needs work or not. “

A group of Georgia Tech students is compiling some suggested path additions that would create shorter trips on the paths particularly to and from the city’s shopping centers in an effort to encourage more path use. Those students developed that concept as part of a study on how to improve the city’s village centers.

Just Asking
Just Asking's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/07/2010
Thanks GA Tech Students for Your Help!

Where was it stated that the Georgia Tech students were being paid? Most likely the students are doing it for class credit and experience. I am shocked by the number of negative comments about this process. I don't imagine that anyone who is complaining is willing to go out and survey the paths and review usage patterns. These students are doing this because this is what their professional training focuses on AND they probably are very excited about the project. Our cart paths are a vital alternative transportation system and are used by nearly every household in Peachtree City. The cart system deserves some thoughtful deliberation and strategic planning. Particularly in these economic times it makes absolute sense to partner with educational organizations for free or even low cost professional level consulting. How could anyone argue with these efforts?

inkslinger
inkslinger's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/20/2007
Ga Tech

So, how much is Ga. Tech being paid? Out of what fund? Who authorized it any WHY? And why NOW, when the city is facing huge revenue losses AND tax increases and layoffs. Isn't this what city staff is paid to do? (Oh, wait, we don't have city staff to do it, do we?) Or, maybe we do, but don't trust their work when it comes to the "creativity" dept. Who knows?

And let's say the school, is being paid, oh, seven thousand dollars (who knows?). Is that for the work they did last fall? Or is it for all the work they are doing? How many more of these are they going to do? At what cost to the city? Is it a fraction of hiring an outside consultant to do it? Well, of course, as it should be. But what is the return on the expense to the city?

Who has actually seen these recommendations? Name any one recommendation they have put forward that has been used. Name any one recommendation that will involve retailers or commercial property owners PAYING for these ideas. Is the city going to force them to adopt these ideas?

Feel free to prove me wrong here, I don't see the urgency, the need or the expense being justified to the citizens here.

Spyglass
Spyglass's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/28/2008
College Students do stuff like this all the time..

for school credit, etc...They aren't being paid by the City...you're so overboard with your criticisms that it comes off as nuts most of the time. Have an adult beverage and chill.

inkslinger
inkslinger's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/20/2007
Spy-You Don't Have A Clue

in any way, shape or form. So what else is new? The city IS paying out money on this and it is a total waste.

Very similar to replying to one of your posts, you slacker.

Spyglass
Spyglass's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/28/2008
This just gets better and better..

LOL at this joker.

inkslinger
inkslinger's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/20/2007
Georgia Tech Students for Cart Paths

Oh, please. Do we not have enough brain power within this highly educated, highly mobile, affluent city to come up with a CITIZENS'S plan of how to "create shorter trips on the paths, particularly to and from the city's shopping centers"?? At NO COST TO US, THE TAXPAYERS!!!! No, we are AGAIN spending thousands of dollars to get college kids who don't even live here tell us how to plan the city. WHO IS AUTHORIZING THIS WASTE????

First, why do we even NEED shorter trips??

Second, if we DO need shorter trips, TAKE YOUR (*&^%$# CAR to the shopping center!!!! Since we don't have jetpacks yet to strap on our backs to get to Kroger and Walmart, I guess the big fat SUV will have to do.

WHAT, are you gonna run a whole new strip of paths along the major roads just so you can drive your souped up cart faster than anyone else to go get your take out or buy bread and milk?

Finally, what did this waste of money accomplish for the Braelinn shopping center path access? Wow, The Shopping Center Group splurged and put in...(drumroll, please)....about 10 azalea bushes and about 5 shrubs with the some spectacular pine straw out behind El Ranchero!!! It's breathtaking. Not one of the FOUR(?) paths coming in from the back of this center has even been paved, much less relocated to arrive around the front of the center as Tech students recommended LAST FALL.

"Encourage more path use?" How much is enough? We only have 10 THOUSAND golf carts now for 36 THOUSAND citizens. We can't police them properly, we can't maintain the paths properly, we can't even get people to spend $60. to put a horn on their cart, as required now. Come on already.

boboh
boboh's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/10/2008
Shorter trips?

YES we need shorter trips because golf carts are low speed vehicles and shorter trips save time and encourage their use. Believe it or not, many people use golf carts as their primary means of transportation and replacing cars and especially SUVs with golf carts, LSVs and bicycles has numerous benefits.
Having strips of paths along the major roads would be GREAT and facilitate using a cart instead of a car for shopping trips, etc. allowing the $#&^% car/SUV to be left at home.

$60 for a horn???? You could always yell or get a cheap bicycle bell. Come to think of it, who wants someone coming up from behind and blasting out pedestrians with a golf cart horn anyway?

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Path Reality

The maintenance plan was presented this year during retreat and in the Budget Meetings following. We have covered it several times.

The requested information was sent to Council June 16th.

On the proposal to divert money to new path connection construction it was already explained by Staff, Councilman Sturbaum and myself that if it is not on the SPLOST list it is illegal to do with SPLOST money. As well we cannot add projects to the list, which was locked when the SPLOST was approved. What Councilman Imker wants to spend it on is not on the list.

When I saw the recommendations by GT I fully agreed with their findings, but that does not negate the legal issues.

della
della's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/30/2005
Cart Path - Control Spending

Imker was the one who told council earlier this year not to spend - what $700,000 on this ridiculous widening of the 54 cart bridge. He could only curb it to spending $70,000 on design. This was with the intent of having something "build ready" should Obama "free" money comes our way. Right! I'll be holding my breath until the next election - 2020 election. Imker is right, once again, to be looking out for where our tax money is being spent. Keep'em on their toes Imker.

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/29/2006
Who Is In Charge?

A sitting Councilman asks for information from city staffers and can only hope to have an answer by the July 8th meeting, weeks later. Obviously, those are the ones who are so overwhelmed in their duties that they cannot simply forward their cart maintenance plan (assuming they actually have one) via e-mail or hard copy if the xerox is operational. One does wonder what is being kept away from the public eye. Just asking.

But, at least someone is trying to reign in out of control city staff.

NUK_1
NUK_1's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/17/2007
Mike King: it will be interesting to see

Imker asked for some info, so expect a harsh rebuttal from Haddix about why he even dared asked that in the first place. After all, when Imker said he wanted to see what the numbers looked like with a 1.25 millage increase, Don couldn't control himself and had to fire off a letter questioning his motives since "he campaigned against any millage increase and won't vote for it."

What a lovely mess when the Mayor has a big problem with another councilmember asking for information and having such a lack of intelligence that he can't see the point in all of it. Gee Don, do you think maybe Imker wanted to look at the worst case scenario as far as raising taxes goes in order to compare it to other alternatives? I guess that is WAY beyond our present Mayor's comprehension.

Honestly, I feel like Plunkett would be a better Mayor right now. Haddix at least isn't as noisy and grandstanding as Steve Brown, but he sure doesn't get it at all.

Hey Don, I am still waiting for u to explain to me how there is a "law" that says PD patrol cars can't be used after 125K miles, or did you forget you posted that here?

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/29/2006
NUK1

Can not agree that Plunkett would have been a better mayor, at least not yet. Reason being is that Ms Plunkett would be less likely to stand up to the city manager, in my opinion. Facts are is that he has stood his ground, but considerably less than I have hoped.

You are correct that he will/did post a retort stating that he, staff, and Sturbaum have explained everything in prior meetings. What he doesn't get is that Imker likely wanted to see the entire plan in order to make recommendations regarding new versus repair with a light of saving money, and knowing full well SPLOST funds are not in the mix. Haddix hardly passes a chance to lecture on the obvious, especially in this venue.

I do not know for fact, but it stands to reason that this article and the interview with The Citizen are perhaps dated, which proves he would have reason to request such. If the plan actually existed, why wouldn't it have been sent to him immediately via e-mail? But no, he can only have a version OK'd by staff.

What I'm seeing is a second iteration of Steve Brown with a bit more managerial ability (any at all is an improvement), but with the same controlling style. Like Brown, he is quick to castigate those not in his corner. There were 3-2 votes prior to his being mayor, and now we have the same.

inkslinger
inkslinger's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/20/2007
Imker-Cart Path List

Now if I can figure this out, you surely can.

When is the last time you drove your cart down the path behind Morallion Hills onto the Logsdon/McMullen boondoggle in the woods going to nowhere? What was the final cost of this waste? And I don't care how long that rusty metal bridge had been sitting in those wetlands before this was built. It would have lasted for another 30 years sitting there doing nothing till the city had completed the existing path system so that all residents could enjoy it.

Just look at the route we need take to go get an ice cream cone at Brusters. There was and IS absolutely no justification for the highway width elaborate wooden span or the quarter of a mile of blacktop that was put down behind Morallion.

How many new paths to/from neighborhoods that have no path access could have been built with this money? How much resurfacing could have been done to existing paths? Gee, we might have even been able to widen the bridge over Lake Peachtree by the Wyndham.

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Cart Path List

Maybe this will answer some of the issues you bring up.

The SPLOST that expired had a major flaw in that it listed specific projects by name, location etc. That means there was absolutely no flexibility for changes in priority, more important new projects coming up, etc. It was just too specific.

Why the Flat Creek Bridge was such a priority was such as Cooper Lighting, BSC and other areas of the Industrial Park where a connection for golf cart access is wanted by a lot of people.

The problem is now that it is built we don't have the money to build the paths, etc, at the other end.

By the time I came on Council it was built to the point we needed to get at least some usage out of it, meaning we completed the access.

Yes, it cost a lot of money as a whole and there are paths that are sorely wanted and or needed by other areas. No argument.

Now, if we were to get another SPLOST, it would be prioritized for debt reduction and reducing the millage rate. That would be a big benefit to the taxpayers but it would not leave money for a lot of cart path work.

The mistakes of the past have caught up to us. We have to be a lot smarter and have better priorities from here on out.

frazzled
frazzled's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/02/2007
Be careful what you wish for...cart paths bring vandalism.

I own a business on the other side of the Flat Creek bridge, and we have had constant vandalism since the bridge opened. Signs have been knocked down, windows busted, graffiti, etc. It makes me sad that these are the kids of Peachtree City, some of whom have obviously been raised with no respect for other people's property.

inkslinger
inkslinger's picture
Offline
Joined: 03/20/2007
frazzled

I am sorry for what is happening. I posted concerns on this issue back when the wooden bridge was being installed. The fact that Morallion had to place a neighborhood watch sign up at that entrance spoke volumes to the feelings of the residents about what might be coming. Then I saw the graffiti on the new bridge. This desolate area is an invitation to bad behavior for anyone who has less than half a brain. And now it will be another policing issue that puts more burden on our PD.

How about we just block this section off indefinitely till money is available to extend the path out to 74 and beyond? It serves no purpose as it stands now and is going to be a public works and PD time consumer. And very costly for you if it continues. If anyone caught doing this destruction is prosecuted, let them pay for all your damages, and assign them to the chore of picking up trash on the paths for a year of weekends and maybe they will get the message.

It makes me sad, too. I hope it stops.

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2007
Mayor Haddix

Like I said, the government cannot prioritize properly. It doesn't really matter why it can't. SPLOST constraints are just an example of what's broken with government.

Maybe it isn't your fault but as a citizen this example is why it is difficult for me to ever vote for another SPLOST for any reason.

If you want to raise property taxes to pay for cart paths, just propose it and tell us what you will do with the money.

If priorities change we can deal with it locally.

Right?

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Prioritizing

I agree there has been a lack of prioritizing but I do not agree government is incapable. It is who the voters elect to do the prioritizing that fail.

In fact a maximized SPLOST combined with a minimized property tax imposes the least financial burden on property owners and produces the highest amounts of revenue.

The problem is neither Fayette County or the cities have gotten it right to date.

As of now we just cannot raise taxes enough to cover everything. That would take about a 2 mill increase, which in too destructive.

Just in debt alone we pay about $3.3 million a year currently. Add in the bad economy, postponed maintenance and the rest and the paths are a major problem just to pay for their maintenance, little alone widening and adding new paths.

We have a long road ahead working our way out of the hole we are in.

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/29/2006
Good Morning Don

With a debt payment of $3.3M annually and a revenue total of some $25M (and falling), any economics freshman would tell tou to look at spending and debt for answers. Your largest expense being sacred (payroll) and your admittance that a two mil tax increase is "too destructive" lends me to believe that you are looking for another SPLOST to rescue the city from its sins of the past and present.

My friend you need to brace yourself, that SPLOST well is dry and while it was not you who abused it, it is you that is having to deal with that reality. Sooner or later you will conclude that a reduction in your largest expense is inevitable, and we know that there is enough excess to trim up to fifteen percent of the city's payroll.

Is it not funny that whenever anyone mentions cutting payroll that the crying and wailing begins on cutting back on city cervices? I wonder if anyone in your 'staff' has looked at specifically which services would see the axe? If one looks deep enough they might just learn that a number of those crying and wailing is actually city employees who feel entitled to their positions.

Please don't just tread water awaiting a miraculous economic turnaround because we all could very well be too old to enjoy it.

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2007
Mr. King

I have no idea who you are but you have it dead right. The SPLOST option is no longer an option.

Our government needs to get a grip and either Mr. Haddix can bite the bullet and do it or we need to find someone who can.

If it requires a 2 mil property tax, then just do it. If you don't want to make it that big then reduce expenses, just that simple Mr. Mayor.

Don't increase our debt, that's the thing that's destructive.

PTC Observer
PTC Observer's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/23/2007
PTCGOIL - too

much logic in this post. Please don't make the Mayor's head spin.....

The fact is I believe all of the staff of our city has the best intentions. The problem is like all government run programs, they cannot prioritize properly because they are myopic.

There is little accountabilty when money goes to projects that seemingly make no sense.