PTC manager suggests city tax hike of 0.3 mill

The Peachtree City Council is expected Thursday night to come at least closer to a decision on a recommended tax increase proposed to avoid a shortfall due to declining property values.

Council will discuss the matter during a workshop on the budget scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday prior to the regularly-scheduled council meeting at 7 p.m. Both meetings will be held at City Hall.

City Manager Jim Pennington has recommended a 0.3 millage rate increase, which will translate to a $31 hike for a home valued at $260,000 whose value did not decrease since last year. Residents whose homes dropped in assessed value from last year to this year will pay less of an increase, unless their value dropped more than 4.6 percent in which case they won’t face a property tax increase at all, officials have said.

That’s because the preliminary figures showed the city’s aggregate property values declining by 4.6 percent from last year to this year, according to city staff.

Without the 0.3 mill tax increase, the city would face a shortfall this year of $529,000 compared to last year’s budget. Because the “roll-up” tax increase won’t raise additional funds overall compared to last year’s budget, the city does not have to advertise it as a tax increase or hold the three public hearings that are necessary when adopting a tax increase.

When the budget was first presented at a June 18 workshop, Councilman Eric Imker said he wanted to have some time to scrub through the budget details so he could recommend cuts at the next budget meeting.

Mayor Don Haddix has said he wants to look at cutting services to avoid a tax increase, and he has suggested cutting recreation by forbidding out-of-county participants.

The city in this current budget year has increased a number of recreation fees and also reorganized the recreation department, trimming staff to cut expenses.

The $28.91 million budget proposed by City Manager Pennington does not include salary increases for city employees, which would cost $280,000 for a 2 percent salary hike.

Complicating this year’s budget are the ongoing negotiations over the local option sales tax (LOST) with Fayette County and the other municipalities in the county. Because the remainder of Fayette County has been growing faster than Peachtree City, the city stands to lose some of its current share in the LOST funding formula.

That process is currently in the mediation stage but appears headed to arbitration, which may be resolved in August, city officials said. The city is looking currently at a $300,000 decline in LOST revenues, but that figure could increase depending on how the matter is ultimately resolved, officials said.

Because of the flux involving the LOST negotiations, council may delay adoption of the millage rate until its second meeting in September. The budget itself must be adopted by Oct. 1.

City officials are also looking ahead to the following budget year with a proposed general obligation bond referendum for road maintenance and repaving work, should the upcoming regional transportation sales tax fail.

The suggestion is that such a tax might have a better chance of getting voter approval because it wouldn’t include controversial new road projects but instead would take care of the city’s existing road network.

The city is projected to exhaust the remaining funds from the 2003 local transportation sales tax this year, which leaves a $2 million annual shortfall going forward to fund road repairs and improvements just for existing roads and cart paths.

A proposed bond of $7.5 to $8 million would necessitate a bond millage rate increase of .424 mills is the bond is approved. Such a bond would fund five years worth of transportation infrastructure improvements, Salvatore said.

YourGoodPalMike
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We have fireworks

As long as a city can spend thousands on fireworks, then the local economy must be doing alright.

Each evening as I drive home I see all chain restaurants here in PTC with a full parking lot. The Avenue is packed and it's hard to find a space to park.

In other words, we're not hurting that badly. This may sound like an argument to increase taxes.

On the contrary: I'm saying that things aren't broken so don't try to fix them.

Any tax increase will not improve services, regardless of the promises from politicians otherwise.

istilldontknow
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Be prepared for even more...

if you want roads fixed and improved, here are your choices:

1. Vote for the T-SPLOST and have LOTS of folks help fund transportation issues.
2. If it fails, PTC will put a G.O. Bond on the next election, meaning that PTC property owners solely will get to pay for road fixes in PTC, leaving anybody else using the roads getting a free pass
3. The state legislature may consider raising the gas tax, meaning you'll pay more when you fill up your SUV.

So does the TSPLOST still look bad to you, PTC property owners?

YourGoodPalMike
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Yes, T-SPLOST still looks bad to me

I'm a property owner here and, yes, I do want us to pay for our own roads and, no, I don't want us to have to pay to widen some road somewhere else.

You know darn right that more money will leave Fayette County than come back with this one cent increase in tax. To think that we will somehow come out ahead is not accurate.

I'm voting no.

And they can try a bond referendum at the next election. I'll vote no on that too.

The only people using our roads are the folks out in Coweta coming and going, which is fine because they stop here to eat and spend money shopping, etc.

What we should have people in the metro Atlanta area say is, "Dang, they have it good in PTC AND they have lower taxes. I want to live in that great place."

istilldontknow
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Fun with taxes!

OK, taxes, let's start with this fun chart:

http://www.markfisherhomes.com/Georgia_Property_Tax__Ad_Valorem_Tax__Mil...

So according to this, PTC tax is 33.63. I guess you can move to Cherokee County or Lovejoy or Marietta - I'm sure their "quality of life" is just as good.

If you look at the chart, Dang, they do have it good and have lower taxes in PTC. Problem is you can't have that when expenses go up and revenues go down.

Vote no, then when you hate it, you can "adapt".

MYTMITE
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istilldontknow--are you sure you aren't efdrake or a clone

thereof? If you have been reading our posts here you know that the majority of people in PTC and Fayetteville are just not going to drink the kool-aid. We do not want T-SPLOST and you and Drake and anyone else are not going to change our minds. If you like what T-SPLOST has to offer vote for it---that is your right, just as it is our right to vote against and we will.

Robert W. Morgan
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1,2,3 you and me. Transportation TT.

Actually there is a very solid 4th choice. Vote NO and do nothing. Then people will adapt as in move closer to their jobs, telecommute or just get out of the workforce. The extra 1% I don't have to pay on everything I buy in 15 counties will come in handy when I buy another SUV.

Would someone please calculate how many $s the average family would spend on this tax for the next 10 years? Or maybe 20 years.

Dude, this silly tax is going down - big time. As it should. We have been taxed enough - get out of our wallets and get out of our face. Enough already.

YourGoodPalMike
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agree
Robert W. Morgan wrote:

Actually there is a very solid 4th choice. Vote NO and do nothing. Then people will adapt as in move closer to their jobs, telecommute or just get out of the workforce. The extra 1% I don't have to pay on everything I buy in 15 counties will come in handy when I buy another SUV.

Would someone please calculate how many $s the average family would spend on this tax for the next 10 years? Or maybe 20 years.

Dude, this silly tax is going down - big time. As it should. We have been taxed enough - get out of our wallets and get out of our face. Enough already.

Here here! I like what you said. I might not agree with everything you write on The Citizen, but I'm behind that.

If people don't like the drive from here to Atlanta, they can adapt, just like you said.

istilldontknow
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Neat!

And when you're gone, who will move into Fayette County when no one can afford to live here?

Let's use this:
http://www.bundle.com/spending/data/food-drink/atlanta-ga/

The average monthly cost of living (excluding mortgage and rent) for people in Atlanta,GA is $2688. Households in Atlanta,GA spend an average of $521 on Food & Drink, $331 on Getting Around, $426 on House & Home, $698 on Shopping, $525 on Health & Family, and $187 on Travel & Leisure per month.

Add one penny per dollar more and that's $26.88 per month, or $322.56 per year, or $3225.6 in 10 years. Seriously, that's $6.72 a week.

$6.72 a week is a fast food dinner for two. I think if you can buy that SUV, you can afford this tax that may help you get around town in it.

YourGoodPalMike
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An argument against taxes

That was an argument against taxes. I actually will take that $6.72 and go get a burger.

Traffic in Peachtree City (where I live and work) is fine for my family. No problems whatsoever. My commute is 15 minutes give or take, and during the rush hour (which is hardly a big deal) it takes an extra ten minutes if I get stuck between Partner's Pizza and the light at the 74/54 intersection. I just get to hear a couple extra songs on the radio. Doesn't bother me a bit.

Plus, we use a golf cart most of the time anyway.

What's really classic (and I sincerely mean this) is that when people from other places (other states mostly) ask what we pay in gas I honestly cannot answer them. Right now if someone told me gas was $3.10 or $4.10 I would have no response. I really don't pay attention to it because I drive a fuel-efficient car five miles to work.

If someone bought a gas guzzler and they drive 35 miles to the city everyday, that's the price they pay for living in one of Georgia's best towns. They can get a small car, drive to the nearest Marta station, and save a bundle. Or they can move to College Park, Union City, etc. and be closer to the city. OR, they can move to the North side and live in Roswell, Marietta, or places like that and have a shorter commute.

And let's be honest: Most of the traffic that is congesting Atlanta is not coming from the South side, and everyone knows it. It's coming from Cobb, Gwinnett, and North Fulton County, and they can't wait to have us help them pay for their traffic problems.

NUK_1
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Maybe not, GoodPalMike
YourGoodPalMike wrote:

And let's be honest: Most of the traffic that is congesting Atlanta is not coming from the South side, and everyone knows it. It's coming from Cobb, Gwinnett, and North Fulton County, and they can't wait to have us help them pay for their traffic problems.

Sorry Mike, it definitely works both ways. While I applaud you for being able to live/work/play in PTC, you might want to experience first hand the traffic flows in/out of Atlanta before making that statement. Anyone that commutes into ATL knows the huge backup that occurs right around Lakewood Freeway every morning and all that traffic is coming from the southside on I-75 and I-85.

On the way home to the southside of either I-75 or 85, notice the massive gridlock before you get close to downtown that backs up to around North Druid Hills at 3-4pm and doesn't end until about 7. That ain't Cobb, North Fulton or Gwinnett traffic heading south past downtown Atlanta.

istilldontknow
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And the funniest part is...

I do drive 35 miles to work, after being just like you, PalMike. I had a 10 minute commute until I decided to go after a new career. I bought a smaller car, and I actually AVOID the Connector as I know it backs up as NUK reports. Takes me about an hour to get into my job in the heart of the city.

I understand there are choices, and I actually choose them. I also believe that I am in the minority there. Most folks don't choose those things, so if you can't fix "stupid", how do you get them to work on time and home at a decent hour?

MARTA doesn't make fiscal sense to me, nor does the Xpress bus based on my varying schedule. What I do see, however, is the region needs help, and the individual entities of the region can't fix it on their own. Are there projects on this TSPLOST I'll never use? Absolutely! Do I agree with every project? Not a bit! Will I vote for it? Heck YES.

Why? We need to start SOMEWHERE. Will we keep paying this tax forever? In one way or another, probably so - be it in the "opportunity cost" lost by businesses not investing in our region or the delays to get to places we may want to go that aren't in our bubble.

If you want a place to succeed, you have to invest in it, just like PCDC invested in Peachtree City and got you to move here (yes they did). If you let the investment wither, you'll get areas like Riverdale, College Park, East Point....and those areas are now looking at ways to REDEVELOP.

As much as we like to think we're an island in Fayette County, we're not. We need Atlanta as much as Atlanta needs us - the airport, big businesses, education....see how many Fayette County tags leave Fayette County every day to go to work. You may want to read this - http://www.fayettecountyga.gov/planning_and_zoning/compplan/economic%20d...

Page E-13 is enlightening on who doesn't work and live in Fayette County, and I think the figure is even higher now.

And for those jobs in the County, how many are NOT coming from Fayette and Coweta in the industrial park, for example? Not the high-salary folks, either, but the ones who work on the floor? I think you'd see Meriwether, Talbot, Spalding, Troup....although with Kia and the LaGrange area growing, maybe not as much anymore.

So - at the end of the day, we're connected. Get used to the idea.

Mike King
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Another Tax Increase?

Geez, what a novel idea. Taxes continually go up and up without concern for the current economic climate. $31 bucks on a home valued at $260K is really not a big deal especially since the preponderance of those working for the city reside elsewhere.

Why not consider a .3% decrease and let the citizens decide if we really need what was cut.

istilldontknow
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I finally see the pattern!

Those who complain the loudest about taxes = retired folks! And they also vote in larger numbers, which is why elected officials listen and cater to them, too!

Yeah, good future planning, folks...want to know how to get jobs in an area - give them the farm. How do you do that? Give INDUSTRIES tax breaks. How does the government get the money it needs to operate? Don't give CITIZENS the tax breaks. In the end, it works out, because those businesses create jobs that pay for the taxes citizens pay, right?

I'm laughing because small business drives our economy...right off a cliff. What drives our economy is BIG BUSINESS. Why do we bend over backwards for a Sany or a school? Because it means BIG REVENUE.

What you folks are complaining about is, unfortunately for you, the chickens coming home to roost. Someone has to pay these bills for all of the growth through the years without maintenance. Now, since you don't use or care about things like recreation or administration, you say cut services. What that does is kill towns, not grow them.

Think beyond the next 10-15 years, folks - those of you retired may not be here, but those of us in our 30s, 40s and 50s will still be here, still working, still living here. What do WE want in our community once the old folks are dead or gone?

MYTMITE
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speaking of the farm, that manure you continue to spread sure

would come in handy. Evidently you don't know any 'old' folks since you seem to think they don't care about recreation or administration. So, as the old folks die off and the soon to be old folks like you will be paying their 1% tax and just what maintenance will be performed in our area with that tax money?

Citizen_Steve
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Reduce city overstaffing before increasing taxes

A reduction of about 3 police officer positions should take care of the problem. We'll still have plenty of coppers to spare.