Imker suggests trimming PTC police, fire budgets

Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker is asking for a little more budget cutting from the police and fire departments among other recommended trims he suggested at Thursday night’s budget workshop.

Imker said he is asking the police department to cut an additional police car plus another $60,000 of its $7 million budget and for the fire department to cut an extra $50,000 of its $6.6 million budget.

Imker said that if Police Chief H.C. “Skip” Clark can make those budget cuts, he would support the purchase this year of new records management software. Otherwise he thinks that cost should be added to next year’s budget.

Imker said he also is asking for the library to cut its $1.016 million budget by $25,000, with a suggestion that it come from the $140,000 planned to purchase new books and videos.

Other cuts proposed by Imker include a $15,000 trim to the city’s contingency fund, a reduction in “mayor and council salaries” of $8,000, a cut in the city manager’s budget of $6,000, and $3,000 each from the finance and purchasing departments. Imker also suggested cutting ties with the company that hosts the city council minutes and the like for a savings of $5,000, arguing the service could be conducted another way using new technology.

Imker said he was merely making suggestions for city staff to consider and present to council at a future date.

Mayor Don Haddix said he still believes the city should conduct a needs assessment to determine its service levels instead of the need to “nitpick” cuts in the budget every year.

Imker said he needed more input on why the public works budget rose from $4 million last year to $4.5 million this year. Public Works Director Mark Caspar was not at the meeting, but Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch said it’s most likely the increase is tied to the increase in maintenance levels to avoid long-term neglect that had occurred at several city facilities.

Imker said he is at the point where it is getting very difficult to trim from the budget because it has been cut so deeply over the past several years. It is to the point where Imker contends that the proposed .3 mill tax increase, which will increase the tax bill on a $260,000 home by $30, is needed unless residents decide they want to cut services.

The tax increase, Imker said, would net the city about $500,000.

He also argued that the $30 in additional taxes will help maintain about $13,000 in fair market value for the average home in Peachtree City, which he thinks is worth the increase.
Residents who absolutely oppose a tax increase should be prepared to suggest where to cut the budget.

During the public hearing on the budget, resident Eric Snell asked council to use the cash reserves to balance the budget instead of using a property tax increase. Snell was informed that the council planned to spend down the reserves to the minimum 20 percent level over the next three years.

Snell countered that the reserves could be set to a lower percentage if necessary to help the city navigate the tough financial waters seen across the nation.

No vote was taken on any of Imker’s budget-trimming suggestions, though they are expected to be sorted out at a future council workshop.

YourGoodPalMike
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My experience with PTC law enforcement

I can't speak accurately about emergency medical services (paramedics) or fire services because I haven't had to call them, but I have called the police many times and they were extremely responsive and professional every time.

I've lived in many places throughout the United States, and I'm confident that we have one of the most effective and professional police forces in the nation. I know that if I dialed 911 and said, "someone is in my house," that they would be here in under five minutes.

I only have one complaint, and it's a small one: When on traffic patrol, I don't like it when they (the police in their cars) hide far back from the road. It's not that I'm worried about getting a traffic ticket (they are very easy to avoid. Just drive the speed limit, stop at red lights and stop signs....nothing difficult about that), but I don't like them hidden like that as it means they are only on traffic patrol.

Sitting in the median, on the other hand, is a great deterrent. It keeps people driving properly with the high visibility.

Any time I'm cruising down highways 54 or 74 and some goober goes flying past me, I immediately think to myself, "This will be a driver from a different county," and sure enough their license plate will show something other than Fayette. My second thought is, "I'm going to see that guy pulled over a mile up the road," and often that's the case.

Finally, I learned that the only people really complaining about the PTC police are people who don't respect the law or who have teenage kids who don't respect the law, or are themselves teenage kids who don't respect the law. I've lived here for the better part of a decade (PTC) and I haven't had a single negative experience with the PTC police. Why?

Well, it's like this: If you watch the film Liar Liar with Jim Carey, his secretary hands him the phone and tells him a client is in jail and needs advice. Jim Carey's character picks up the phone and yells, "Stop breaking the law."

It ain't rocket science. Follow the law at all times and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to stay out of trouble. Imagine that.

ptcptcptc
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Ax to grind

No, the call was made directly to PTCPD and the statement does have merit in that after I waited the 30 minutes and had to leave, I called back only to find out that they mixed up the convenience stores and saw nothing at the wrong convenience store that they responded too. They never called me back at the number they made me leave with them in my initial call so it wasn't too important to them, nor is it ever too important to them since they never seem to see these transactions that anyone can plainly see on a regular basis. Be that as it may, yes, I sure do have an axe to grind with upper management of a governmental agency that I fund with my tax dollars that spends more time on nonsensical badgering of generally law-abiding residents than chasing the ever infiltrating riff raff and crime out of town. I have no personal axe to grind with anyone because I do not know a single high level officer there. I have lived here for many years, have paid attention for many years, do know many good residents who have been victims of this nonsense, and have read many arrest and news reports to know that revenuing has been the directive and culture at this department for decades. My axe to grind is simple as that and my wish is also simple. It is simply as we see more and more "real crime" infiltrate our fine City that they can shift away from citing or arresting our law abiding tax paying citizens for things that merely deserve a warning and have them start to concentrate on things that may actually kill the citizen that fund the department. When we see mug shots of our citizen teenagers who throw water balloons on cart paths on the Fox 5 News in the same month as we see an armed intrusion with a shooting, I would think that this force would be utterly embarrassed. I know many of my friends outside of this community who saw these reports have noticed and broken my chops and made fun of PTCPD for that. I understand deeply rooted culture is hard to change quickly, but I must start soon or I fear that we surely will be Riverdale way sooner than later. Don't take it personally.

ptcptcptc
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Easy Money

This should be a simple fix. Don't get rid of any of the hard working cops out on the street that make peanuts and are merely lemmings following the direction of some bad apples at the top. Start at the top of the force and get rid of those making big money and big bene's and doing nothing but causing trouble for this City. The fish rots from the head and always has at this PD. The decades long directives of bothering simple PTC folks for easy revenues might finally change and they can concentrate on getting rid of the crime that seems to be infiltrating at a fast rate. I can watch drug deals going on just about any time of the day or night at numerous places along Crosstown Road or at the corner convenience gas stations. I actually called one in one day and no cop ever showed up as I waited for over a half hour. I suppose it's much easier to prey on our own citizens for having a tail light out or for throwing a water balloon. Get rid of those at the top fast and get some sense back into this force for a change.

Bostonian212
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hmmmm...

I challenge any citizen claim that they ‘actually called one in one day and no cop ever showed up as I waited for over a half hour.” Where did you call? I assure you it was not Fayette County 911!

It is NOT-- yes I said NOT -- ever going to be a case when a citizen calls 911 emergency dispatch to report a crime (drug deal) that police do NOT respond. Plain and simple…assuming you called Fayette County 911, as you would have needed to do. A no show is NEVER going to ever happen. Your statement has zero merit!

So, PTCPTCPTC don’t make up stories that simply have NO SENSIBLE TRUTH!

If I didn’t know any better your tone makes one wonder just “what ax do you have to grid with the senior staff at the PD? HMMMMM

Bostonian212
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Minimum Wage Anyone?
Mike King
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Cutting Police and Fire?

Trimming the police budget $60K plus one new car is far too easy. First, eliminate the new vehicle the Chief gets annually then increase the bike patrols along the paths. Eliminate both the Fire and Police Chief positions in favor of a director of public safety position with an eye toward the elimination of duplicate job functions.

Let's face facts, our city's workforce is far too top heavy whose focus for far too long has been revenue generation. Councilman Imker's proposals are a step in the right direction, but they are only a start.

commonsense97
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Ignorance is Bliss

It's funny to go through all posts related to public safety and see how many times Mike King claims the Chief gets a new car every year. He has been told numerous times to check his facts and yet continues to post the same crap. Hey Mike keep saying it enough and it just might finally make it true. For those of us that have lived here for over 15 years and actually care enough to do our homework, it's easy to discover that no approved budgets since Chief Clark's first year has included a Ford Expedition except for the first one. I'm not here to pick sides but atleast I do my homework before I preach to others my opinions. Now as a citizen of many years I do not feel that cuts into public safety are the answer. Yes I too have been stopped my fair share of times by the PTCPD, but I have never had a problem with the outcomes. Some were good, some were not, but I have never felt unsafe for a single day in this city. That's saying something these days.

Insayn
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The Chief has been driving

The Chief has been driving the same car since the day he got hired. Know your facts.

ptctaxpayer
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Mike King is a one note

Mike King is a one note horn--- "I hate Haddix". If Al Quaeda published a Letter to the Editor criticizing Donnie, you'd see Mike bent down on a prayer rug.

You and Imker are wrong on this. I've been down to Clark's previous jurisdiction. It is a beach community, which normally attracts a lot of low lifes but they have no crime. And, the rank and file cops remember Skippy very favorably. Let the man do his job. Cut elsewhere. Let the man do his job.

tortugaocho
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Imker-- what a freaking dunce

Imker-- what a freaking dunce.

We moved to Fayette for 3 reasons: schools, low crime rate and good recreation.

OK we are in a deep recession. So cut recreation. Cut out cart path repairs. Cut recreations. Quit spending a million on plastic bubbles over the swimming pool and the tennis club for the Development Authority crowd.

But do not-- DO NOT --- cut police protection. Give them what they want. I don't care if they waste it. I don't care if you cut recreation. I don't care if you raise taxes.

Focus on reality, you short ball hitter.

MYTMITE
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I LIKE YOU!

I LIKE THE WAY YOU THINK!

Bostonian212
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Great Idea ....

Sounds like another solid Imker moment. Let’s cut public safety! Way to go Eric. Let’s see if I understand correctly…no pay raises for these public safety men and women in over 4 years….but Mr. Finance Genius wants to continue to chop at their budgets. The man’s brilliant.

I wonder how many pay raises Mr. Imker has received over the past 4 years? Does anyone want to guess if he has received merit increases that he has told his employer no thank you…keep the raise the company is suffering from economic conditions. Doubt it!

WOW…let’s cut $60,000 out of a $7 million dollar police budget and reduce one car. Is this a comedy show or what? Can you just imagine the savings the city can enjoy with this proposed cost savings initiative? We could build an Imker statue in front of City Hall to remind tax payers how much Mr. Imker saved this city.

This guy is such a joke! How do spell posturing for Mayor? Can’t we call for a special election to oust all 5 clowns NOW?

bladderq
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Police cuts

& what happened to reducing the # of Captains? I see people of lesser rank issuing press releases in say Gwinnett. How about some accountability in tickets issues and crimes prevented? I know, hard to prove a negative. Still beating your wife? Too much staff, too many cars, too many supervisors, too many cops.

bladderq
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Police cuts

& what happened to reducing the # of Captains? I see people of lesser rank issuing press releases in say Gwinnett. How about some accountability in tickets issues and crimes prevented? I know, hard to prove a negative. Still beating your wife? Too much staff, too many cars, too many supervisors, too many cops.