PTC Mayor Haddix slams Councilman Imker on ‘smoke and mirrors’ budget

PTC mayor says councilman flip-flopped on tax increases

A disagreement over City Council budgeting tactics now has Mayor Don Haddix on the offensive against fellow Councilman Eric Imker. In a letter to the editor in the July 20 edition, Haddix chides Imker for promising to avoid property tax increases when he ran for election in 2009, only to vote for a property tax increase in 2010.

Haddix also criticized Imker’s reasoning for supporting the tax increase, namely that the proposed $2 million in cuts that he devised weren’t approved by the rest of City Council.

“Imker never had $2 million because many of his items were not legal, feasible or doable such as parking meters at the library,” Haddix wrote. “We would have continued the 2010 budget and been forced to do adjustments, without any tax increase.”

Haddix last year favored a smaller tax increase of .5 mills as opposed to the 1.25 mills that was approved on a 3-2 vote of council, with Imker breaking a virtual tie between the two sides.

“He blamed the rest of Council for not backing his cuts due to lack of courage, guts and backbone, an accusation he repeated at the July 11 budget workshop ...” Haddix wrote.

Haddix also says Imker’s budget recommendations include no tax increases this year, but features some in future years. Imker has said previously that the city can reduce or eliminate those tax increases, much as it has done for this budget cycle.

Instead of enacting a property tax increase this year, the city is poised to get by with less property tax revenues than last year due to loss of property values.

The mayor also criticized Imker’s supposition that the city is on track to have a sustainable budget within the next several years.

“This is semantics and spreadsheet smoke and mirrors,” Haddix wrote. “Reducing contingency fund line item numbers makes the books look better during an election year but does not reduce the amount ultimately spent by one penny.”

“... Using Imker’s projections in 2017, we will still be spending more than we take in after draining the reserves and three more tax increases,” Haddix continued. “Taking out the smoke and mirrors entries makes it even worse. That is not a sustainable budget and does not address the real issue of spending more than we take in.”

Haddix said he thinks the city should avoid spending down its cash reserves as projected in fiscal years 2013 through 2016. Instead, Haddix advocates prioritizing “essential services and maintenance” in addition to adopting fees and fee increases for non-essential services.

Haddix wrote that he also favors streamlining of city operations and the use of public/private partnerships.

The city currently has cash reserves equivalent to 37 percent of its annual budget, and starting in 2013 that amount will be spent down until it equals 20 percent of the city’s budget.

That is after the city is projected to end this budget year by adding nearly $1.6 million into cash reserves, and a projection to add some $831,000 to the reserves over the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Imker and Haddix clashed over the budget at the July 11 City Council budget workshop, arguing in raised voices, and Imker at one point put a large binder over his head, accusing Haddix of failing to look at the impact this year’s budget would have in future years.

Imker has proposed some $407,000 in cuts to the 2011-2012 proposed budget which council has under consideration and is expected to vote on at its Aug. 4 meeting.

Haddix has contended that he wants to understand what the cuts are for, particularly the impact on services.

The budget will be discussed at a public hearing at Thursday night’s council meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

In his letter, Haddix again said he wants the city to fund the Development Authority of Peachtree City in an effort to attract businesses here. Last year the council on a 3-2 vote cut the entirety of funding for DAPC from its 2010-2011 budget, instead favoring the adoption of a system that gave the city a full-time paid staffer to handle the same role: an economic development coordinator.

Haddix contends the coordinator would focus on attracting retail jobs instead of the higher-paid jobs needed to bring residents to the city along with additional disposable income.

“We need our development authority funded with their own development director because they do have the legal ability and powers an EDC does not,” Haddix wrote.

Haddix said that Imker’s contention that the Fayette County Development Authority works to proactively recruit businesses here is false. Instead, FCDA works only with leads that are brought to it, Haddix note.

Haddix also got in a jab at former city Economic Development Coordinator Joey Grisham, to whom Haddix attributed comments that the city needed big box retail stores, and also that the city’s village concept was not viable, leading the city to need a centralized shopping district.

Grisham resigned shortly after it was revealed that Mayor Haddix’s wife Cathy was critical of his support for big box stores, as she expressed that she hoped Grisham’s tenure would be short-lived.

Based on that news, Haddix said that some people have asked his wife to run for city council, “which is legal and will irritate those who tried to make hay of the incident by being 180 degrees from the effect they desired.”

PTClurker's picture
Joined: 02/05/2010
Haddix in panic mode

My oh my, how our mayor is panicking.

He knows Imker absolutely dominated the budget talks with actual concrete ideas and solutions to the city's budget problem. Imker alone devised a plan to actually balance the budget and Haddix knows it. Smoke and mirrors? Not at all.

And Haddix? Absolutely nothing. No preparation. No comprehension of what a budget is for. And no long term plan. ...unless you count last ditch efforts like this to try to undermine actual progress a plan.

Mayor Haddix, your efforts to try to mask actual sound budget models and deceive the public in the name of your political future will not work. Your embarrassing actions (and budgetary incompetence) over the past year and a half have spoke volumes. When it comes to the budget, forgive me if I side with the guy who's actually come up with solutions and SHOWED them to the public for all to scrutinize, details and all, over a nay-saying bag of air who understands budgeting about as much as how to avoid getting sued.

I hope for the city's sake Imker decides to run again, block Haddix from doing any more damage, and continues his transparent, no-nonsense methods and solutions with regards to the budget.

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

proven once again that he is ill suited for public office or for that matter any position requiring leadership.

L.Sussberg's picture
Joined: 02/13/2009

Once and for all, can this mayor stop the political games and focus on doing the job at hand.

There appears to be no difference between Washington DC and PTC City Hall!

Instead of writing editorials, find a way to make the budget work or maybe its time to wipe the slate clean and elect someone who can do the job without all the drama and poltics!

roundabout's picture
Joined: 01/01/2011
We do need a downtown!

A downtown with stores under and apartments over---expensive apartments.

City Hall ought to be there; post office with a parking lot; one parking building; a large circle or square; a courthouse; NO POLICE STATIONS (MAYBE A SUB-STATION) NO FIRE STATIONS (ON BACK STREET)

A roundabout on each end and a buy-pass around town. Also needed.

Buy out and tear down some older sun-division to do it!

Now, we should also change the city charter to not allow relatives to be on city council or in the office.

As to parking meters and cameras---forget both. If you must have a booth on each end of town to charge a dollar or two to get in and 3-4 to get out.

Just kidding---------I am dreaming of 2050!

mthom5436's picture
Joined: 05/29/2008
Parking meters at the

Parking meters at the library?!?! Love it! I don't even care if the statement is true or not that is just good comedy.

Spyglass's picture
Joined: 01/28/2008
So Haddix, when are you resigning

and taking Imker with you?

You guys can go off somewhere far far away and argue like children while we find adults to take care of business here.

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Joined: 10/26/2005
He won't resign but he can be neutered

A few short months from now we can vote for Imker if he runs or someone else if he doesn't. Sturnbaum probably won't run, but that seat is up as well, so we have 2 chances to contain and counteract our off-the-rails mayor. This is shaping up to be as important as the "Anybody but Brown" efforts at the end of his first and only term.

Plunkett and Rowland seem logical choices although Pullias and Bradshaw would be better. No matter what, the candidates I will support must have publicly renounce Haddix's lunatic ravings and pledge to introduce a censure of him once in office. Why Kim or Eric or even Vanessa has not spoken out against him and made some effort to shut him up instead of embarrassing our city is beyond me. He's even decided to insult the Fayette Development Authority which is the only entity staffed to bring industrial growth into PTC.

roundabout's picture
Joined: 01/01/2011
Morgan: are you serious?


He is a developer!

Robert W. Morgan
Robert W. Morgan's picture
Joined: 10/26/2005
Yes I'm serious

So now, if the biggest issue before city council is "developing" new business and creating jobs by using our contacts in the "development" industry in order to increase revenue and balance the budget - why would you resist the idea of a developer (albeit an idle one at the moment) helping to lead the city?

Only people like Steve Brown incite class warfare by portraying all those who recognize growth is part of life as developers and then calling all developers evil. You don't want to be associated with that gadfly - do you?

With Haddix going completely off the rails, we need to get some mature experience individuals on council to actually run the city council as it needs to be run. See his latest above where he trashes Grisham and proposes his wife as a possible candidate for city council.

roundabout's picture
Joined: 01/01/2011

I take it then you wanted the big boxes in town just like Grisham?

Why can't his wife run if she wishes? She either wins or loses!

You are just a rabble-rouser!

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