$100 PTC tax hike scrutinized

Peachtree City Finance Director Paul Salvatore explains details of the tax increase and other facets of the budget. Photo/John Munford.

Most of the public discussion about a proposed property tax increase at Thursday’s meeting of the Peachtree City Council focused on the increased spending for landscaping.

The average Peachtree City homeowner would face a $100 increase in property taxes, which would shore up funding for road and cart path maintenance along with improving landscaping efforts. The city has completely spent the last of its money from the 2004 transportation sales tax.

Responding to questions from a citizen, City Manager Jim Pennington said the $635,000 increase includes the addition of landscaping equipment plus the hiring of several crews of landscapers who would be city employees, bringing the operation back in house.

Pennington said citizens have complained numerous times about the poor quality and low frequency of landscaping conducted by contractors the past three years. The city undertook various efforts to work with those companies to improve quality, but the results were unsatisfactory, Pennington noted.

In the last three years, the city twice has had to dismiss a contractor in the middle of the year due to performance issues, Pennington added.

“We’ve tried every alternative,” Pennington said.

Beyond landscaping, the other lion’s share of the $1.72 million in projected revenue from the tax increase will nearly double the the city’s street paving budget by an increase of $717,000. Another $200,000 is being set aside for infrastructure improvements, mainly for bridge maintenance.

The city is also increasing its cart path construction budget by $75,000, adding $45,760 for litter removal by Keep Peachtree City Beautiful and $52,240 for technology improvements.

The budget also includes $405,000 set aside to account for potential salary increases from a citywide pay and classification study the city has funded.

The budget also presumes the use of a $3 million facilities bond to repair city facilities such as fire stations and the like. As savings, the budget eliminates funding for a public works director, a reduction of $85,000 though the position remains intact but unfilled.

As for the future, the millage rate would result in the city using about $350,000 in cash reserves over each of the next four years, which would leave the reserves still in a healthy position during the fifth year at 26 percent of the city’s overall annual budget. City policy requires those cash reserves to be kept at a minimum of 20 percent of the city’s annual budget.

The city is projecting to end this fiscal year with a fund balance of 33 percent, equal to about $10.26 million.

dar thompson
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Joined: 08/23/2006
Be careful for what

you ask for you just might get it.

Many citizens (maybe 10) complained about cost, so the city voted to removed many of it's own employee's and hired out-side a outside landscaping company(s).

You get what you pay for...Cheaper always cost more in the end.

Roadrunner
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Joined: 11/16/2006
Totally agree about failures of outsourcing our landscaping

I knew the landscaping would suffer after being outsourced, but even I couldn't believe just how quickly and dramatically the decline occurred! They pulled out all of the junipers at the entrance to North Kedron & 74 leaving just a barren mess and there it sat for years. Very recently they finally planted some new plants but what was wrong with the established junipers and why did it take so long to finally replace them with something alive? The roadways are also much more ragged looking then before, frankly everything looks worse. News flash, outsourcing companies make money by employing fewer & less skilled employees so no one should be surprised that quality suffers. As my mother would say, "penny wise but pound foolish".

Bostonian212
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Joined: 06/24/2012
Ditch the Landscape Company...

Who's the one that was hired to Manage the City and made this landscape outsource recommendation? Was it the same person that has made some of the other bone head decisions for the city since his arrival? Is it the same Doctor that came to PTC from about a half dozen other municipalities during his City Mgmt career?

Speaking of ditching...maybe Council needs to consider doing exactly that while they are at it! Consider the news headlines (and law suits) that have taken place surrounding PTC since the Doctor came to town. Not real good medicine (or remedies) he has prescribed!

Maybe it is time for a new PTC ad campaign...Ditch the Ditcher!

mudcat
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Joined: 10/26/2005
Landscaping back in the house. Thank you so much.

Why anyone outsourced the landscaping crew is way beyond me, but they must have had a reason. As current council now has a reason to bring it back. Why play these silly games with the budget. If you want PTC to look good and be good, keep control of the people who are responsible for making it good. Is that hard to understand? Outsourcing? Outsource yourself city manager if you think of doing that again. Next thing is you'll think about outsourcing recreation - maybe outsourcing our seniors. Just stop the crap and leave it alone. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

$100 extra a year to preserve what we have? No problem. Gladly make it $200 or more. I love living here and understand that I have to pay for it. Those who think this is a free ride in Disneyland just need to pack up and leave.

MYTMITE
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Joined: 02/14/2008
I thought it was ridiculous when we got rid of our in-house land

scapers and hired an outside company. We have looked shabby ever since. Same thing when they went through all of the mess with trash pick-up. That made no sense at all and now I see three times as many pick-up trucks on our streets and we are paying much more. Like you say, if it is not broke don't fix it. Goodness knows, there is enough that really needs fixing, we don't have to go looking for trouble.

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