PTC to lower tax rate 1.25%

Paul Salvatore in file photo.

With no property tax increase in the works, a public hearing on Peachtree City’s $29.58 million budget passed without comment from the four residents who attended the July 18 City Council meeting.

The budget proposed by city staff, which includes a 1.25 percent dip in the millage rate, is also notable because a typically fractious council hasn’t been able to haggle over one bit of it so far.

In the background, but looming for the members are the November elections in which three posts, including mayor, are up for grabs, and politicking has already begun.

Council is expected to adopt the budget and millage rate at one of the August council meetings.

While the budget uses $794,000 from the city’s unrestricted cash reserves, this is the last year the city plans to do so under its five-year budget outlook, said city Finance Director Paul Salvatore.

The reserves are needed this year for street and cart path resurfacing as the $2 million a year the city had been getting from the 2004 countywide transportation sales tax has been completely exhausted, Salvatore noted.

The slight decrease in the millage rate is due to the city paying off the airport authority bonds, Salvatore said.

If a sales tax proposed by the county fails this November, the city might have to ask its residents to authorize a general obligation bond to pay for several years of street and path repaving, Salvatore noted. If both those plans fail, the city may have to simply add the cost to its general fund, which would necessitate a millage rate increase and/or budget cuts in other areas.

The budget also includes a second proposed facilities bond to be used to upgrade deteriorating infrastructure in the city. That bond, which staff has suggested should be for $2.5 million, would not require a tax increase because the city can use debt service capacity freed up by the recent paying off of the airport authority bonds, officials have said.

The debt service on such a bond would be about $298,000 a year over 10 years, according to Salvatore, who has projected it would go to market early next year presuming it is approved by council.

The 2013-2014 budget includes a proposed 2 percent cost of living salary increase for city employees, who haven’t received such since the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Last year council granted a 2 percent increase as a one-time payment to prevent salary hikes from affecting the budget.

Funding is also included for a comprehensive pay/classification study that has not been undertaken since 2001. No implementation funds, however, were added to the budget, Salvatore cautioned Thursday.

The staff-proposed budget includes one new civilian position for the fire department: a logistics specialist to keep track of and place orders for needed tools, supplies and equipment, pending a review of fire department staff by a contractor who is also reviewing the police department, Salvatore said. No other recommended staff reductions and/or departmental reorganizations are planned, Salvatore said.

Spyglass
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1.25% or 1.25 millage points?

They are not the same.

Larry.Sussberg
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Mayor, Council, Taxes, Needs Assessment

PTC's looming fiscal problem was 4 years ago and the actions taken clearly helped PTC maintain it's Triple A rating. The Needs Assessment Committee was NOT formed 4 years ago, only recently and it has outlined a solid road map that the next elected council and mayor can act on assuming we have the leadership and teamwork.

The November election is all about electing the right individual candidates AND whether or not the citizens want to elect a team that will work together to accomplish more or if they want to elect people they know can't work together continuing the dysfunction.

For the incumbents running for re-election, it will also be about past performance in actions, leadership and integrity.

In the mayoral race past leadership and integrity must clearly be at the top of list.

Finally, if the mayor is the only person who can call for a special committee and The Needs Assessment Committee was called for by the mayor, why don't we have this comprehensive plan proposal from the mayor's office?

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Why Larry?

Because Council has to authorize Staff research, contacts with potential private partners, etc to develop the Plan.

You seem to think this is some simple document. It isn't.

I have been calling for a Comprehensive Plan since 2008. As a Councilman I had no power to proceed even with a Committee. I tried working with the Council for two years, as Mayor, only to be told they would make all the decisions based on their thinking.

So, last year, I formed the Committee. As Imker stated, on the Dais, they didn't want it and were not going to pay any attention to its findings. Just like they ignored One PTC.

So, yes, the next Mayor and Council can act on it. Who better than the person who is responsible for its creation, me, to be Mayor?

Say what you want, but the fact we achieved the AAA in 2008 says, contrary to your statements, it didn't take these 3 Councilmembers to achieve or preserve it. That is simply a false claim.

Indeed, we all have records. I stand behind my record with accomplishments in hand. The others have nothing but tax, debt and spending increases along with failed legal attacks.

Getting things done tops the list. Going along to get along is PC, but it is not productive.

I hope, next Council, to have Councilmembers that actually know the duties of their office, respect the Mayor's office and do not spend four years running for Mayor.

Then, even when we disagree, it does not have to turn into name calling at meetings, hanging budget books over heads etc. None of which I ever did.

You have made it very clear you supported the tax, etc increases. I truly think you would be singing a different tune about the Councilmembers if you had not supported them.

Robert W. Morgan
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You are correct mr. mayor. I want the same thing as you

Specifically, as you said --- "I hope, next Council, to have Councilmembers that actually know the duties of their office, respect the Mayor's office and do not spend four years running for Mayor."

In addition, I want a Mayor who actually knows the duties of his office, respect the Mayor's office (and the city and the members of council) and does not spend four years running for reelection.

I could get genuinely excited about someone running for mayor that stated they would only serve one term in office and not seek reelection.

GeorgeDienhart
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RWM One and Done

You need to attend some of our action packed GOP breakfasts. I've been saying that my intention is to be a One and Done mayor. Now that its here, you can hold me to it in four years.

Larry.Sussberg
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George Dienhart on Taxes and Bond Interest

George,

I realize you might be reluctant to answer these questions...for fear of Haddix attacking you with partial truths and distortions but

What is your viewpoint on the orginal tax increases done 4 and 3 years ago to balance the city budget? Was there another way? How large was the deficits and would cost cutting only have solved the problem?

What are your thoughts on the new bonds and interest costs?

Do we need this "comprehensive plan" or does the Needs Assessment Committee report provide that information to have staff begin proposals to cut costs and lower taxes as outlined in the study?

I hope to ask the same 3 questions to other candidates and I am hoping an organization - TEA, Republican and Democratic Parties organize city wide debates to be held in large public places for people to attend.

Any thoughts to help push for that?

Thanks as always

Larry

Robert W. Morgan
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Bravo George

That's what I like to hear. Good luck.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Re-election Morgan

Well, Morgan, with term limits there is no running for re-election for me if I get re-elected. It is pure 'do the job,' meaning I will continue as I have been doing.

Imker vowed to run for one term only. How did that work out?

Just saying a promise like that does not mean much.

As for the implication I don't know my duties, please state one that I do not know.

Whether you like it or not, part of the job of Mayor is not letting others exceed their office limits.

On my website read the material and links posted in the "PTC Form of Government" forum. Way to much material to post here.

Peachtree City Mayor
donhaddix.com

Robert W. Morgan
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My new little friend, da mayor is asking a question. Answers now

You bloggers all up to answering this?

Here it is - in his own words.

"As for the implication I don't know my duties, please state one that I do not know.""

I am just guessing here, but let's say there are 12 or so. things he does not know. Forget the fact he doesn't know he's coming in last in the Nov election with 2 votes - 3 if pumpkin is someone other than his wife.

"As for the implication I don't know my duties, please state one that I do not know."

I'll start with #1, you bloggers fill in the rest.
1. Stealing money from the city to pay your lawyer.
2. Attacking city council members on these blogs. Bad. Makes you look like an idiot.
3. Providing leadership to the city and the council as Harold Logsdon and all his predecessors have done.
4. Being a decent person instead of a raging idiot who thinks everything is about you.
5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

So, is 12 enough? Or should we go on.

Mike King
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Mayor

Continue as you've been doing? Having the citizens pay for your lack of mental acuity by referring to the previous mayor as part drunk? Talk about exceeding the limits of their office. Or, could it be your lapse of cogent thinking that resulted in the city forced into undesired housing?
Mayor, we both know the list can go on. Admit that you're in over your head and walk away now. Richard Nixon resigned for the best interest of the country, you can do the same for the city.
Do us all a service and simply go away.

Larry.Sussberg
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Don Haddix - Why?

Your response to everything is to turn it around on others! That's always at the heart of the problem.

I support the financial health and well being of this city and 4 years ago when the city was in trouble you proposed nothing. You let council solve the serious problem, offered no real alternative solutions (with serious numbers) then turned the issue around calling them "tax and spend".

In fact 4 years ago during the financial crisis, your focus was trying to push through your salary increase. This is a fact you will not deny since Ms Fleisch can confirm!

Council members are not the problem, and the prior council was not the problem either. You have burned through 2 completely different city councils always blaming and picking fights. The same behavior you exhibit with anyone that doesn't agree wth you.

As for your comment about having respect for the mayor's office, respect is usually earned, but to ask for respect after spending 4 years attacking them on the blogs and editorials instead of meeting on a individual basis to build consenus is absurd.

But, putting that all aside...

You will not win re-election because the voters know you took their money through the GIRMA settlement that was below the city's insurance deductible and for a private lawsuit,not public. GIRMA only agreed after your third submission and it was based on a technicality that your insult of someone was sent on a city email.

Many in the city want council to change the ethics rules for mayor and council that will:

1-require elected officials to be governed under the same email and Internet policies as the staff.
2-GIRMA claims requests must be approved by city council.

Enough said.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Tax Rate

The Maintenance and Operation Millage Rate remains the same. The Bond Millage Rate decreases .064, which means the Total Millage Rate decreases .064.

But, that will not hold if what is planned for the future occurs. The Millage Rate will be going up due to more planned Infrastructure Bond debt next year.

As well, there is more taxes wanted via the SPLOST, another Stormwater Bond in 3 years and no millage roll back if home values do increase.

Also, no end in sight for using the Reserves, which will put our AAA Bond Rating at risk.

Try to claim it all as some Councilmembers and Larry Sussberg wish, we got the AAA Bond rating from our 2008 Budget, not under these Councilmembers.

We need a Comprehensive Strategic Plan for debt, spending and services. More taxes and debt and service not aligning with what the citizens have made clear they want is not a plan for the future.

Nor is returning to Harold Logsdon's band-aid approach and rezoning and annexation to build more and more retail and homes.

Peachtree City Mayor
donhaddix.com

pumpkin
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Tax Rate, Mr. Mayor

thank you for taking the time to explain to the few who do not seem to understand. you will be re-elected, you are the best man for this job. if you ever decide not to run in future years, this town will see and understand what the alternatives were/are. keep up your good work mr. mayor we know there always those malcontents who have no idea, a couple of which continue to rant and I seriously think need help.

NUK_1
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Haddix's only fan weighs in!

Sterling commentary once again. I will give you credit, pumpkin, everyone else cannot stand Haddix and can't wait until November, but you're definitely still loyal and drinking that Kool-Aid.

November is just a few more months away, thankfully. Going to be big changes on not just the Mayor's office but also on Council, both being a pretty good chance to achieve a lot better than this BS we have all had to endure.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Thanks Pumpkin

Another key for a good solution is good people running for Councilmember Posts. It does take a 3 vote for most, but not all, things to happen.

As Imker said, and I agreed, when he ran in 2009, any idiot can balance a budget by increasing taxes and spending the Reserve.

Time is getting short, so we will know all who choose to run in five weeks.

The only thing I can say, for sure, at this point in time, is I know that Learnard, if she runs, will not go unopposed.

She seems mostly dedicated to the school creation work. That is not a PTC effort, so she can not run and go full time in that effort.

With the colleges in the mix at the Studio site, her proposal and the BOE, this has become a mix that will take some serious time, money and effort to organize and consolidate.

Peachtree City Mayor
donhaddix.com

Mike King
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Mayor and Council

What is troubling to PTC residents is that you folks simply can not or will not address a growing debt issue. Council members lauded this budget because it did not increase property taxes, but tried to skip the fact that should a local option sales tax fail(I believe it will fail miserably) the city will be forced to borrow as much as $2.5M for maintenance expenses that any competent manager would have addressed.
Our mayor perhaps realizes the dilemma, but prefers to politicize the problem by blaming the gang of three for obstructionism while never offering anything resembling a workable solution.
Without significant cuts to the city's bottom line and an equal increase in tax revenues specifically designated for storm water and certain infrastructure (street and path maintenance), we will continue to play a smoke and mirrors game designed to deceive rather than cure.
We don't need a comprehensive plan for debt, we simply need to slow spending.

Larry.Sussberg
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Mike King

Assuming the Splost fails, then go to your plan B or a combination of ideas to lower expenses

Lets hope you are elected on council, we elect a new mayor who will act as an adult and lead.....and you and the others are able to "rationally" discuss your Plan B or a combination of actions.

It all starts with respect for those elected and the citizens which this mayor has shown that he has 0 concept of.

I know you will bring dignity and professionalism into the job.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Mike King

Most assuredly service can be realigned to what the citizens want and also bring down spending. The Councilmembers do not want to do so.

We already have a Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). What is under consideration is the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

Nor do you have the correct number for what is being looked at. For plus or minus five years the list covers over $14 million just for roads and paths.

But I do agree it will fail and I oppose it.

I have offered a workable solution, the Plan. But the Councilmembers do not support it. Because you do not like it does not make it unworkable.

Yes, we need a plan. Every business has one and so do cities who are the most successful in money management.

It isn't a Comprehensive Strategic Plan for debt. It is a Plan for revenue, spending, debt and service levels.

There was no smoke and mirrors in what I posted above. It shows clearly we are not on a path to success.

As for the City Manager, he has to abide by the guidance of the majority on Council. He most assuredly agrees with and supports the need for a Plan and has had one in every other city he has worked for.

Your idea of a Plan is to cut Safety and personnel in general without cutting services. You also want to cut salaries. It won't work.

The One PTC and Survey both agreed on areas where cuts could occur. But it has to be done within a Plan. The citizens spoke loud and clear in the One PTC and Survey. It is past time to start listening.

As I proved with the changes at the Fred and Tennis Center, costs can be reduced and services increased. Also proven is public/private is a viable way to improve services and reduce costs. There are a lot of potential areas still remaining to accomplish even more.

Again, this shows you are wrong in saying I have not put any viable solutions on the table. My record proves my ideas work when used.

Who has said no to these ideas? The Councilmembers. Credit where credit is due.

It is obvious from what you said you do not have a clear understanding of what is really going on.

Peachtree City Mayor
donhaddix.com

Spyglass
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"it is obvious from what you said

You do not have a clear understanding of what is really going on."

Stay classy.

Larry.Sussberg
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Thank you Eric, George, Kim, Vanessa & Staff

Thank you Eric, Kim, Vanessa for seeing and acting quickly on the looming financial crisis Peachtree City faced 4 years ago.

Carefully raising the millage rate against falling property values so people did not pay more in taxes, but enough to balance the budget while at the same time squeezing expenses within the city budget was the right move.

Then, with George coming on to council, re-financing the bonds allowing room for additional (Triple A rated) bonds targeted for investment in the city's aging infrastructure helps this city move forward with a bright future.

In tough times, some talk and attack, but others (the 3 of you) took the necessary steps showing real leadership!

Thank you again and job well done!

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