Imker: PTC Development Authority must re-focus while using less money

Last week three Peachtree City council members prevailed in hiring an economic development coordinator as a city staffer while also drastically cutting funding for the city’s development authority from $35,000 to zero for the 2010-2011 budget cycle.

Both actions were approved by council members Eric Imker, Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard and opposed by Mayor Don Haddix and Councilman Doug Sturbaum. While the coordinator vote was not a surprise, the unfunding of the Development Authority of Peachtree City certainly was, as it came unannounced.

DAPC will be able to seek funding for certain projects by petitioning council when necessary, Imker said.

“We are not funding them out of existence,” Imker said. “We want them to remain a viable entity to do their primary mission.”

Imker said he wants DAPC to focus on attracting new businesses to the community. The authority should be contacting potential business leads for the city and not working as much on local-oriented projects, Imker said.

Imker said the authority specifically should be offering tax breaks and other financial incentives including the potential of impact fee cuts in hopes of luring more businesses here.

Because the Fayette County Development Authority takes the lead on almost all major new businesses coming to the community, the DAPC over the past several years has evolved into supporting local businesses and meeting with existing industry leaders to make sure they become aware of any potential problems that might crop up.

DAPC also helped in the recruiting of Atlanta Christian College, which has not yet made a final decision on relocating its main college campus. The school, however, has opened a satellite campus here in Peachtree City.

DAPC Chairman Mark Hollums said the authority will be waiting to get further direction from council and as a result most of its projects will be on hold until then.

DAPC is an all-volunteer board and in recent months council has battled over a push from Mayor Don Haddix and Councilman Doug Sturbaum to increase DAPC’s funding from $35,000 to $150,000 in the 2010-2011 budget.

The defunding of DAPC was approved in a 3-2 vote over the objections of Haddix and Sturbaum. Imker noted at last week’s meeting that DAPC has about $15,000 in reserves that it can use for some projects.

Imker also said at last week’s meeting that he didn’t feel comfortable giving DAPC the same $35,000 it was budgeted for this year because the authority could choose to spend the money however it wishes. Imker did not characterize any of DAPC’s recent expenditures as being out of line.

Imker did challenge the proposed $150,000 DAPC budget as having “way too much overhead with little going toward the development authority’s primary mission.”

Imker did say the authority’s seven volunteer members “are doing a great job.”

GAltant
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One more important point that Mr. Imker was trying to make!

At the last council meeting, Mr. Imker tried to present a slide with data showing how much vacant retail, commerical and industrial space there is in PTC. It was about that time that the meeting got ugly and Mr. Haddix yelled at Mr. Imker and took control of the meeting shutting him up.

That data was very interesting and important for the citizens to see.

Mike King
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GAltant

What Mr Haddix doesn't want you to see is that both retail and industrial space is 90% occupied. He has himself in a corner about the tax base and with no appreciable residential growth, his only alternative to maintain the size and scope of city government is to continue to raise property taxes.

Should retail and industrial space become occupied at 100%, your and my taxes would still continue to rise. Maintaining nearly two-thirds of one's revenue to personnel obligations leaves little or no room to maintain the quality of life most of us have come to expect. Ask yourself if your kids can afford to live here in PTC should they choose to do so.

PTClurker
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Let me guess, borntorun...

You weren't at or even listened into the council meeting last Thursday, did you? If you actually did, I can't imagine how you can make the claims you do without a) Having some sort of agenda to discredit anything council does or b) have no clue how to handle a budget.

During the meeting it was made clear that DAPC's funding spanned well, WELL, beyond its intended purpose. Money's were spent on frivolous activities, tickets at the FRED, oh... and they even had a budget that included monies they didn't even know what to do with!!! That's deplorable in ANY budget, let alone one that's spending taxpayer money and even worse in this economy. Another example of bloated agencies grabbing what they can. And why not? They don't even have to be accountable for what they spend!

The 3 council members voting to zero fun DAPC realized this and did the responsible thing. When an agency is splurging, you pull it back to its core and indeed CONTROL it's budget with rigor! To do otherwise would be completely irresponsible!

But, I suppose if council had done the opposite and fully funded DAPC to its max, you would've complained about the waste it was producing and chastised council that it isn't taking enough responsibility to ensure our taxpayer dollars are being used thriftily. I won't resort to name-calling, but let's just say yeah, I get you.

Oh, and by the way, on top of all this... did you hear (or even know about) the research that was done that shows that over 90% of office space in the city is currently filled? The "anger" over this DAPC zero funding shows just how people have become complacent with bloated government spending... even when its been PROVEN that the spending is not fiscally responsible! It's just a norm in our society. To get things back on track, we first have to break through this mentality of spending and learn how to say "no". We have to learn how to budget and take control of our resources, line by line if we have to. DAPC has its money to do its primary function. If it wants more it should ask for it and give a damn good reason why. It's the responsible thing to do.

bad_ptc
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PTClurker and DAPC budget

"During the meeting it was made clear that DAPC's funding spanned well, WELL, beyond its intended purpose. Money's were spent on frivolous activities, tickets at the FRED, oh... and they even had a budget that included monies they didn't even know what to do with!!!"

If I remember correctly Mr. Imker was reading from the proposed $150,000 and not the former $35,000 budget.

borntorun
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Sorry, PTClurker...wrong!

I was in attendance at city council meeting last week. Watched part of it again on the city web site too. (My wife says I have no life - lol). I have no agenda. I'm not a Haddix/Sturbaum supporter as you can tell by my other posts. I'm not considering running or volunteering for anything either. Just expressing my constitutional right to freedom of speech. Sorry if that gets your panties in a wad. As for frivolous spending, sure if that is happening then it needs to be looked at and DAPC should be held accountable for spending monies appropriately. No argument here. But you don's strip 100% of the funding and make them beg for money to buy pencils. As for the Fred tickets, I don't know if DAPC purchased those or if The Fred give them to DAPC. But the fact is, it is common practice in economic development when you have a prospect considering your community, you want to not only show potential locations of where they may relocate, but you also want to showcase what your community has to offer in terms of quality of life and things to do. I can assure you that if a prospect is considering Augusta, their local dev authorities will arrange and pay if necessary for a round of golf at Augusta National. And yes I heard about the 90% occupied stat. But economic development is not just about business recruitment....business retention is a bigger piece of the pie right now. You want a vibrant and active dev authority working with existing businesses keeping them in business. Bottom line, this council's lack of understanding about economic development is embarrassing and will ultimately hurt the business community.

PTClurker
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Breaking down your post...

Breaking down your post, ignoring irrelevant fluff...

"As for frivolous spending, sure if that is happening then it needs to be looked at and DAPC should be held accountable for spending monies appropriately. No argument here."
- Glad you agree

"But you don's strip 100% of the funding and make them beg for money to buy pencils."
- First of all, your exaggeration doesn't help your argument. Obviously the funds for "pencils" will be there. There are existing funds that are more than ample for DAPCs primary (emphasize PRIMARY) mission. Secondly, and most importantly of this entire post, your principle here is dead wrong. To be blunt, you SURE AS HECK DO make them request additional money for projects that go beyond DAPC's primary mission! Absolutely! Imagine how your finances would work if you gave a blank check (and that's exactly what it is) to an agency that you have no say how the money is spent! It's one thing if the agency has proven responsible (and fine, if it's responsible then by all means let them do their jobs without interference), but when irresponsibility has been shown (and it has), it would be insane NOT to have the overall responsible party (city council) in the loop.

"...it is common practice in economic development when you have a prospect considering your community, you want to not only show potential locations of where they may relocate, but you also want to showcase..."
Understood. This was one example upon many. I'll repeat one example that needs no others for support: Money was requested that they had no budget for. We're talking thousands of dollars. When you are responsible for a budget, this is a cardinal sin. And again, this is just one example.

"But economic development is not just about business recruitment....business retention is a bigger piece of the pie right now."
No argument with that statement, but I do argue that DAPC as it currently exists is most certainly not producing or retaining more business than funds going into it. Not by a long shot. And if they feel otherwise then they need to prove it... with "ding!" "ding!" a sound budget model! Where is their line item list of expenses? Why are they asking for money they have no idea what for? Until these questions are answered and the process fixed, council has a downright obligation to hold the financial controls.

And that goes beyond an "understanding about economic development" as you put it. That is plain financial common sense.

borntorun
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Breaking Down Your Post, Lurker

"There are existing funds that are more than ample for DAPCs primary (emphasize PRIMARY) mission."
- DAPC was left with $15,000 left over from this year's budget. Sounds like a lot but I guarantee you legal representation (which they are required to have) will eat up most of that.

"To be blunt, you SURE AS HECK DO make them request additional money for projects that go beyond DAPC's primary mission!"
- Please expound on this statement. What has DAPC done beyond it's primary mission? Do you even know what their primary mission is?

"...it is common practice in economic development when you have a prospect considering your community, you want to not only show potential locations of where they may relocate, but you also want to showcase..."
Understood. This was one example upon many. I'll repeat one example that needs no others for support: Money was requested that they had no budget for. We're talking thousands of dollars. When you are responsible for a budget, this is a cardinal sin. And again, this is just one example.
-Forgive me but I have no idea what you are saying here when you say "money was requested that they had no budget for". Maybe I can respond if you be a little more specific.

"I do argue that DAPC as it currently exists is most certainly not producing or retaining more business than funds going into it. Not by a long shot."
- You do realize DAPC as it currently exists is a Board comprised of unpaid volunteers all of whom have real jobs during the day and who are limited in what they can do. Nowhere will you find a dev authority whose Board responsibities include what is being asked of this Board. Every other dev authority has hired staff who are responsible for business recruitment/development not the Board!

Bottom line, I think you and I agree that DAPC needs to produce a budget based on specific expenditures and should also develop a goals matrix. Fine.

But rather than strip them of 100% of their funding and make them come before Council and beg for more money to buy pencils, a more rational and supportive measure would have been to instruct them to go back and put together a better budget and then have Council vote up or down on the revised budget. The current arrangement amounts to micromanagement by Council and is counterproductive.

I guess we will respectfully agree to disagree.

yellowjax1212
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Enough Already

Alright Lurker, enough already.
You keep pushing this silly idea that the DAPC is irresponsible and engaging in "out-of-control" spending.
Here's some facts - DAPC had a budget this year of $35,000. We are nearly done with the fiscal year 2010 (ends in October) and there is nearly $15,000 left over. If you ask me, they have been very responsible with their budget. The budget for next is $0, zip, nada, nyet, bupkiss. Not even enough for pencils unless the ask Imker and the council.
Maybe the $150,000 budget for a DAPC Director was not the best plan, I don't know but gutting all of the funding could prove to be disastrous. There is no way this "Part-time" council can micro-manage every aspect of the city operations. If they could we wold be able to lay off about half of the current staff and just hire a few more "Direct Reports" to the council.

borntorun
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Well Said, yellowjax

Lots of accusations of out of control spending by DAPC. Maybe I missed them but I haven't seen specifics. Regardless, this micromanagement plan by Eric The Idiot and his Band of Merry Ladies is nothing short of disastrous. I can only imagine the laughter coming out of the state offices of the GA Dept of Economic Development.

PTClurker
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Done

It is quite apparent from your replies that no matter what I say and no matter the evidence I present (and have presented) you both will simply ignore it, so I choose not to waste any more effort on this pointless dialogue with two people who quite obviously, from the content of their posts, have the maturity of five year olds.

I'm just glad that the rest of the readers of this forum, our neighbors, have the opportunity to see your posts for what they are. They are better men and women than I for simply closing their eyes and shaking their heads instead of feeding your demeaning forum rants with replies.

If you truly are this "angry" and really care this much about a simple DAPC implementation nuance and want all the answers to your questions, why not simply meet Imker or any of the other council ladies face-to-face and talk with him/her?

Yeah, I thought you wouldn't.

yellowjax1212
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Waste of Time

Sorry to have been a waste of your time Lurk. I simply asked you (not Eric Imker) to give proof of the wasteful spending accusations that you leveled at Dir. Hollums and the DAPC staff. Instead, all you have done is try to "elevate" yourself to the higher level by insulting me and others on this blog by calling us "angry" and our posts "demeaning forum rants". By the way adding the Ga. Tech icon doesn't necessarily make you smarter than the rest of us.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Invitation

While the vote has been taken and we will move forward subject to monitoring and developing a job description and Budget which currently does not exist for the Coordinator, I have to say a couple of things because of the unjustified slaps that have been taken at DAPC:
1. There was no irresponsible use of money. They were monitored by a Liaison, a City Staff financial person and a lawyer.
2. The Mission of DAPC has been Residential and Industrial Redevelopment, retention of business and proactive seeking of new economic development. That was even recognized by the last Council. There was not the Budget to pursue it all fully.
3. A Budget of $7,500 a year is a joke.
4. The claims of PTC being almost full industrially and commercially came from Staff, not reality. Fact is on the basis presented if a building has any occupancy, regardless of how much is vacant, it is considered occupied. Just tour the city and start counting vacant stores and spaces. I know of one Industry where over half of their building sets empty/unused and total more than half of what Councilman Imker claims is the total unoccupied.

So, if you wish to sit down and discuss reality let me know.

But, as I said, the vote was taken and we do what we can and must now. But be fair to those who worked so hard for the City.

Mike King
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Mr Mayor

To say "no irresponsible use of money by DAPC" is quite a broad statement that could use a caviat like "during my watch." By your statement Mr Mayor, you are giving credibility to DAPC's involvement pertaining to a couple of trips to China while you were on Council. But then, you do suffer from foot in mouth syndrome from time to time.

To admit that you haven't the budget to adequately fund DAPC now or ever tells me that even with the $150K YOU proposed they would still be seriously underfunded. Surely, if they were deserving of ample funding, wouldn't they receive a higher priority than say a new Harley, for example?

The $7500 may be a joke to you, Mayor, but it is reality so deal with it as you say you will.

Are you really going against the 'staff' you've protected for eight months now by saying they are incorrect? You do seem to waffle to and fro when it comes to explaining actions of our city.

I'm wondering if your concept of reality is listening to yourself talk. Get off your computer, get out of the confines of your office, and try to see what the citizens of our town see on a daily basis. You are rapidly crowding yourself into a corner.

Don Haddix
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Haddix:China

The funds for the trip from the City came from the City Budget, not DAPC.

Mike King
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Oh Really!

Are you saying DAPC had no involvement? Please enough with the double talk, city funds are city funds whether from DAPC or your discretionary fund. The point is they were involved. Are you willing to stick your neck out and say they had no part? Just remember about that propensity to stick that foot in your mouth.

You do need to get out more often.

borntorun
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Haddix Meddling In Planning Commission Issues

This was in the Fayette Daily News. Interesting that the Citizen didn't cover this story. Seems the Mayor's meddling in Planning Commission business and blogging may possibly be jeopardizing the due process with respect to Planning Commission matters according to Mr. Sussberg.

Read on:

After a contentious back and forth email exchange with Mayor Don Haddix, Peachtree City Planning Commission member Larry Sussberg resigned from his post Thursday.

"I just could not continue to watch this circus go on," Sussberg said in a telephone interview Friday. "It's an out-of-control situation. The mayor and the mayor pro-tem [Doug Sturbaum] have this attitude that you either do things their way or you don't do them at all."

The clash started last Friday, when Haddix questioned Sussberg in an email about what was said during a planning commission hearing on the city's proposed new cell phone tower ordinance.

According to a copy of the email provided by Sussberg, the mayor wrote, "I heard some references to a dust up at the planning commission meeting saying someone said council had already made a decision on cell towers in parks and that you made some comments including legal actions with lawyers sitting there? Is that true and what happened?"

During the meeting, Peachtree City resident Kevin Cheney stated that city council has said they are against cell phone towers in public parks and asked why the planning commission was not doing what the city council wanted.

Planning Commission Chairman Patrick Staples and Sussberg addressed Cheney, explaining the role of the planning commission and due process.

In an email response copied to members of city council. Sussberg wrote, "I did say if council has made up their mind and released a position on this without a recommendation from planning commission allowing the telecommunication industry the opportunity to make legitimate requests by going through the process, they [telecommunications companies] would have a right to sue... [I told Cheney] 'no council has not told us what to do' and we are following the proper process."

Sussberg sent a follow-up email Thursday after not hearing back from the mayor.

"If a commissioner or council member makes a statement regarding a project that has not yet been finalized and referred to city council, a developer can perceive that as not receiving due process," Sussberg wrote. "That includes posting on The Citizen blogs or expressing an opinion to a citizen who might turn around and bring it up at a commission meeting. Kevin [Cheney] clearly stated at the last commission meeting that city council was opposed to this and as planning commissioners we needed to support what city council wanted."

The mayor responded Thursday, stating that he had not received Sussberg's previous two emails.

Haddix closed the email, which was also copied to council, "I do not know if a Council Member did or did not make that statement. All I know is I did not.

"Publicly lecturing Council is not productive anymore than any of us publicly lecturing anyone on the Planning Commission. Just as a citizen made the statement aimed at Council so are some citizens making comments aimed at you."

According to the time stamps on the emails, Sussberg wrote back 20 minutes later, calling the mayor "an idiot" and tendering his resignation. He wrote that the mayor's blog posts on the web site www.thecitizen.com were "disruptive to the planning process."

Haddix accepted the resignation in an email sent eight minutes later.

Sussberg resigned before Councilman Eric Imker and Mayor Don Haddix got into a shouting match over the Development Authority of Peachtree City's funding during Thursday night's meeting, but that episode further fueled Sussberg's outrage.

"Last night was embarrassing for the mayor," Sussberg said. "I realize Don Haddix was elected, but if people saw last night's meeting, they would start a recall campaign. The mayor and his sidekick [Sturbaum] aren't sharing information with the rest of council. And the city is in real danger of being sued with the way the mayor has disrupted the planning process with NorSouth and Callula Hills, specifically."

Sussberg, the owner of a local tutoring and education business, spent two years on the planning commission. His term was scheduled to end in September of next year.

"I really have enjoyed my time on the board and it was a pleasure to serve the city," he said. "I'm worried about the future, especially if the mayor can't get his act together."

NUK_1
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Very interesting article about Planning Commission/Sussberg

Guess it will get covered and commented on here eventually.

yellowjax1212
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Thanks For Your Service

Mr. Sussberg, thanks for your service to PTC. We appreciate the time and effort you have put in.
I am afraid this is the same decision that DAPC Dir. Mark Hollums and other hard working volunteers will take.
Thank you Don and Eric for your driving desire to micro-manage everything.

Mike King
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Mr Sussberg

Thank you for the three years given to our town and rest assured that your expertise will be missed. It is citizens/business owners like yourself that have made PTC the fine city that it is and that it is entrepeneurs like yourself that lure other businesses here and not elected or hired government officials.

This town is in dire need of leadership and not someone who believes he's Napoleon.

Courthouserules
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MIKE and Yellowjax: Mayor

I don't even know Mr. Susberg nor do I know of anything he has done--maybe a great deal--did he bring China in? What has he accomplished?
I also know this: The Mayor (Haddix) was elected by a majority of the vote. This gives him the right to civilly say what he thinks about things that have effect on the town.

He should not be influenced by others who elect to resign their job just because he "interferes!" They need to give their advice and live with the decision or do what Mr. Sussberg did.

The only group who can control the Mayor, and then not in everything, is the Town Council by a majority vote.

The Mayor may be wrong about his methods, I don't know what all this is about, but if he isn't allowed to fulfill his elected duties without getting permission from everybody or weighing just how the politics run, then he would be a weak-kneed unnecessary! If he showed no interest in such activities I'm sure he would still bare the responsibility. In this day of polarization I think McCain would be in a worse position if he had won than is President Obama-- I don't even remember who ran against Mr. Haddix!

Frankly, there may be many people "helping" run our city whom we would be better off without if they resigned! If they as an underling plan to fight the Mayor about everything---as the conserves do now with the President of the United States, then no progress will be made either way.

I just wonder just how many city employees some on here would have laid off due to lack of income if they had ran and been elected Mayor.

borntorun
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Wrong, Courthouse!

You are correct in one thing...the majority of people who voted in the last election voted for Haddix. And he has the right to say what he thinks about things that affect PTC. But within what the law allows.

Your post goes off track when you refer to and justify interference from an elected individual with a legally established independant Board. The key word there is independant. That's one of the points in establishing authorities, boards and commissions. To take the politics out of the process and ensure compliance with law, regulations and policies and advise council of the facts.

So your backhanded slap about what Mr. Sussberg has accomplised is totally irrelevant. He was duly appointed to the Planning Commission by Council and as such is supposed to be free from political interference.

I'm not saying he did or didn't (I wasn't there) but if in fact, Haddix or any member of council made a statement to the effect that regardless of what the planning commission says about the cell towers, they had already made their mind up prior to a recommendation from the planning commission, and were going to vote either for it or against it, then either party coming before the planning commission could argue the city failed due process with prejudice.

No different than serving on a jury. Jurors are supposed to keep an open mind and take an oath prior to serving they have not already made up their mind and will listen to evidence with an open mind.

So you are also wrong when you say he only group who can control the Mayor, and then not in everything, is the Town Council by a majority vote.
The Mayor's and councils actions (in deed all of us!) are also controlled by laws and regulations whether we agree with them or not.

That is why this is goes way beyond underlings fighting the mayor. It's about esuring compliance with law and due process.

Courthouserules
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borntorun

Of course we all must obey laws of the land. That has nothing to do with the city authority of a planning commission.

The City Council has authority over all decisions of the planning commission! They are all appointed by the Mayor.

This same argument is always made for Chiefs of Police, Fire Chief, and City Managers. That they really do not work for anyone! That is stupid--everyone can be fired by someone except those requiring Impeachment.

The relationship between the Mayors' and City Councils' doesn't require the Council's approval to administer the city by managing people!

Those he can't fire can be side-lined!

borntorun
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Wrong Again, Courtdude!

Well sorta...volunteers who serve on the Planning Commission are appointed not by the Mayor alone but by a vote of Mayor and City Council.

And because the Planning Commission is an independant Board, no, the City Council does not have authority over all decisions of the Planning Commission. It is an independant Board by law! The Planning Commission makes its recommendation to City Council and City Council can go along with the recommendation or not. But that is a far different scenario than what you are saying.

As for your argument about the Police Chief, Fire Chief and City Manager, all of those positions are city staff and as such are subject to the HR policies of the city. Volunteers appointed to the Planning Commission are not city employees and do not share any benefits afforded city employees (i.e., pay, benefits, insurance, retirement, etc.). Nor do the HR policies of the city apply to volunteers appointed to the Planning Commission.

Once a volunteer is appointed to a PTC Board, Association, or Commission, he/she cannot be removed by City Council unless said member commits an illegal act such as malfeasance while serving on the Board, Association or Commission. No one can be forcibly removed because the Mayor or City Council decides he/she doesn't like or agree with a position by a Planning Commission volunter.

As for your comment, "The relationship between the Mayors' and City Councils' doesn't require the Council's approval to administer the city by managing people!", I'm not sure what you are trying to say. If you are saying the Mayor and City Council has the authority to "manage" the Planning Commission, you would once again be wrong except in the appointing of members.

Again...for the umpteenth time....it is an independant Board by law!!

Perhaps you should read up on what the rights and responsibities of PTC board, commission and authority members are. You definitely need to reconsider your blog name...you obviously know nothing about legal matters.

Courthouserules
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borntorun

No point in discussing this with you when you say things like: "The board does not have authority over the commissioners," then say that the commissioners makes it recommendation to city council for approval??
The commissioners can not approve cell towers! They advise.

You still didn't say who the PTC Chief of Police and Fire Chief work for!
Not for HR "policies," I don't think!
Are people afraid to say? The Sheriff escorted the last Chief out!!

Who are the elected ones? And of that "who," which?
Spit it out, it isn't hard.

borntorun
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Take Your Meds, Courthouse Rules

"The board does not have authority over the commissioners," then say that the commissioners makes it recommendation to city council for approval??
The commissioners can not approve cell towers! They advise.

- This is not what I said, courtdude. I said the Planning Commission is an independant Board and the City Council does not have authority over decisions of the Planning Commission.

"You still didn't say who the PTC Chief of Police and Fire Chief work for!

-Hello.....anybody there? I said they work for the city....you know....the Peachtree City government.

Go take your meds, courtdude....or lay off the sauce....either way it's past your bedtime.

Mike King
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Borntorun

No doubt this will make The Citizen tomorrow and by the looks of it, Mr Haddix has exceeded the blunders of at least two previous mayors in only eight months in office. Tomorrow's blogs may well be interesting.

borntorun
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Haddix and Planning Commission

We will see, Mike. Looks like The Citizen got scooped with this story. What I find ironic is Haddix chastised Imker (as he should have) when Imker was taking his shots at the DAPC Board. And yet here is Haddix trying to intimidate a volunteer on another Board! But more troubling than bully politics Haddix/Sturbaum/Imker like to play is the possibility that Haddix and/or other council members could be jeopardizing Planning Commission due process procedures and setting the city up for possible litigation. Be interesting to see where this story line goes.

borntorun
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Evidence Lurker?

Hah! Evidence? What evidence? About what? The only evidence you've presented is a strong case that you know absolutely nothing about how a development authority should be funded and operated or how it fits into the state and regional economic development strategy. If you think a development authority (or any other authority) can operate with this business model (begging council for permission to buy pencils), you obviously didn't graduate from GA Tech! As for meeting Eric and The Ladies, sorry but that would be a total waste of time. In the short time they've been on council, they've demonstrated two things very clearly...one, they are clueless and two, they
(along with Haddix/Sturbaum by the way) absolutely will not listen to anyone else. It's their way or the highway! Let's see a few months down the road just how successful this business model works. Buh-bye! :-)

yellowjax1212
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Headline???

Shouldn't the headline read: "Imker: PTC Development Authority must re-focus while using NO money...unless they beg me for it first"?
What a numskull.

imagine that
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This is just unbelieveable

When I read about this decision from our fine council leaders, I almost choked. I suppose somewhere there is logic behind the decision, but I fail to see it. I simply expected more from leaders who promised to actually lead us.

I guess I'll start with my objections, point by point. I suppose the council believes that $50k will pay for an outstanding leader of development. Someone well connected to pulse of industry and the latest technologies. Perhaps, we will be able to secure a seasoned veteran of Development with numerous projects under his/her belt. Perhaps, we will be able to land just the person that understands our unique blend of amenities that make Peachtree City the special place that it has been. Perhaps, but I think not.

With current retail space vacancy rate running near 30%, it will require a very well-qualified person to motivate and fill that void. It will require incentives and drive to ensure the occupancy rate doesn't further erode. Not for $50k.

Even if you do happen to find someone with qualifications, willing to take the job for that money, how long do you think it will be before they are burned out by the failures due to lack of support from the council? You currently have seven members of the DAPC working hard trying to fill some of those voids and it has been a monumental task for seven people especially without a supportive budget. We are going to expect one person to fill that retail space. We are going to expect one person to attend the Chamber meetings. We expect one person to attend the Rotary meetings--not to mention meetings with perspective business owners in search of a location. I see a recipe for burn-out hanging on the wall.

I really expected more from at least two of the council members that voted against the DA. Ms. Fleisch is a realtor. I would think that she has as intimate knowledge of why Development is so vital to this community. Property values are already suffering due to the current economic downturn. Shall we add another variable to the mix? Somehow, we lost Lo- Temp, perhaps, due in part to a lack of attention to the client. Shall we expect more of this? Ms. Fleisch, I expected more from you!

Ms. Learnard has a unique job, in that she directly works will clients of the Development Authority. These are client's who have certain expectations when deciding to locate to a community. I just don't understand her position on the issue. She has first-hand knowledge of the successes a company being trained and people being put to work. Unemployment is 9%+ in this community. I, for one, see the need for more jobs. Ms. Learnard, I am disappointed in you!

What can I say about Mr. Imker's vote? Perhaps, he is taking the typical bean-counter approach. Let's see--they want $150k. If we give them $50k and a body, it will work better. We saved the taxpayers money. Does it matter that the job won't get done? Ah, nobody will notice. The logistic of this, simply does not compute. He calls himself holding people accountable, I suppose. Yep, I can see it now. Agenda item-Council meeting....reimbursement for DA member for mileage--DENIED. We don't want to waste the taxpayers money. That DA member is a volunteer...let them spend their own money! Mr. Imker, I am disappointed!

Well, I thought we were moving forward will this new council. I even supported most of them at election time. Perhaps, I was wrong! Maybe, I had better re-think my position on them!

yellowjax1212
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But They Can Come Beg Us For Money

“We are not funding them out of existence,” Imker said. “We want them to remain a viable entity to do their primary mission.” ~ Eric Imker

What gall.
From $35,000 (a fraction of what surrounding cites spend on economic development) to $0?
But Imker says they can come beg the council (should read "Me, Eric Imker the Defacto King of the Council) for a few bucks when they need some new pencils (if they want to use pen they will have to bring their own from home).
What a joke!!!
Oh, but Imker did say all the DPAC volunteers were doing a "great job".
This man is insane.

borntorun
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Imker = Idiot

This man is a certified idiot who has not one clue about what economic development is all about. True economic development takes money to formulate data prospective companies ask for when considering a community, market/advertise the city and the properties to prosepective companies and in trade journals, host those prospects when in town, and network with other economic development agencies and associations. To make DAPC come crawling before city council and ask permission to buy paper clips when they run out is beyond embarrassing. I'm not surprised with Vanessa's vote on this issue. The woman is totally clueless. Hell, she's too busy fretting with her big hair and makeup to take the time to really think about the implications of what she's voting on. I admit I am surprised about Kim though. The only thing I can figure out is there is some kind of political power play going on between the Haddix/Sturbaum axis and the rest of council. And I kinda understand why that is with this issue. With Haddix being the council liasion to DAPC, maybe she had reservations (as I do) that Haddix/Sturbaum would have too much influence on the hire. It's just a shame that DAPC is caught in the crosshairs.

Voter
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Imker

When someone has an agenda but little else, they turn to insults and name calling. Ciuld born to run be the smartest person in PTC, but we don't know who he is, or what he does. I am sure if he was on council, all of our problems would be gone. If there is a state development agency and a county development agency and a city development agency, it would seem there is a lot of cooks in the kitchen. I think Mr. Imker got it right and is a class act.

Spyglass
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LOL

You're a HOOT

borntorun
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BTR:Voter

LOL! Smartest person in PTC? Not hardly! Doesn't take being the smartest person in PTC to recognize that Imker is an idiot about what it takes to do economic development properly. And you obviously don't either since you fail to understand the role each of the agencies you cite plays in business recruitment/development. Imker a class act? Seriously?? OMG....LMAO! Maybe you have no problem with making a group of dedicated citizen volunteers come before city council to beg for money to buy pencils. That is about as unprofessional as it gets. Oh but hey DAPC volunteers....don't take it personally, Eric The Terrible says you all are doing a FINE job. Have a good day and keep up the good work boys and girls!

yellowjax1212
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Class Act?

Thanks for chiming in Mrs. Imker, you must be proud.
Sorry, but a "class act" would never have treated volunteer workers as poorly as he did the DPAC members. Especially in a public form.

PTClurker
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The right thing.

I don't always agree with Imker's methods, but I don't see how telling someone "you're agency is not doing a good job" qualifies as treating someone poorly. Don't get your panties in a bind. DAPC has volunteer workers, many of which do great work, but the overall agency was spending out of control. Giving them their base funds (and zeroing any increase) thereby having them give rationale for additional monies was and is the right thing to do.

Oh, and by the way, its "DAPC", not "DPAC". By your logic, I think you just treated the volunteers poorly by not referring to them properly in a public forum. You apparently owe them an apology.

Good grief.

yellowjax1212
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You Are Correct

You are correct lurker, I made an error by calling them DPAC instead of the proper DAPC and for that I would like to apologize to you, the blog readers the great volunteers at DAPC and finally to every man, woman and child living in Peachtree City.
There, 'ya happy?
Now let's get serious. Do you really think that pointing out a typo can in anyway excuse an elected official from acting so childish.
Please, show me one example of "out-of-control" spending from DAPC, just one. And don't use the Fred tickets as an example. Every city/county has perks to give to potential clients/businesses.

PTClurker
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Sure thing!

"Do you really think that pointing out a typo can in anyway excuse an elected official from acting so childish."
- Just proving a point that if your definition of "treating poorly" is Imker saying that the DAPC agency as a whole is doing a poor job, your threshold of "treating poorly" is pretty darn low. To the point of ridiculousness.

"Please, show me one example of "out-of-control" spending from DAPC, just one. And don't use the Fred tickets as an example.
- No problem. DAPC requested thousands of dollars with absolutely no line item purpose. Re-view last Thursday's meeting on streaming video and listen to Imker's outline of DAPCs budget for proof of this and more.

Glad I could help.

Courthouserules
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Begging for money!

Organizations such as the DAPC (or is it DPAC, as the bee says)and Assistant City Managers (or deputy, or Vice), Five or six Chiefs of police, Chiefs of Fire Departments, and several law enforcement organizations in the small county of Fayette, soon eat up a lot of cash!

We don't really need but one police organization for the whole county and the few cities we have. A few sub-stations with sergeants in charge.
The Sheriff is supposed to manage the jail, serve warrants, and provide court house security only.

There are cities in the USA with more people than Fayette County, with what is proposed above.
Have you ever stopped to count up how many people are employed with all of the police, sheriff and jail guards, and fire stations in Fayette county?
Want to guess? Maybe: 1,000?

We have 50,000 adults (one-half women); and 50,000 kids.

All have cars nearly!

Next thing they will want is neighborhood sub-stations with two or three Chiefs! Of course, full retirement at 50 and full Obamacare.

I didn't count airports, amphitheaters, tennis centers, and scores of buildings everywhere to maintain and provide utilities.

I remember one-state trooper per county and one sheriff with 2 deputies, and hardly any fire department except volunteers.
Of course we would have to let the dopers dope, the drunks drink, and the speeders speed. If they killed anyone---hang them.

bad_ptc
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yellow, "a fraction of what surrounding cites spend"

Are those other cities in debt to the tune of $18,000,000+?

Mind you that the citizens of PTC weren't consulted, asked, begged or given any opportunity to say NO to a large chunk of that $18,000,000+.

The days of council telling us, "just shut up and pay what we tell you to pay", are over.

That being said, the citizens of PTC are of equal blame for not asking council; "How do you plan on paying for all the 'goodies' we say we must have?"

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