Clash of visions for PTC’s future

Haddix, Imker present dueling spreadsheets; Imker OK with higher taxes, Haddix for ‘plan’
Both Mayor Don Haddix and Councilman Eric Imker agree: Over the next five to 10 years, Peachtree City needs a lot of money it does not currently have to fix aging streets and cart paths — more than $14.6 million, a figure that would consume about half the current city budget if expended at once.

And both seem to agree that the quickest and maybe the cheapest way to get that kind of money is for county and city voters to approve a one-cent special local option sales tax this coming November. Approval would mean the city would collect nearly $15 million within two years, at which time the SPLOST would end.

But Haddix and Imker have diverging views on budget priorities for coming years, including how much taxation city residents should expect.

“We have a spending problem,” Haddix told the council earlier this month. And he has a solution to that: “Create a comprehensive strategic plan for services, income and spending. Currently, expenses are parsed, not viewed in totality. That approach must end. Citizens pay all these costs out of their singular pockets.”

Imker scoffed at the idea. “Maybe you want a general obligation bond of $40 million [to pay for the city’s infrastructure needs], or maybe you want to cut city services by $40 million. We want to hear specifics of what you want to cut. Yes, we are using reserves, but we need answers, not generalizations. ... Taxes are going up, up, up, but city [residents] are getting the value of living in Peachtree City.”

It’s the “up, up, up” part that Haddix criticized. “The budget includes projected increases in home values of 2 percent per year beginning in 2014. There is no rollback on the millage rate, meaning your tax bill will increase.

“In 2018 we are still spending more than we bring in, still consuming the reserve every year,” Haddix said. And that doesn’t count the coming costs of stormwater maintenance projects.

“On stormwater, line items from the budget were transferred to stormwater and the fee was over doubled,” Haddix said. “In about three years, we will be looking for new funding for stormwater as well, meaning another fee increase.”

About streets and paths, Haddix said, “We have no funding source for the paths. The SPLOST is being promoted as a short-term, five-year income source, costing you about $400 total, about $80 per year.”

Both Imker and Councilwoman Kim Learnard repeated the questions they have asked of Haddix for several meetings, “Where do we get the money? Where do we cut?”

Haddix’s reply: “Using already existing One Peachtree City and Needs Assessment Survey plus Townhall data gathered early next year, create a comprehensive strategic plan for services, income and spending. Look for places where the city is competing with the commercial sector. We do not need to be in competition with our own businesses. Look for public/private opportunities. I proved with the Tennis Center they work when done correctly. Bring our services in line with what the citizens want. As warranted, re-purpose to new uses.”

Haddix is suggesting — but not spelling out — that the city budget could stand some cutting in areas that he steadfastly refuses to delineate. His suggestion is that such cuts could fund the $1.5 million a year needed for a long-term road and cart path repair program.

Haddix and Learnard are running for reelection this November. Imker has two years left on his term.

Imker presented a spreadsheet that began with the penny sales tax increase heading the list, later calling the SPLOST “a very attractive option.”

His calculations indicated the SPLOST produced more revenue for the city at lower costs than the alternatives of floating a general obligation bond or a city tax millage rate increase.

His chart included the option of cutting undesignated city services as a long-term permanent solution, but noted, “Politicians will have to detail cuts/savings totaling $1.5 million per year” for at least 10 years.

Haddix in his charts showed a long list of city streets and cart paths with a rating ranging from 49 up to 100, with 100 being the pavement in the best condition.

He complained that even the $14.6 million expected from a successful SPLOST would be well short of what the city needs to bring and keep its streets up above a rating of 80.

Councilman George Dienhart called the SPLOST “a temporary bridge to an increased tax digest. It’s two years of pain for 10 years of gain.” Dienhart also is running for the post of mayor this fall.

All Fayette County voters will get to decide the fate of the extra penny sales tax on most purchases at the ballot box Nov. 5.
 

Worst and best PTC streets

The 10 worst streets in Peachtree City by paving condition:

1. Crosstown Drive, Peachtree Parkway to Ga. Highway 74 — rated 49

2. Southworth Court — rated 55

3. Commerce Drive West Park to Aberdeen Drive — rated 58

4. Crosstown Drive, Peachtree Parkway to Robinson Road — rated 59

5. Line Creek Drive — rated 59

6. Rolling Green — rated 60

7. Westpark Drive — rated 60

8. Adell Court — 61

9. Holly Grove Church Road — rated 62

10. Pinemount Drive — rated 62

Streets in PTC rated 100 in paving condition

1. Clover Reach, Clover Green to Ga. Highway 74

2. Hilltop Drive (west)

3. Loblolly Circle

4. Wisdom Road

5. Morallion Hills

6. Southwick Lane

7. White Hall Close

PTC Observer
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Exciting Times for American Education

It's quite exciting to see this duel, who would have ever thought that Mr. Haddix could use Excel? Based on his latest letters and computational skills, it's apparent that he has actually gone to college, gotten a degree and learned a great deal about how to write letters. All of this in the last 30 days. Who says American education isn't working!

Congratulations Mr. Haddix!

embflyer
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Part Solution

How many golf carts? Multiply that by a higher usage fee. The current registration fee is a joke, absolute joke. Not to mention it lasts for years. Raise it, make it yearly. It's a wonderful thing kids can drive to school, they are heavy users of the path system, charge them a higher rate. Mom and Dad don't have to buy a car so there you go. There is no compelling reason why if you drive a cart or enjoy the very unique system why you can not contribute more. Is 50 a year too much to pay?
I am tired of people who think try are entitled to use and abuse our town. This place is unique and should be treated as such. This town is departing rapidly from its roots and original idea. I would gladly pay more to live here, if I couldn't afford it than off I go. YOU HAVE TO PAY this day in age to enjoy nice things. There is no evidence supporting the idea that we can sustain this town and keep it nice without contributing monetarily. It may seem insensitive for me to say that if you can not afford it than go elsewhere but can you tell me that this town can continue to be a nice place to live with the way things are now?
I want to put up a gate and bring back the PTC bubble. People used to tell me "oh you live in the bubble". Not anymore.
I am not leaving, because I for one do not suffer from the American disease of Civil Lethargy. How can you not be sick of the people who migrate and consume and leave rubble behind. A simple thing to do is look at Dekalb, Fulton , and Gwinette. Rotten schools, infrastructure in decline and very high crime. Guess who's next door? There is a reason there's a problem with out of county people abusing our school system, they've all ready consumed and not contributed to there own welfare. It was not their fault, but maybe it is because they could be too lazy to care.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Cart Fees

An old discussion that always ends with the State Law limits that can be charged on carts.

Just like we cannot inspect carts for safety.

Neither makes any sense.

embflyer
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Usage fee

Mr Mayor,
Clarify the state law on cart fee. I can understand a limit on registration, but what about usage fee. Doesn't matter if you own a cart. The paths are multiple-purpose. You live here, you pay for them. I pay the state a usage fee to drive my car every year by the way of ad valorem. Actually if you do not mind Sir, can you generalize what your plan is to keep this city unique and keep,it a community modified to its original conception? In my opinion it's starting to become another town on a state road with its character eroding quickly.
Thank you.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Usage Fees

We looked at that as well. It all part of the same pot legally, so capped.

Peachtree City Mayor
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The Comprehensive Strategic Plan Proposal
Is in the Updates Forum

mudcat
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State laws are flexible things

Many State laws or guidelines have been changed or tweaked or reworded or amended over the years to accommodate the uniqueness of Peachtree City. All it usually takes is the unanimous passage of a city resolution or proposal by city council and a good working relationship with our local elected officials at the state level - Ronnie Chance and Matt Ramsey.

That good relationship thing is something we should take into account when voting for mayor in a couple of months. Someone who can get a unanimous vote on city council and take it probably to Matt and get it done.

Cart path usage fees are such an obvious and justifiable way to raise funds for repair and maintenance - just so we charge the out of town people double.
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Or, you can just be creative and do something that does not require State involvement:

One idea is to charge people (not carts) a usage fee. Give them a green ID card that they strap on their arm that allows them to have a cart, bike or dog. Give those a red card for people who just bike and walk the dog and a yellow/ no wait/ make that a brown card for those that just walk the dog. If you don't have a cart, bike or dog you don't need a permit. Also cats get a free pass as well. Not sure what to do if somebody wants to walk their chickens or goats - some study is needed. We can form a committee to study it - Kaa-ching PTC.

I'm thinking $100 for green, $50 for red and $25 for brown - and don't forget - that's per person! So, each cart may have 2 or 3 users. So instead of getting fees from only 11,000 golf carts, we get fees from probably 25,000 residents and another 5 or 6,000 non-residents. I see a minimum of $2 or $3million in revenue.
We should also charge the Running Club or whoever it is that puts on those road races - there is definitely wear and tear there.

People who violate any of the rules get fined and their ID card taken away. People who don't have cards but operate a cart are fined $100. You can also issue temporary cards for those who rent carts or just charge the rental company a daily user fee that gets collected with the rent.
Dialing for Dollars.

Husband and Fat...
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Mudcat

Charge by weight. We could go off of the AMA weight and size chart. Anyone considered overweight based on their height puts more wear and tear than some waif like person.

Kidding aside. Golf cart registration fees are too low. $100 a year is fair and would raise $1M based on 10,000 carts.

Those that walk their dogs from the golf cart should pay double.

Larry.Sussberg
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It's Not That Complicated

Set up a reserve in the budget and start planning for maintenance.
Cut the operating budget by $2 million a year and set the funds aside.
Meanwhile the Penny Splost would allow the city time to build up this reserve while using the Splost over the next 8 to 10 years for maintenance.
By the time the Splost funds run out, we would have $16 to $20 million in the reserve, actually more with interest compounding.

Do we need a Special Strategic Plan and Budget Committee for this?
Maybe just elected officials smart enough to work with city staff to set up the reserve and plan for future maintenance.

It's just not that complicated....let's keep it simple and elect those who get it and keep it uncomplicated.

dar thompson
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Here is 7 million

If the city would have shut down the Kedron Aquatic Center, as I recommended 10 years ago, we would have an additional 7 million dollars in the till.

Just so we are clear, it will be another 7 million dollars 10 years from now. No justification as I assure you not one family has made the choice to move to PTC because of the Kedron Aquatic Center.

Just an FYI...rec pools went out in the 80's. Rec pools (not true aquatic centers) de-value property values. It makes us look cheap...especially with the bubble.

As a citizen and businessman this is painful to watch. What an absolute waste of the taxpayers money.

MrBeef
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So glad we have you to keep us informed

I suppose you can assure us that had you taken the Aquatic Center over and turned it into an ice rink families would have been lining up to move to PTC. And please don't take this as an invitation to once again tell us how you were going to give the city all this money to turn the center into a rink and how you would have made the facility profitable. You love to come on here spouting mis-information about the center to try and make it look bad. The center does much more good than you want anyone to know about because it doesn't benefit you.

dar thompson
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No interest

in an Ice Rink nor the aquatic center in PTC at all. I play ice hockey once or twice a week on the north side of Atlanta. Now there will be an two more additional rinks built because the demand is so great. So, it really doesn't matter to me because I'm already benefited with ice rinks and I have zero exposure. However, there has been a new rumor that an ice rink maybe coming to Cowetta County...which would be about par for the course for PTC, missed out again...imagine that...no surprise their.

In closing, you state that, and I quote "the center does much more good than you want anyone to know about because it doesn't benefit me". Then please explain to me the good, what benefit that is available to the PTC taxpayer which is costing/paying an additional $700,000 per year. Under this guise you are correct...it doesn't benefit me because I'm paying taxes that offers no economic value to me as a citizen, no added value to the city, and doesn't improve home-owners value or their quality of life.

Please help me understand?

MrBeef
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your taxes

have you ever bothered to figure out how much the Kedron Aquatic Center costs you as an individual? Your problem is that you don't use the facility therefor you personally have no benefit and find even $1 of your tax money as a waste being used on that facility.
Does everyone get use or a benefit out of everything their tax money goes towards?
The Aquatic center is used by the PTCYBA youths league almost 6 months out of the year, the other sports associations use the facility for meeting and registrations, the High Schools use the facility for their swim teams, SCAT uses the facility, local groups rent the courts for their volleyball and basketball games, they run adult volleyball and basketball leagues, various programs, classes and Summer Camps, but somehow because you don't utilize any of these benefits, the facility is an entire waste of taxpayer money.
You love to spout big numbers, $700,000 a year in tax money, when you consider what a drop in the bucket that amount is spread out among all taxpayers, how can you claim a facility like that adds no value or quality of life. It does provide quality of life to those who utilize it and adds value to the community which affects home values.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: For Clarity

Basketball, volleyball and other activities are not part of the Aquatics Center, the Aquatics Center is part of the Kedron Complex.

The bulk of the taxpayer dollars spent on the center are due to the Bubble. The income from the Bubble approximately pays for the annual debt of replacing the Bubble. The operations, utilities, etc are paid for by the PTC taxpayers.

Less than 1.5% of PTC residents use the Bubble. The main users are from other parts of the County, and even out of County.

The BOE contributes nothing the County very little.

I know a lot of real estate people. Only Vanessa Fleisch says it adds value to homes. The others get angry when she makes that claim since it reflects on them.

She also claims it sells homes. I have found no agent who has sold a home here because of the pool and Bubble.

Kim Learnard and Eric Imker go along with her claim.

The $700K figure stated, using that as an example, is about .45 mills of your takx bill.

Peachtree City Mayor
donhaddix.com
The Comprehensive Strategic Plan Proposal
Is in the Updates Forum

Robert W. Morgan
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Bubble needs to go, so do you

When did Vanessa ever say such a stupid thing? The bubble helps sell homes? That is stupid beyond belief - assuming she actually said it. When was that ?

To be clear with you, Swimmer's welfare is the same thing as tennis welfare - bad, inappropriate and not appreciated by the taxpayers and voters. Are you really sure she said that? When?

Imker may have said it, but Vanessa? No way. Chick got class.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: When?

I thought you said you watch Council Meetings?

She said it during the discussions about buying a new Bubble. Just like she calls Rec and The Gates economic development.

Learnard and Imker agree with her.

Ask Scott Bradshaw. When he heard he was not happy.

moelarrycurly
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Having lived in this city

for almost 20 years, I have never once had a neighbor, coworker, realtor (except one current council member) or friend tell me that Kedron has added value to my or their or any other home. As a matter of fact, the value of just about every home in this city, if not all, has dropped in the last 5 years.

Buncha hooey.

PTC Observer
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Mr. Thompson - Kedron

Please don't attempt to use logic on this board, it will do no good.

The fact that you wanted to take the aquatic center over and run it like a business, make it a "pay as you use it" venture, is logical. However, it goes against the tenet of having someone else pay for your benefit using the power of government's taxing authority.

You can never win against the tenet of death by a thousand little cuts, aka taxes for the benefit of the masses.

Some of us out here would like to see you run for office next time around, before we bleed to death.

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