Cathy Haddix for Post 3: ‘We have spending problem’
There was hope up to the last minute that another citizen would come forward to challenge Kim Learnard. This not being the case, I am announcing my candidacy for Post 3.
It has become clear by the votes taken and the agendas proposed by my opponent, along with Vanessa Fleisch and Eric Imker, that her vein of thinking does not serve Peachtree City. Taxes always seem to be the fallback instead of developing a comprehensive strategic plan (CSP).
My platform is straight-forward. Economic development and a comprehensive strategic plan are jobs one. Yes, I agree with Mayor Don Haddix, but totally disagree with Learnard, as to what will get the city moving forward again.
Reactivating the Peachtree City Development Authority (DAPC) is essential. DAPC does things the Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA) does not, such as redevelopment and filling empty spaces within existing city buildings.
DAPC, before being shut down by Learnard, Fleisch and Imker, gave impressive results. The Braelinn and Glenloch shopping centers redevelopments, Fresh Market locating in the Glenloch Shopping Center, the current expansion of the Braelinn Kroger and the Farmers Market are examples. They also worked to prevent the relocation of some businesses and industries from Peachtree City. Some have even expanded since.
All of that stopped for the last two years when DAPC was dissolved. I can’t speak to the intent of Learnard on shutting down DAPC and going totally with the Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA). But I can say this move has not been beneficial to Peachtree City.
Interestingly, Learnard was pro-DAPC when she ran in 2009.
As with any household facing a tight budget, the logical plan of action would be to look at all incoming income and outgoing expenses. Not rocket science. Learnard and the council majority have refused to even entertain the validity of this agenda.
We have had an increase in stormwater rates, an upcoming SPLOST vote, talk of another SPLOST to follow, the hotel/motel taxes going up and increased property tax, to mention a few.
By the way, this does not even include thinking of the reserves as fair game to continually raid. The thought here is tapping the reserves down to 20 percent is a good, sound plan.
In 2008 a different council achieved the AAA bond rating by cutting spending and increasing savings.
This seems to be in direct contradiction to the approach by Learnard and the current council majority.
The CSP encompasses many areas, such as services, income and spending. The current budget is not “just fine,” as Learnard claims. We have a budget deficit and are spending the reserve deliberately down to 20 percent, which Learnard brags about.
The reserve should be used for emergencies, not as a matter of regular budgeting.
As for boasting no tax increase this year, it’s an election year, just like in 2011, another election year, before the 2012 increase.
In 2014, the budget includes a tax increase for 2015. It includes projected increased home values of 2 percent per year through 2018. With no millage roll-back, your tax bill will indeed increase.
We have a spending problem. The CSP is designed to bring insight into our finances. Using the Needs Assessment and One Peachtree City Surveys brings into play citizen opinions which have been painfully ignored by the current council majority.
Other areas of my platform are:
• I will adhere to the job limitations of a council member and type of government we have, as stated in the Peachtree City charter, not per Wikipedia, as claimed by Learnard at a Student Council Day at City Hall.
• Unlike Learnard, I will respect the First Amendment right of other elected [officials] to speak to their constituents even when I disagree with their positions.
• I will be an advocate for the citizens of Peachtree City not represented by any special interest groups, the average citizen who goes unheard by Learnard.
• No to the SPLOST. Contrary to it being a 10-year plan as touted by the council majority, it is actually a 5-year plan per staff. Suggestions have already begun of a second SPLOST. Remember that promises made are not always promises kept.
• No to a new traffic light at Line Creek. Access to any development there will be given by the traffic light at MacDuff Crossing. There is already right turn access in and out of Line Creek.
Right now there are five traffic lights from 54/74 to MacDuff. Adding another obstacle on Hwy. 54 obviously will not improve traffic flow as claimed by Learnard.
As a side note, at the June 20, 2013 council meeting, Kim Learnard argued there was room for two more traffic lanes to be added to Hwy. 54. When asked how, she said by taking out the median and using some of the berm. Really?
• Yes to a bypass connection from Fischer Road to Interstate 85. This will alleviate a lot of Coweta traffic using the 54/74 intersection. GDOT said the plan was effective, doable and on their list.
• No to commuter rail. This was on the TSPLOST fiasco that failed, but has stayed on Plans 2040 and as an Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) goal. It calls for stops in Tyrone, Peachtree City, Senoia and Griffin.
Be careful what you wish for. You can lose more than you gain. The supportive network includes train stations, parking lots, security and added commuter traffic congestion around the stations.
Then-citizen Learnard wrote [an editorial opinion in The Citizen on June 3, 2009] extolling the virtues of rail to Peachtree City.
Not to be left out is her letter of March 15, 2010, to then-Fayette County Chairman Jack Smith urging him to keep the commuter rail station in the Peachtree City Transportation Plan after it had been voted off.
• Yes to movie nights and activity events for citizens. Great way to have fun at little or no cost.
Being a 26-year resident, I have seen extensive change in Peachtree City. As the city has grown, councils have dealt with issues with both admirable outcomes and less stellar ones.
Peachtree City is at a point where important decisions made by the mayor and council will determine in which direction we will proceed.
We, you and I, live in a unique place where visitors are amazed at what we sometimes take for granted. There seems to be both subtle and overt efforts to change what we have and lose what makes us special.
That makes it worth running for council and being an advocate for what makes us different.
Now, as for the elephant in the room: Yes, Don is the current mayor, a mayoral candidate and my husband. After 41 years of marriage we agree on agendas, so you do not have to debate on where I stand, how I will vote on the big issues and if I will keep my promises. That should not shock anyone.
I have followed Peachtree City politics for years, and obviously, very closely the last six years Don has been in office.
Having attended many events with other elected officials and citizens, many relationships of mutual trust and respect have developed. Discussions of how issues are dealt with in various cities become natural and routine. Networking and being an advocate for Peachtree City has become an enjoyable passion.
Bringing together this passion and knowledge of Peachtree City, and its politics, makes the reality that we do not need four more years of Kim Learnard’s agendas and priorities crystal clear.
It made it paramount for me to do something. That something is running for Council Post 3.
Let me make it clear, I am not a novice at Peachtree City politics even though this is my first time running for official office.
Unlike my opponent, I will listen to you and keep my promises.
I would appreciate your vote and support. Please visit me at my website. There you find additional information.
Please visit me at cathyhaddix.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidate for City Council Post 3
Peachtree City, Ga.