Haddix: It’s time for some corrections

The time is right for updates, concerns and corrections.

It took over two years and a new council to effect changes to the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) that were needed. That authority is now on the right track.

Regarding the regional transportation issues and tax, TSPLOST, there is a great concern, across the state, that HB 277 is very flawed. I agree. No amount of additional road building is going to relieve the Atlanta congestion. You can only pack so many roads in one area to service one hub. No matter how many roads you build pushing farther away from the center, the center is still overwhelmed. A bucket only holds so much water.

The single hub model is the problem. We need a multi-hub model as exists in other states. Not only does that disperse the traffic but it expands the economic redevelopment, thus the economic growth, potential of the region.

Nor is MARTA an answer. Nationwide mass transit usage is in decline and overall it is the most costly means of transportation. For most it is not timely nor goes where needed because minimum ridership is required to be viable. GRTA has already deemed Fayette non-viable for MARTA even if we wanted it, which we do not.

There are ten counties with ten unique identities in our region. Trying to force us all to be absorbed and homogenized into Atlanta is not going over well.

As well, issues like water are not going away. We need to reevaluate our thinking and goals. We cannot sustain the thinking of old.

Moving on to some corrections to what has been reported, I begin with a simple one. Councilman Eric Imker said he was forced to vote for the 1.25 millage rate increase or the state would take over our budget and millage rate. That is simply false.

We would have been forced to vote to continue the present millage rate and adjust the budget over time, meaning no tax increase. The reality is that he moved from a no-tax increase pledge to at least 1.75 increase for his two-year term.

Now, regarding the article about the SPLOST re-negotiation. Yes, Councilman Imker approached it as if it were his original idea with Councilwoman Fleisch speaking as if that were fact. But that is simply not true.

They knew I had already begun contacts with other mayors, which is the mayor’s job, not council members. They knew I wanted to appropriately keep the discussions low key until the appropriate time to move forward. Currently two commissioners-elect and two mayors, including myself, are in agreement.

Knowing that, Councilman Imker put the issue on the agenda anyway and twice wanted to be part of my discussions with the other mayors. My answer was and remains no. It is my job, not theirs.

So what is my point? There is only one mayor elected at a time. “I am of a mindset to find a way to get things done.” to circumvent law, authority and timing realities, even with the support of another council member or members, is not productive and in this case makes my job much harder.

As well, there is no rush since the current commission has already made it clear they are not going to stop the West Fayetteville Bypass or re-negotiate the intergovernmental SPLOST distribution.

Concerning DAPC, The Citizen stated, “City Attorney Ted Meeker has determined, however, that there is no such legal conflict as suggested by Haddix.” But, in an email to council, the city attorney said, “From a legal standpoint, being employed by the DAPC may provide some additional flexibility due to the broader powers that the DAPC has in promoting commerce, industry and trade.“ “Under that agreement, the City is reimbursed by the DDA for services that are provided by the employee (similar to the City’s arrangement with Tourism for Nancy Price et al, and for work the City does for WASA and the Airport Authority).”

Nancy Price, as CVB Director and the WASA and Airport directors work directly for and are paid by their respective authorities, not the city. Nancy Price is also paid and works for the city when managing The Fred. So two hats, two jobs and two different employers because of two different legal realities.

So my position is correct. A city coordinator cannot do everything a DAPC director can do.

As for the demand DAPC come to council project by project for funding, I do not believe that is legal. This is legally a question that must be answered for liability and other reasons. The answer is being sought from the state.

So the picture that what was voted in concerning the coordinator and DAPC has been fully endorsed is in error.

Additionally, Councilman Imker said, “I got fed up with it and I just got literally mad about constantly hearing about what we cannot do,” Imker said. “I am of a mindset to find a way to get things done.” When in positions of responsibility, you don’t make decisions by getting fed up and mad and working to circumvent law, authority and those who disagree with you. You make sure you get it right, whether you like the answer or not.

As a councilman the last two years, I stood up for what I believed was the vision and path Peachtree City should hold and travel. As mayor that does not change. So with the broken campaign promises and changes in positions by some on council I have concerns about the vision and path yet again. I have concerns about a 3-2 division on big government versus small government issues.

This should not be about personal power or control since no matter how much one gathers to themselves it will be passed on to someone else in a future election with one next year for two posts. It is about getting it right so that what we pass on is viable and durable.

Don Haddix, mayor

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Don Haddix was elected mayor of Peachtree City in 2009. Previously, he had served two years as a council member. His email is dhaddix@peachtree-city.org.]

ginga1414's picture
Joined: 09/01/2008

I'm not from Peachtree City but I do agree with your comments concerning Mayor Haddix. I have so enjoyed reading his views and find his openness to be a breath of fresh air. Also, I have a great respect for a public official who will openly discuss issues with readers through this forum.

ptctrader2010's picture
Joined: 03/06/2010

Thank you Mayor Haddix, for your candor and presentation of both facts and your position. Your style is not often seen in the political arena... Certainly not from the last mayor.

Please continue with the blessings of at least this one voter! You are on the right track.

Mikeyc's picture
Joined: 03/14/2009

Mr. Mayor,
You state that "MARTA" is not the answer, because ridership nation wide is down. With the number of people who no longer have jobs, wouldn't it make sense for them to stop commuting?
It's not timely. When I rode it for 5 years, a train came by every 20 minutes. To me that’s a lot. Even if you miss your train, another will be along soon. If that makes you late to work then you never drove in and planned for the gridlock on the highways. Twenty minutes is nothing.
It doesn't go where people need it. BINGO! Nimby is alive and well. I had to get to the Lenox building in Buckhead (station across the street) and to Peachtree St. downtown at 14th. (Arts Center station 1 block away.) I had no problem getting OFF somewhere, getting ON is the problem.
GRTA has deemed Fayette non-viable for MARTA. When and why? Time brings changes. Population and traffic densities reflect the changes. An idea that didn't make sense yesterday may very well be a great solution today.
The optimum answer, you say, is a multi hub solution. Are you suggesting that we somehow convince the city of Atlanta to break off into big pieces and spread out away from the existing major arteries? Wow, you are ambitious! To me, that’s just throwing up your hands saying it can't be done. Politically it's a rough road and I understand that, but other cities with progressive leadership have implemented very creative mass transit solutions, some being hindered by things like the ocean limiting approach avenues.
Minimum ridership is required. With all due respect, have you EVER ridden the trains during the rush hours? Good luck getting a seat, even if you do get on the first train that arrives.
It's expensive. Very true. But since gasoline and cars are so cheap, and once a road is built you have little to worry about it, we'll just build more....no, that won't work. You say so yourself.
If you are talking about busses then I fully agree that won't work. Just more vehicles, albeit bigger and with more people in them, on the already grid locked roads.
As far as DAPC is concerned, it's getting a little tiring to hear that this or that "may not be legal". Please find out first, and then comment from a position of knowledge.

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Joined: 11/29/2006
Corrections Mayor?

Imker by passing a 1.25 mil tax increase has addressed the city's debt of $18M. Something you have refused to acknowledge for three years.

Bringing the SPLOST discussion to the fore may be considered egotistical on your part since you chose not to follow your pledge of open government. Would you care to explain the secrecy?

You are incorrect regarding the DAPC position in as much as you refuse to credit the efforts of both the county and state. The legal advice given to you and Imker is correct, what you fail to realize is that with some compromise your Council could have made DAPC better, but since egos got in the way your lack of leadership has resulted into an embarrassing affair.

Your belief that a commission having to come to Council for funding being illegal is simply sour gtapes on your part. How is it do you suppose your Police or Fire Departments would approach the city for emergency funding?

You are about personal power, without it you are an empty shell and it shows more and more each day.

Courthouserules's picture
Joined: 07/02/2010

Haddix does not operate in secret although Mr. Sussberg want him to do so.

Now, I thought you wanted layoffs to meet budget----now you say Imker did a good thing by raising taxes---which I thought you detested! ????

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Joined: 11/29/2006

Go take your meds! I said he addressed the debt by approving a 1.25 mil increase. I don't have to like it.

I am still of the opinion that PTC could do well with no more than 200 total employees.

Courthouserules's picture
Joined: 07/02/2010

Unless the council and Mayor wanted to cut expenses, they had NO CHOICE but to raise taxes! That is not addressing it, it was lawfully required!

I don't know how many employees it takes to run PTC (you said 200) but I do know we need to start using the words lay-offs and staff reductions, and then make them quickly, so that those to be laid-off won't be working and raising hell, instead of saying how many we can live with or "reducing costs." Also, it needs to be said that the layoffs must come from every level of pay so that we don't end up with all senior officers at double wages!
Even the Secretary of Defense says we have 100 or more too many Generals and Admirals! I don't know how too many Colonels---none I assume, except maybe for retired pensioned off ones!
We must be careful which rear-end we kick here!

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