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 firstname.lastname@example.org.]