PTC eyes taxes for Gathering Place, new paths

Projects to be listed on upcoming citizen survey to gauge public opinion

The Peachtree City Council is eyeing an expansion of the Gathering Place senior citizen’s center and a host of new segments for its cart path system.

The catch, however, is funding which would come from increases to the city’s property tax rate on the heels of this year’s 1.25 millage rate increase.

At Tuesday night’s council workshop, it was agreed that those items would be listed for consideration on a citizen’s survey to gauge whether public opinion is strong enough in favor of either major project.

Councilman Eric Imker suggested that the Gathering Place expansion would be a good candidate for a “one-time” property tax increase. The project is anticipated to cost $789,000, though that includes the cost of financing the project with a bond which would not be necessary if it’s paid for with cash, Imker noted.

As for the new cart path segments, city staff presented a detailed analysis that was conducted of each potential new path. The review included a basic per foot cost for construction and considered a host of other factors including several about how complicated the project would be and the necessity of the project in terms of improving residents’ various uses of the cart path system.

The city has identified some 25 miles of new paths that could be added. Another major cost facing the city in the coming years is a need to replace the corrugated metal tunnels used to cross under 10 roads. That line item is expected to cost a total of $5.4 million. The current tunnels are not unsafe, but the 10 due for an upgrade are currently “undersized” based on the city’s height and width requirements, officials said.

Funding for the cart paths is a crucial matter, because as City Manager Bernie McMullen noted, funds will be difficult to come by in the future for new paths.

“... I don’t see we’re going to have $10 million to spend on cart paths in the next 50 years,” McMullen said.

Councilman Imker suggested that citizens could be petitioned to approve a quarter mill increase over eight years to help fund new paths.

Mayor Don Haddix cautioned that such projects would add to the city’s proposed millage rate for next year.

In other business, council decided to petition the Fayette County Commission to provide funding for the traffic signal and turn lane additions that are programmed for the intersection of Crosstown Road and Peachtree Parkway. The city is seeking $774,000 for the project from the county’s share of the 2003 transportation SPLOST tax revenues. The state has $444,000 also earmarked for the project.

There was some talk of eliminating the traffic light from the plan, but doing so would necessitate the city going through the entire DOT approval process again, so that idea was scrapped.

Peachtree City will also ask the county to come up with $1.02 million in SPLOST funds to build a bridge and an intricate path approach system for the proposed “gateway” path system bridge that would span Ga. Highway 54 West between Wynnmeade and MacDuff parkways. The bridge would link the residential area to the north with the Shoppes at Village Piazza shopping center on the south side of Hwy. 54.

The city already has secured $518,000 in grants for the bridge project through funding in the state’s Livable Centers Initiative program.

Council also agreed by consensus to sack several transportation projects: the widening of Crosstown Road from two to four lanes, the extension of TDK Boulevard and a new cart path on the western side of Ga. Highway 74 south that would have reached from Cooper Circle to the city’s baseball and soccer complex.

The path would not connect to any existing segments on the city’s cart path system, officials noted. While there is a tunnel being built underneath the widening of Ga. Highway 74 south that would serve the baseball and soccer complex commonly referred to as BSC, the city currently has no funded plan to build a path from that tunnel that would link to the nearest path that comes into the Gardner Park area from the recently-opened bridge over Flat Creek. That bridge connects to homes on the south side of Peachtree City via the Morallion Hills subdivision.

A formal vote is expected later on each of the transportation projects at a regular city council meeting.

bad_ptc
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What happens when

the ‘citizen’s survey’ gets affirmative replies from the same number of people that want to ban gas golf carts, less than 5% of the total city population, on all of the listed projects?

Is the PTC city council going to vote for all of these projects because 5% of the population wants them?

$800,000 for the Gathering Place.
$10,000,000 for cart paths.
$5,400,000 for tunnels.
$1,218,000 for a light at Crosstown Drive and Peachtree Parkway.
$1,020,000 for a bridge.

That’s $18,438,000!

Let us review:

12/09/2009”
“We need a budget that is sustainable based on the taxes we know we’re going to have as revenue. Our budget must not include city reserves or potential taxes that come and go over the years.
I intend to be the council’s loudest but respectful voice on the budget and living within our means.”

03/30/2010:
Imker contends the city can avoid any property tax increase for the coming fiscal year.”

08/17/2010:
Again, I must point out a quote of mine back in June 2008 and one I used during the campaign last year: “Let’s get lean now before the financial crisis is on top of us.”

10/06/2010:
Councilman Eric Imker suggested that the Gathering Place expansion would be a good candidate for a “one-time” property tax increase.

Any questions?

NUK_1
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Imker: Typical blowhard politician

Campaigns heavily on the theme of less NOT MORE taxation and immediately goes south and reverses himself 180 degrees once elected.

I found this bit disturbing:
“... I don’t see we’re going to have $10 million to spend on cart paths in the next 50 years,” McMullen said.

That's 200K a year the next 50 years for cart paths. I really don't think that is excessive as there have been plenty of years where more money was budgeted than that in PTC and cart paths cost money to maintain, duh. In a 26mil budget, you had better be able to prioritize 200K a year for cart paths or you're doing something really wrong. This job has been way above Bernie ever since he took it and I have to feel PTC can do better.

As far as The Gathering Place expansion, that was originally in city budgets 8 or 9 years ago and kept getting pushed into the next year, then the next, and now the expansion cost is greatly increased. That was some poor planning/priorities back then and now the present Council has to deal with it. Surveys and tax increases aren't the solution.

lexveritas
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OH, NO.....

....HERE WE GO AGAIN!
The public voted on this Gathering Place expansion last year, and it was defeated by a wide margin. Why do you staffers keep bringing this stuff back? The tax payers have already said NO!
Who is going to get rich off THIS construction contract?
One of the regulars?
As is so often the case, you seem to believe you can just wear us down with these continuing attempts to sell us something we don't want. Is this how you assure yourselves of continuing employment? Repackage the same old idea and tell us it's something else? Is there no higher level of debt or taxation that will satisfy you? How long will you keep harping on an idea that the voters have rejected?
You tried this with garbage collection, trying to sell the notion of a single contractor. The whole experience was embarrassing and foolish. Looks like you and the "boss" are going to do the same with this Gathering Place lunacy.
This "citizen's survey" will tell you what the voters have already told you: NO, NO, NO!
Enough already.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Again

It was not last year it was voted down. It was added by a Council Member who was not on at the time.

No one on this Council supported single provider. Three were not on and the other two voted against it. My proposal, like it or not, was passed, as in requiring providers to offer recycling as part of the base cost.

Spyglass
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Explain how someone would get rich...

Not that I'm for this expansion, just curious as how one would get RICH off of this?

Now if you're looking for a trailer outside of AU Alabama, well maybe this would put you in HIGH cotton. :)

Courthouserules
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Lex: no money for old folks place

I think the Mayor has tried to explain this whole situation at least once, maybe more times.

Let me try:
When a SPLOST produces more income than has been spent, that income can be spent also providing it meets the rules of the SPLOST!

It CANNOT be thrown into the general budget and spent.

It could build things like old folks meeting places, capital improvements such as cart paths, etc.

If it is spent or not spent it will not raise or lower your taxes! You have already paid the taxes in sales taxes collected!

We could just not spend it at all and get nothing built, nor get to keep the money! It would be lost.

Now, this thing is more complicated than I have enumerated it but maybe it is more understandable.

If someone who knows and wants to complicate it again, feel free!

Remember the TV show where if you could spend a million dollars in 48 hours or some number of hours, what you bought was yours, if you spent all of it.
If you were short spending it legally (could not give it away) you couldn't even keep what you bought.

Same with government contracts to defense companies---if they don't spend all of the bid, they don't get it! They usually do since they have people watching it like a hawk! Usually they overspend and get that also.

scribbler
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READ MY KEYBOARD!!

NO NEW TAXES!!!!

CITY COUNCIL -- AND ALL THE COMMISSIONS, COMMISSARS AND BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEES:

Can't you understand this very simple proposition:

The city government is not obligated to do everything-- and provide everything... for everyone one--or particular demographic /interest group.

Like-minded private interests, wealthy philanthropists, and our hard-working local charities are much more efficient at rallying ample support and financial contributions for projects and activities that deserve that kind assistance.

You seem to think we the people... the taxpayers... are obligated to foot the bill for every whim that suits a Mayor's or Council-person's ambitious pet-project do-list in order to enhance their own standing & reputation. SIMPLY NOT TRUE!!

FYI: The hard-earned income of families who live and work here ISN'T YOUR MONEY!

If you were NOT continually trying to micro-manage every nuance and facet of life in Peachtree City-- you could balance the city budget, and likely lower the millage rate!

Please get your financial act together--
...And get your new-tax ideas OUT OF MY POCKET!!

MajorMike
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scribbler - NO NEW TAXES

I don't think that I or anyone else could have said it better. Thanks.

Courthouserules
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scribbler

Please read my note to Lex!

Busy Bee
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Read My Keyboard

Mine just says "Querty"

scribbler
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An Alternative Keyboard?

Querty?? (sic)

PTCR
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800K

You council folks are insane. Please explain Mayor why 8000 sf at $100 per foot of building is needed. I paid $52 per foot for the last office building I bought for my business. Glad we have our priortites straight as a city. Imker, a "one time tax", if the nose of the camel is let into the tent, you will get the whole camel. I hope the 5 geniuses work hard today to come up with another meaningless slogan with no effort behind it.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: 800K

The cost is for more than the building. It also includes legal, design, furnishings and other costs. As well that is not the easiest property to build on. There are also sound proof walls in a few places that are not normal to regular construction. Delete the walls and you have to replace them with very expensive movable dividers.

Just because something was placed on the list does not mean it is supported by all 5 on Council. Each can contribute items for public consideration.

I added the question of what Millage Rate do you want see and gave a range of +1.5 to -1.25.

The range of answers on each Survey item ranges from strong for to strongly against.

I hope to see thousands of returns when it comes out, probably in January.

Also remember some of the proposals are to spend already collected County portion SPLOST funds. They cannot be redistributed to non SPLOST uses.

So there is a real mix of questions being asked.

Robert W. Morgan
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Ok, Don - a specific question. What does almost $800k get us?

How big in terms we can all understand - meaning how many square feet is the addition? Sure we know about the so-called soft costs. Just tell us how many square feet. Please. It ain't that hard. If you don't know, Bernie does.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Numbers

3,750 sq'

Robert W. Morgan
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OK. Not too bad for government. $200+ per square foot

Actual cost for a first-class addition in the real world would be about $120, add 30% for overhead and profit and you are up to about $180. So another 30% or so for graft and inefficiency is not all that bad for government work. Good job guys. Except I thought we voted against this expansion a couple of years ago. What did I miss? Is someone other than the taxpayers paying for this?

If this is the result of the bride players being relocated from the amphitheater office, I'm thinking we could have found them another place to play cards for much less money. Maybe they could monitor the recycling center 8 hours a day between card games. There's a productive job. I assume we the taxpayers are funding that do-nothing job as well.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Contingency

There is a contingency fund on bids as well. So, if no change orders then about $60,000 is not spent.

Yes, it was put on the ballot a couple of years ago, along with the artificial turf, both of which failed. But some wanted to give it another shot. But via a Survey, not a referendum.

There are changes and examinations of what the Gathering Place is to be used for. It has been increasing used, due to the past Council, for rentals to generate income. But this Council recognizes it is supposed to be a place for citizen use.

As for elsewhere, we looked. Every alternative had major problems.

Survey adds are kept open ended, not depending on a vote. So things get added others may or many not really support, like my Millage Rate question.

I know on my tax question 3 have already voiced support for at least a .5 increase next year while 2 feel we have already increased it too much. I know several citizens have already told me their taxes went up a few hundred dollars, not down.

The idea is to hear from the citizens on issues in general. That means if even one on Council wants it added we add it. The real debate begins when we start talking actually funding anything.

Mike King
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Mayor

So, since the voters said no, emphatically I might add, but there are those on YOUR Council who know better regarding the Gathering Place, would they be so bold as to identify themselves?

"There are changes and examinations of what the Gathering Place is to be used for. It has been increasing used, due to the past Council, for rentals to generate income. But this Council recognizes it is supposed to be a place for citizen use." Your words mayor, sophmoric, but yours none the less. Are you saying that the increased use and subsequent user fees warrant an $800K expansion, if so, could a business plan be produced?

By the way, did you not support charging users such as the VFW for meeting rooms? So much for your support of citizen use.

Courthouserules
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MIKE K

Isn't the council going to ask for a vote? about what we would prefer to spend the SPLOST overage on? I explained before that you had already paid for these kind of things with sales tax! The money is sitting there and can't be used for the budget.

I really do love these votes they take to feel out those who participate in the "vote."

You know they could just spend it anyway they please---they don't have to ask us?

I plan to vote several times myself as to what I want.
I want a city bus to run by my house and cover all of PTC.
I want a food distribution every Friday of cheese, rice, sugar, flour, powdered milk, and canned meat in such a place that I can't be seen getting it.
Hidden beggars, so to speak.
I want new overalls and shirt every six months---all clean. 6 pair underwear. A free laundry.
I want free utilities and home repairs.
I want buried free.

That is all I want but somehow I don't think the council will do all of those things, some maybe. I am willing then for another SPLOST of 2% to pay for all my wishes.

Insayn
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Morgan, Those monitoring the

Morgan,

Those monitoring the recycling center are volunteers. Not paid.

TinCan
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Insayn

Is being assigned community service by the courts now considered volunteering?

Insayn
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Tin can

They have a choice. "Volunteer" their time or serve time.

Robert W. Morgan
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OK. Not too bad for government. $200+ per square foot

Actual cost for a first-class addition in the real world would be about $120, add 30% for overhead and profit and you are up to about $180. So another 30% or so for graft and inefficiency is not all that bad for government work. Good job guys. Except I thought we voted against this expansion a couple of years ago. What did I miss? Is someone other than the taxpayers paying for this?

If this is the result of the bride players being relocated from the amphitheater office, I'm thinking we could have found them another place to play cards for much less money. Maybe they could monitor the recycling center 8 hours a day between card games. There's a productive job. I assume we the taxpayers are funding that do-nothing job as well.

bladderq
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$1.2 million gets a light

I guess some private company could come in & take over some space at PTC Crossing or Braelin and make a card room like in Calif. Wait, they actually gamble in those places & money is to be made. OK, baptist, it's gotta be govt. provided bridge & pinnocle. But we are moving away from a govt provided quality life issue & everybodys gotta pay their way. You deadbeat moochers included. BUT, no one will question spending $1.2 million to put up essentially a stop light. Anybody been thru the Rockaway light? Each direction has it's own time. A true 4-way light. Or is it a 1 way light 4 times?

Mike King
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Now Mayor....

...If memory serves, the city has been charging groups to use the Gathering Place for awhile now. How's that working out? Obviously, there are some on Council who seem to think an $800K investment is a worthwhile venture.

How about having the Recreation Department publish what has been received for The Gathering place for the last year or so? This way, at least we mere citizens get to hold you business wannabes responsible frittering away our money.

Spyglass
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I have no doubt you could buy existing space for $52 per..

but building space to govt specs is a different story.

That said, I too wonder if we need this at this time.

Spear Road Guy
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PTC Council Going Off The Deep End!

I had no idea we elected a bunch of liberal Democrats. These people just love to raise taxes no matter how bad the economy might be.

There's no such thing as a "one time property tax" increase!!!

Robert W. Morgan
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$789,000? Are you serious?

How many square feet do we get for $789,000? If the answer is 8,000 square feet we are getting a really good deal. Anything less than that - no so much. Let's please ask if we got competitive bids and what the $ per square foot cost actually is. With so many builders and workers idled by the economy, we should be getting a deal on any construction. Who is responsible at city hall?

Courthouserules
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Square feet

No, you will get less than 2000 SF for that amount for a government project. Plus add ons as changes are made.

Spyglass
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I doubt it could be built for close $100 per foot

and come anywhere close to the quality we would want, not to mention all the regulations that would have to be met...ADA, etc.

Courthouserules
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Morgan

Well you see Morgan the new "old folks" building would have to have helper handles all over the place. Ramps up and down and around, and great big doors for wheel chairs!
It would have to be powered by sunlight panels and have triple pane windows for comfort.
Anyway, these contractors who are cheating us, you say, need all the help they can get right now.
I will check with Jimmy Carter and see if he can't build it for half that!

Oh, and by the way there has to be a transit station on site for the public buses coming and going.

I look forward to staying there soon.

bladderq
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Don't Worry About the Ole Folk

$774,000 + state $444,000 to put up a traffic light @ PTC Pkw & Crosstown?
People need to get over their traffic circle phobia. I bet there are plenty of traffic counts in Washington that exceed the traffic thru that intersection. Try it you might find drivers aren't as dumb as they seem. Newnan fought the idea & finally put 1 in @ Lower Fay./E.Broad & Grissom Trl.

Mike King
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Robert W

We both know the pricing is exorbitant, but with a void of leadership on Council, what else could we expect?

We have no need for an additional tax increase currently. Let's get our economic house in order first. We can make do with what we have. Out of some $26 million bucks one would think they could figure a way to live within their means. It certainly isn't because our fair city is in the middle of a growth cycle. Well, maybe if nearly two-thirds of total revenue goes to personnel costs and is rising, we could characterize that as city growth.

Insayn
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Again with the "Gateway"

Again with the "Gateway" bridge? What will make this a "Gateway" and who came up with the idea of a bridge being a "Gateway"? Will it be some shining example of hope and freedom standing majestically to welcome travelers like Lady Liberty? Will it be a show of human ingenuity like the Golden Gate?

Or will it be another rust colored lump of metal and asphalt that stands neglected like the other 2.

What would a "gateway" bridge say to travelers anyway? "WELCOME TO PEACHTREE CITY! Here's a bridge! Look!! Its a Bridge! We built a bridge!" Its not connecting two important bodies of land. Its for golf carts to go over and already existing road.

As for the other cart paths: it will cost a whole lot less if they didn't wind around an acre of property spiraling up from the depths of hell like the new tunnel at paschal and the new and improved round about at lake Peachtree.

Spear Road Guy
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The Bridge

Insayn, I'd rather see the golf cart bridge than the West Fayetteville bypass crap.

Insayn
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Personally I'd rather see

Personally I'd rather see neither. But its just one opinion of many and we all know what opinions are like.

Mike King
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Aw Hell Spear...

... It will not be that long that your boy Brown and his little buddy Don will have the ARC so pissed at them that the West Fayette Bypass will be but a major exit/entrance ramp onto the new Outer Loop.

Spyglass
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You do understand why they must circle at times...

especially coming out of some of the tunnels under the roads.

Have you ever landed in/taken off in a jet at Jackson Hole airport?

Insayn
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Very well aware. Yet, How

Very well aware.

Yet, How many tunnels circle over such a large area? Just those two. And the circle at peachtree parkway was unnecessary. How much did it cost to build an acre loop and extend the path 700 feet because a pond behind a 14 foot section of retaining wall with a cart path over it was over flowing?

I also understand of federal wetland regulations, but this was excessive.

As for the Pascal tunnel I know of several paths that are steeper coming out of tunnels that don't use large loops that cost thousands more in material costs

Spyglass
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I think they are trying to avoid such steep sections

Just my thoughts....might be a good thing.

As far as the loop near the Parkway, I'm very familiar with it, and I agree it seems useless. Especially since they didn't remove the "dam" that the cart path went over in the first place. Nothing has changed, expect to keep carts/runners/walkers/bikers out of a little water when it rains.

Courthouserules
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spy

I agree this one was unnecessary at such expense. (probably $100,000). Somebody bought a bill of goods. Do we have a town engineer?

Thr low bridge there did flood every time it rained of any consequence due to the dam being stopped up and the bridge too low.

However, the fix would have been to raise the bridge about a foot and ramp each end. Cost? Maybe a few thousand at most.

Have they yet done anything about the one behind McDonalds at PT Crossing?
Some battery carts won't climb that one.

bladderq
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Stormwater & Cart Paths

I believe they used that money for that project. Not sure why the Corpse would not have let them build up a ramp and span where the old one crossed that "dam." My dealings w/ Stormwater & even David has lead me to believe they are all short on creative, outside the box thinking. The thinking seems to be hell-bent on getting water into the lake quickly as possible as opposed to letting the swamp we call home naturally act like a sponge & leech it. But Stormwater has money I bet from the fees, it's not a tax.

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