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.