Council approves hotel-motel tax increase

With the blessing of the vast majority of hoteliers in Peachtree City, the city council voted 4-1 Thursday to increase the city’s hotel-motel tax from 6 to 8 percent.

That will steer extra funding to the city that will be used to maintain and improve existing city recreation facilities which will in turn be used to leverage sports tournaments to help fill hotels, particularly on weekends when business-related traffic is light.

Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch noted the proposal does not require the creation of any new recreational facilities.

Instead it’s a matter of having additional money “to take care of what we have,” Fleisch said.

The city’s existing recreation fields and venues are more than sufficient to attract tournaments and have done so in the past, Fleisch noted, referencing a summer lacrosse tournament that has been held here for several years. The Atlanta Sports Council and an independent evaluator also have confirmed such, Fleisch said.

Under the city’s current hotel-motel tax, the funds cannot be spent directly on recreation projects.

Had the tax increase been enacted in 2011, the city could have seen an increase in hotel-motel taxes of $142,000 and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau would have doubled its hotel-motel tax revenue with an additional $284,600.

Council members Kim Learnard and George Dienhart said they were stunned that the hotel representatives had been convinced to go along with the measure. Fleisch has been working on the negotiations for well over a year and actually made the presentation to her fellow councilmembers in lieu of city staff.

While the proposal calls for a reduction over 10 years in the amount of hotel-motel tax paid to the city’s airport authority for operating Falcon Field (Atlanta Regional Airport), it also provides for the current subsidy of $102,000 a year to be paid during years in which the authority has less than $100,000 in annual operating income.

Peachtree City Mayor Don Haddix cast the only no votes against the several measures that were deemed necessary to seek the legislature’s approval. Haddix is a frequent critic of city recreation spending and noted that without a unanimous vote from council, the hotel-motel tax increase will not be approved per the rules of the Fayette County legislative delegation.

However that is not completely clear given that the makeup of the delegation has changed somewhat due to last year’s redistricting of seats in the Georgia House of Representatives. The district of Coweta Rep. Billy Horne, a Republican, was expanded into part of northwest Peachtree City which also gives him a say on such matters.

The local legislative delegation’s nod is necessary for the matter to be voted on by the full legislature.

Larry Sussberg
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The Mayor, The Budget & Tax Increases

It's easy to play to citizens' desires to see no tax increases especially in a climate where voters demand lower taxes and more government accountability.

Also, in the newspaper and in a re-election campaign, its easy to say "I voted for no tax increase", a simple statement that sturs possible support and interest.

However, citizens of Peachtree City are smarter than that and many are growing tired of his "political snipets and empty comments". It's easy to criticize the work being done by others which this mayor has done for 6 years (as a council member and as mayor).

I again, urge city council to hold Mayor Haddix accountable for his committee and the recommendations they will make. Let Mayor Haddix balance the budget by implementing the service cuts WITHOUT TAX INCREASES!

City Council should approve no more tax increases and vote to wait for Haddix's committee report. Then force the implementation as outlined by Mr. Haddix and his committee.

Plain and simple. Most likely just in time for the next mayoral election in November 2013.

Husband and Fat...
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Mayor has no clue

I don't understand Mr. Mayor. One 2% tax increase paid by outsiders and has the blessing of the local hotels and motels and you become the sole vote against this tax. Please explain. Better yet, keep quite, I can't take another incoherent letter to the editor.

What do you have against the recreation dept? Don't you understand that the less activities we provide, especially for the youth, the more problems we have with youths who have nothing to do but get in trouble.

People with kids come to PTC because there are a vast array of recreational opportunities afforded to us by many great people who go above and beyond.

It's a crying shame you don't have a clue.

mudcat
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All the more reason for Randy Gaddo to run next year

Mayor or council - whichever, but having a candidate or two that is actually pro-recreation and understands the basic truth expressed in your post, will better serve the city in the era of healing and rebuilding after mayor haddix is gone. I like Terry Ernst as well.

I was talking to some new people that moved here from Minnesota last month and by far the overriding decision to pick Peachtree City was the recreation programs and cart paths. They have no clue about the cutbacks and the maintenance nightmares that are headed our way, but they know what they like. I suspect many of us moved here for the same reason and we expect the city leaders to keep up our amenities and programs and infrastructure instead of going all lone wolf for inexplicable reasons.

Spyglass
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Sounds like a plan to me..

The current so called Mayor could hasten things by resigning.

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