Mayor: Even if it’s 4-1, I’ll vote against tax hikes

The December City Council meeting had a few agenda items that are of note and should be of interest to the residents of Peachtree City. I feel two warrant comments in addition to The Citizen’s reporting.

On the “PTC closes legal pay loophole,” some additional information is valuable to paint a full picture of the historical circus cited as the motivation for this ordinance.

It was political from the beginning. The council members claimed I was guilty of certain illegal acts, a claim they had to retract in the settlement agreement. The council members claimed they could deny filing with GIRMA, which is clearly shown as false in the ordinance and in its total absence in any provision of any legal document. They claimed they had to authorize or deny payment of the GIRMA deductible. Again false.

This circus ended with my salary restored via the settlement agreement, in which they had to also take back their slanderous and libelous claims against me, and the proposal of the ordinance to codify what powers they claimed they already possessed. The circus cost the city wasted time and money for the sake of purely personal and political attacks.

This ordinance does not and cannot give them the powers they had tried to demand.

The ordinance requires those named a lawsuit notify the rest before filing with GIRMA.

It also says they will vote and give their opinions, which will be included in the GIRMA filing. The reality is this is pointless since they cannot prevent any filing and GIRMA, as already shown, will disregard their opinions.

What it does do is put the issue into a public meeting for discussion, requires a vote and possibly turning yet another issue into another circus.

It also requires the request for payment to be submitted to the city manager or council. Again, another pointless requirement since all such bills already go to Human Resources, which notifies the city manager. Nor can payment of the deductible be denied.

Currently, if a lawsuit is filed, everyone is going to know because the press keeps an eye out for such things. So, no gain and no point since it is puzzling to think an elected [official] isn’t going to submit it to GIRMA.

This ordinance is dangerous. As with my case, if it had been handled properly it would have immediately been given to GIRMA, I would have been defended on Day One as mayor. That would have discredited the major claim I was a private citizen and brought the case to a quick and cheap closure.

Keep the politics out. We employ GIRMA as a third party to get the politics out of issues like this. The city does not put other legal issues on the dais for open discussion, etc. This should be treated no differently.

Anyone can be sued for any claim at anytime. It does not matter if it is true or false. Lawsuits can be for no other purpose than trying to drive someone out of office.

This ordinance is an attempt to place laser focus on an elected [official] not liked by the majority and to justify the actions of the council members. It does not.

Moving onto the hotel/motel tax, The Citizen was sent a copy of the statement I read at the Meeting. I don’t see it covered in the article.

Following are excepts from the statement:

“Per the proposal, page 2 shows the CVB currently receiving $569,200 at 6%. Page 3 shows, under the 8%, the CVB receiving $569,200. No gain.

“Page 2 shows the City receiving $286,000 into the General Fund. Page 3 shows the City receiving $426,900 into the General Fund and $142,300 to be dedicated to Recreation.

“Reality is the City is receiving $569,000 into the General Fund. There is no, and cannot be, any guarantee the City will spend $142,300 more on Recreation than it already does. Even if that were so in the Budget passed in 2013 the new Council in 2014 is not bound to do so as well.

“The simple fact is all council has to do is appropriate the budget and designate the first $142,300 as per the agreement. Then they are free to spend the rest of the money any way they wish.

“Nor do I see any letters of endorsement from the local companies, like NCR, who will be paying this extra 2% and are major industrial partners with the City and critical to our economy.

“It is known by all on council that our legislative delegation requires a 5-0 vote by council before they will approve anything we send to them.”

In fact, it was just a couple of months ago that one of the delegation, in an email on another issue, repeated that demand. So, it has not changed.

As well, all on Council know I did not support an increase in the Hotel/Motel Tax in the past and have stated I will not support any tax increases until we get our spending under control.

I remind all that I formed the Needs Assessment Committee because Peachtree City has never set spending priorities nor has ascertained what the citizens want.

Past surveys have called for no tax increases and reductions in Recreation to balance the Budget, which were ignored using excuses. The Committee is working on nailing down exactly what is wanted by Peachtree City in a way that cannot be ignored.

As for saying I am a frequent critic of spending on Recreation, some perspective on that statement is needed.

I voted for the creation of the Facilities Authority and have voted for all the spending to date, from that bond, on repairing Recreational facilities. So saying I am anti Recreation is nonsense.

Comparing us to like cities, we have 249% the amount of Recreation they do. But, the majority of users, overall, are not Peachtree City residents.

The Hotels and Motels and CVB want more tournaments, etc. But, a complaint I have heard for five years, by some associations and Peachtree City citizens, is that too much time is consumed renting it out and denying citizens usage.

Notice that no associations nor the Recreation and Special Events Committee signed onto this proposal, either. Shane Robinson only spoke for herself and in talking to a couple of people they were never made aware of the realities included in my statement.

Promises were made that cannot be kept, stakeholders that should have been included were not and this effort was kept from me, thus my input, until it was posted in the packet as an Agenda Item.

Being kept secret is nothing new, even though the City Charter requires the Mayor be included in all such efforts. This hiding of efforts causes a lot of problems and wasted time and money.

We do not look at our Budget, income and spending side, comprehensively. We have no long-term vision or plan per what the citizens want as priorities or goals. No financial or needs assessment has ever been done by city. The city manager has agreed with these points and has talked about them himself.

Until we have these things the continued cycle of the council majority to tax and spend is not something I will support because it is hurting the city.

Don Haddix, mayor

Peachtree City, Ga.

Fight 4 right
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Does anyone else hear that???

Does anyone else hear that high pitched whining?????

NUK_1
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Here's my "Needs Assessment"

PTC NEEDS a new Mayor, one that has at least a shred of class and dignity, an IQ above a corn chip and, maybe if we're lucky, a small amount of leadership too. A couple of different Councilmembers wouldn't hurt either, but let's go after the lowest hanging fruit next year first and foremost and get this clown the hell out of office.

Since Ramsey and Chance just got re-upped, not many openings for our aspiring Mayor except for.....hey, he can run against Steve Brown or Alan McCarty! Brown vs. Haddix would be a campaign for the ages. Even FC might not be able to shovel out of that.

Spyglass
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I agree Nuk, that's our #1 NEED..

A new Mayor.

In fact, we could use a Mayor of any kind right now...what we have in office now is a poor excuse for a King...

Spyglass
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How much did you cost the City again?

Is this a joke?

You should be quiet and quit embarrassing us all.

Larry Sussberg
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City Council Suggestion

I suggest that city council consider postponing ANY & ALL tax increases with the CLEAR understanding that Mayor Haddix (and Mayor Haddix's committee) will be responsible to propose and enforce ALL required budget and service cuts to balance the budget. It will be his SOLE responsiblitiy since whatever you as council members say or do meets with his criticism. If he wants to run solo and be a KING, let him. Just like the last KING of France!

It's time for this Mayor to put up or shut up. Produce the budget cuts and balance the budget. Enough of the back stabbing political rhetoric....JUST DO SOMETHING.

Put this in the mayor's lap and let him succeed or fail! If he can balance the budget and come up with all the required cuts that wins him approval for a second term in office - have at it!

We are all getting tired of his political games so let him prove he can do it, SOLO!

City Council...push the plate to Don Haddix and make him produce results!

GeorgeDienhart
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Hotel Motel tax

The Hotel/Motel tax was supported by our local hotels and motels. This letter is strictly political- the mayor is seeking political cover. I think he believes that he can run on a platform of being a tax cutter. It's a shame that he did not support me when I presented multiple balanced budgets that would have negated the millage rate increase taxpayers suffered this year.

As a council our focus needs to be on whats best for the city and NOT the next election. This increase would cost residents nothing. It taxes visitors to our city. Most importantly, it was supported by the local business that will be taxed. This was a winning proposition that the mayor is attempting to block in hackneyed political move. Peachtree City deserves better.

Robert W. Morgan
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Some people can campaign, some people can govern

We just saw that in the Obama/Romney contest. Clearly Obama is a failure as a leader, but he got a lot more votes from going on The View and Letterman than Romney did sitting for serious interviews on Fox and elsewhere. His minority status helps as well - he's half black, but under the "one drop of blood" rule he's a qualified minority. And he clearly intends to keep campaigning and pandering to his base during his second term.

I see Haddix in the same category - a political animal pandering to the headline-only reading voter or in PTC, the group that wants to stay uninvolved. A bonus, he gets his minority status from being short and semi-literate. Pretty much guarantees him a majority and a second term.

Can't happen because a couple of hundred people who blog on here know better? Yea, sure. Just ask Mitt Romney what he thinks about all that. We have reached the tipping point where elections are decided by the non-productive members of society and governments are run by people unqualified to manage a Burger King.

Larry Sussberg
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George

See my suggestion above....let Haddix have at it, once and for all!
Let him balance the budget...council should postpone all tax increases and hold off on all major spending except essentials until DON HADDIX produceS a balanced budget through service cuts only. With or without his committee...make him put up or shut up!

We are all tired of his letters. Council needs to push the responsibility on to him to produce. If he does - great! and if he can't so be it.

Remember, this is HIS committee...no matter what happens, he can not walk away from it and if it fails, so does he! Give Napoleon his Waterloo!

Enough is enough

GeorgeDienhart
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Larry

A couple of months ago, Councilmember Learnard tried to nudge the mayor to lead. I flat out asked him to provide the leadership that he was elected to provide. The result was the needs assessment.

This all started as council provided its input to the budget. Four of us provided input. One of us did not. The member of council that did not provide leadership complained about the budget, but offered no input as to what was wrong, or how to correct it. The rest of us asked for his input. He came back with the needs assessment committee.

While I hope we can get good feedback from this committee, I truly believe it was not formed to provide feedback. It was formed for the mayor to take credit if anything they proved that works, and cast blame on anything that does not. It was a strictly political move to solve a governmental problem. That said, I appreciate the hard work and long hours that the committee has put in. It is obvious that they want to serve their city, and for that they deserve accolades.

Had council adopted The mayor's budget plans from a couple of years ago, our city would be stuck in the same deficit spending boat as the County Commission and the School Board. I asked experts within our city government and other city governments to verify my thoughts. I wanted to make sure I was understanding what the Mayor had proposed. I was told that the mayors recommendations would have lead to disaster. In his budget, the mayor factored in revenue from hundreds of new jobs in scores of new business. He did this at the height of the Great Recession. As we have seen, there are no new jobs or new business under this mayors leadership. Outside of Sany, there has been very little job creation. This is what passes as budgeting under the yoke of the Haddix administration.

Larry Sussberg
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George Dienhart, Don Haddix & PTC Budget

George,
I understand and totally agree.

That being said, he is playing to an audience that may not know all the facts. It's all about silly sound bites!
Let him hang himself by turning the process over to him. And make sure he owns the committee and their results!

Mike King
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Now George...

Sure, the increase was supported by the hotels and motels because it didn't cost them. Have you or anyone else on Council discussed the increase with NCR or Cooper Lighting for example?

While you're at it, tell us what your back fill is for the Gardner-Denver plant closing next year.

GeorgeDienhart
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Mike King

I can't comment on Gardner-Denver right now.

The hotels know their client base. They are supporting this because, in the long run, it will provide them more business. A hotel room here starts at about 70 bucks a night. This tax increase is about a $1.40 a room. It's not going to break anyone's budget- even in bulk purchases. The hotels would not support this if their biggest clients were going to stage a mass desertion over the tax.

The truth is this could potentially cost the hotels something- business. Instead, the hotels believe they will gain business from the increase.

Mike King
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George

Why not comment on Gardner-Denver? It's common knowledge they're closing this facility.
Regarding the tax and the two obviously largest users of hotels/motels in town, were NCR and Cooper Lighting involved in the decision process or not? You do realize there is competition for rooms close by.

Mike King
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Mayor

Please explain that it was not your fault that you referred to former Mayor Logsdon as being present at a meeting "part drunk" to a city employee. Perhaps you were under duress because the four other members of the City Council had belittled you time and again. I expect a full denial from you of the entire episode.

When you are no longer mayor is when the city will begin its recovery.

Robert W. Morgan
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Let's just take a survey, Mr. Mike

If the majority of those taking the survey think that Haddix is right about his "half-drunk" comments, let's let him off and make him mayor for life.

OR, if he's wrong or misunderstood, let's put him in stocks, throw near beer at him and send him out of town with tar and feathers.

You be right about the city's recovery - Haddix gone, a mature mayor in office and the Obamamacine chugging away creating jobs. OK, would you settle for 2 out of 3?

TinCan
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Short term loan

Think we could borrow Stockbridge's city charter for a week or two?

Husband and Fat...
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I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE

Please learn how to write a letter. I am sure, with your swag, one of the elementry school teachers will let you sit in class when they teach letter writing. This is embarassing without getting into the statements you have made.

Husband and Fat...
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Additional comments

Didn't have time this afternoon to detail what I wanted to say after having to read it a few times, lol. The Mayors letters to the editor are atrocious. I don't have enough time in the day to pick apart the grammar, but the content is typical of all his letters. He and the rest of us should be ashamed to have a representative that can't clearly explain their points of view.

Let's start with his missive about the new ordinance requiring council to be notified about any invoice related to our insurance carrier, GIRMA. One would hope that council would be advised regarding any open issues related to pending insurance claims. We discovered the loophole when you weren't man enough to notify fellow council members of your pending protest. Whether you were due coverage or not for your lost court case is irrelevant. You hid the fact that you were fighting this battle and saw to it that GIRMA was paid prior to council notification. In addition, what is wrong about being transparent and discussing pending claims. The people have a right to know.

The hotel/motel tax should be a no brainier when it comes to passage. Hotels list their room rates only. Most people assume taxes are equal or similar in adjacent cities. The CVB needs to talk with all of the local schools, recreational sports leaders, karate schools, churches, hotels, ect.. to get them to sponsor various tournaments, revivals, special band nights, ect... As a resident, I love to see our facilities used year round to the fullest extent. This will bring revenue to the hotels and local businesses. Would out of town guests rather stay in PTC with our cool golf carts and safe streets or the Fairburn hotels by the highway?

Your needs assessment group so far has not impressed anyone but you and the people you cherry picked to represent us. From what I read in another article, you have yet to figure out a means to deploy the survey. The idea to leave 99% of the people from taking the survey is ridiculous.

Anyone with a half a brain can see that you have put a line in the sand and will proclaim that only you declined the approval of a tax. This letter is purely political and reinforces the perception that you are not a leader who can work with others for the betterment of PTC.

PTC Observer
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Husband & Father

Mr. Haddix, is not capable of writing a cogent letter. So, you'll just have to wait until he isn't Mayor. The only question is will a new Mayor be any better at communicating, I have my doubts. After all, it could be Mr. Haddix that will be re-elected, we seem to re-elect incapable people.

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