PTC finds funds for repairs to cart paths, roads

No tax increase necessary as new revenue boosts city’s bottom line

Peachtree City’s financial planners have figured out a way to plug the needed $1.5 million in road and cart path funding into the budget for future fiscal years without needing a commensurate property tax increase ... or any other type of new funding mechanism.

Finance Director Paul Salvatore showed a new five-year fiscal model spreadsheet to the City Council Thursday night, showing revenues the city hadn’t been counting on in previous years: the take from the new auto title fee which replaced the “birthday” tag tax on automobiles.

The city’s cut from that switched revenue stream has run about $95,000 a month which has been a major shot in the arm, Salvatore said. The city also recorded a $200,000 increase in property taxes as well, he added.

The city does still plan to spend down its cash reserves over the next several years, but in part that’s due to the fact they’ve crept so high in recent years, nearing double the goal, which is to have the equivalent of 20 percent of the budget in reserves so it can be marshaled in case of an emergency.

The city’s cash reserves have long been touted as a good financial indicator which have also helped the city get an excellent financial rating and thus some of the lowest interest rates available.

Councilman Eric Imker, who was ebullient in pointing out the fact that the city now expects to cover the $1.5 million in annual cart path and road maintenance without a tax increase, stood up from his seat on the dais and applauded, saying he was “flabbergasted” staff was able to make this happen.

“This is huge,” Imker exclaimed. “Tears are running down my eyes right now. This is huge and I don’t think you people really understand how big this is.”

Imker said the development was in part a realization of the city’s conservative revenue projections and spending patterns. He added that he especially looked forward to the budget process including workshops and council meetings later in 2014.

Salvatore cautioned that the latest five-year financial model does not account for any expense swing that might be related to a planned salary study that is expected to be completed later in this fiscal year.

At the same time, it does not calculate any fiscal bump in revenue the city might get from hosting the Diva Half Marathon event nor from its share of the sales taxes that will be collected at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayetteville, Salvatore said.

Husband and Fat...
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This is good for PTC

And this line item should never be removed. It's not splost related. It's a daily cost for being a city.

I don't have a problem with the city not recognizing this new revenue source this past year, but do think that once we hit June, the city would have had 6 months of trends. Why was this not identified sooner. Everyone on council gets a detailed cost report. Why didn't Imker raise his hand 6 months ago to ask about this revenue? How about anyone else? Are they not studying this and questioning these budgets? Was Mr. Salvatore afraid this would ruin the splost vote and didn't want to stick his neck out?

As I age and grow a little wiser, I am learning that we can't rely on our leaders to do everything for us. We citizens have to study the budgets and ask questions.

I am glad that we can now finance the roads and paths again without a splost or a tax increase. I challenge council to find more fluff and start reinvesting into the city again.

Robert W. Morgan
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6 months ago in PTC - some turbulent times

Why didn't Imker or someone raise a question about the new revenue source, you ask? Back then the city council was extremely distracted by the mayor's theft of city money to pay his personal legal bills and they were spending a lot of time searching for solutions, picking the wrong one and then fending off da mayor's lawyer for a day.

True we should as citizens look at things a little closer, but I for one am content to let our leaders do the majority of the work - as long as we have good people in there with no personal agendas or mental deficiencies. I think the 2014 lineup gives us that for the first time in a very long time.

moelarrycurly
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No personal agendas

on this new council? What you been smoking, dead guy?

H & F is right on the nose. All infrastructure should be part of an ongoing line item yearly budget. That 1.5 or 2 million is a drop in the bucket for what is needed now. As Mr. Salvatore said, there is no history on this ad valorem tax bump up, so who knows if we will have that 95K a month to rely on for any length of time going forward.

Now, with the new gubnor, Jay hey-check-out-this-video Carter, coming on board at the end of the year, I am sure his very grateful boss, Barry, in DC, will make sure Georgia gets a big bite out of the fed money trough. Whether any ends up in our good old GOP county is yet to be seen.

Husband and Fat...
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Do you think

The finance director and city manager didn't address this unbudgeted revenue until now because a splost would have made their jobs easier?

I understand PTC had to identify a use for the splost money or lose it if it had passed. We're they afraid to speak of this 3 months ago?

moelarrycurly
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Could be

but I doubt it. From what Mr. finance said, he had some talks with the county tax commissioner recently and that seems to be when he found out about it. Sounded like he wanted to see the pattern, and from what he said, so far, the 95k has been a pretty steady figure for the last 6 months. I think the splost list was pretty all-encompassing. Lessons were learned on the last splost (2005?) that if you didn't make the list long enough, you could lose some money.

It isn't as if there aren't enough projects to go around. There will be a new list coming out in the next few months that will make the water issue look like a walk in the park.

They are just beginning to gear up for budget talks and I am sure this was one of the first steps, to check on what revenue we can expect to prepare for 2014. You can be assured these 2 managers know what they are doing, regardless of any politics going on around them.

Husband and Fat...
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Politics

I think politics certainly had something to do with the timing.

Think you're right about a water splost. Think that's going to be a doozy, but I think commission must also ask for the current board to resign and have a complete overhaul.

moelarrycurly
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h&f

Check put the meeting minutes from the Jan 23, 2013 h2o committee. 9 million already budgeted and a bond issued for the MIEX project. Looks like there will be no need for a rate increase with that amount going toward the fixes instead of the unnecessary MIEX project. I'd like to know the bond terms and the amount. Might find some of it was unnecessary and unless the rate is really low, we are paying interest needlessly.

I agree on the board, but have to remember these are volunteers and they have no real authority other than recommendations to BOC. Rapson is all over this and so is the new manager (not to mention EPD), so I would not be surprised to have them wait till terms are up to do any changes. There is still lots to do on the water, it will take months of testing and evaluating to get through some of it and then address it, so we will hear about it for months to come.

Husband and Fat...
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MIEX

It's been a while since I read up on the MIEX project, and please correct me if I am mistaken, but wasn't the MIEX proposed as an upgrade to remove TOC's that are a known cancer pre-cursor and also part of a federal initiative?

If they are utilizing this money to fix other issues that developed due to incompetent management, than we are cheating Peter to pay Paul, and we will still have to address the MIEX.

There is no doubt that the county has significant water issues and this has to be addressed along with stormwater since the stormwater is washing a lot of these TOC's into our resovoirs.

An overhaul is needed on the board, volunteer or not. A board is an oversight committee. They should be looking at everything and they are not. The agendas and meeting minutes substantiate this claim. This wouldn't fly in any corporate board, why do we allow this for our #1 substance, water? The board is nothing but a boys club.

moelarrycurly
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correction

MIEX was taken off the table, for now, at the Oct. 23rd meeting. Read those minutes. Without an "optimized plant" there is no reason to use MIEX or any other system yet. Gotta get the ducks in a row, first. Who knows, might not even need MIEX (or another system) if the plant is brought up to snuff.

I won't argue the board with you. I agree 100%.

Husband and Fat...
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So

Yes, with an optimized plant, the MIEX may not be needed.

No one on the board or previous commission was smart enough to ask this question before the bond?

moelarrycurly
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So, for some reason

The proverbial adults in the room just assumed 1) a 30 year manager and 2) an engineering firm and 3) a state govt. oversight agency would have done their jobs and protected the public, maintained equipment, and not neglected their responsibilities.
Who could ever fathom what we ended up with?

Husband and Fat...
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Like my daddy said

Trust no one, ask questions

This ain't no boys club