Peachtree City UPDATES – REALTORS, Memorial Day recognition, & budgets

Betsy Tyler's picture

I’d like to thank the approximately 70 Fayette County real estate professionals who joined us at City Hall yesterday (Tuesday, May 25) to learn more about Peachtree City and to provide input on our web site and brochures.

How many of you have ever heard the words, “But my REALTOR told me . . . ?” Accurate or not, we hear them a good bit here at City Hall. My question is, if we (the City), don’t keep our local real estate community informed on what is going on and where to find answers, how can we expect them to provide accurate information to new residents?

Several members of staff made brief presentations during the hour-long forum. Interim Community Development Director David Rast reviewed some of the projects in the works (Walgreens, the NorSouth Senior Apartment rezoning request, and the proposed cell tower ordinance revisions). Our IT Manager, Matt Robinson, gave a brief tour of the City web site. Code Enforcement Officer Molly Drennen reviewed sign rules, and Housing Code Official Tami Babb reviewed some of our property maintenance code requirements. Stormwater Manager Mark Caspar gave information on the Stormwater Utility bill requirements and how to find floodplain information. Amphitheater Manager and (as of June 1) Tourism Director Nancy Price talked about the relocation of the Visitors Center from the Tennis Center to the Amphitheater Box Office (already complete).

I reviewed some of the City’s marketing partnerships and efforts – with the Development Authority of Peachtree City and the Fayette County Development Authority focusing on office, industrial, and commercial prospects; the Peachtree City Tourism Association focusing on visitors to our community; and our Real Estate professionals responsible for our residential real estate market.

To put things in perspective, roughly 1/3 of Peachtree City’s annual revenue comes from sales taxes, and I think we all know what has happened to those over the past couple of years. Another third comes from property taxes, including car tags. Of that third, almost 65% comes from residential real estate (homeowners) based on the market value of our homes and our being able to sell them when we’re ready to move on to another house.

Peachtree City certainly has lots to offer as far as quality of life, the great path system, excellent schools, natural beauty, extensive recreation, and lower crime rates. But we’re now competing with surrounding areas that may have larger lots and newer homes that are less expensive. It is up to our real estate professionals to show the added value – the amenities and quality of life – that their clients get by purchasing in Peachtree City.

The forum was similar, but much quicker, than the PTC 101 class we hold each year, or when members of staff address local civic groups. It also helped by having agents from various offices come here, rather than having staff members attend different meetings to tell different groups the same thing. We also asked the agents to help be the City’s eyes in the community – to report any problems that they see while they are out in our neighborhoods every day. Of course, residents can do the same via our Report a Problem feature in the online services at www.peachtree-city.org . We’re also working on similar forums in the coming year for other interested groups, like HOAs.

Memorial Day Events & Recognition
Just a reminder to check the wide range of Memorial Day events in Fayette County this weekend on the Events Calendar at www.peachtree-city.org/calendar . And be sure to line the streets from 11:45 – 1:00 on Saturday to welcome home Lt. Dan Berschinski.

On Saturday night, the Army Ground Forces Band concert will include a slide show recognizing those who have served our Country as submitted to our web site. Although we’ve had to finalize the presentation with the names already submitted, we will also continue recognize new submissions on our web site at www.peachtree-city.org/troops .

Budget workshops and Town Hall Meeting in June
Finally, I wanted to remind everyone that the public will have plenty of opportunity for input on the FY 2011 budget in the coming weeks. Council will hold public workshops on Tuesday, June 1 (continued to Wednesday if necessary) and on Monday, June 15 (continued to Tuesday if necessary), at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. On Thursday, June 10, 6:30 p.m., there will be a Town Hall Meeting on the budget to gather public input. This will also be held at City Hall.

Thanks, and have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Betsy

OmerK
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On my entire existence, I

On my entire existence, I have observed Memorial Days. Where this holiday descends from is of little consequence in my experience because I have always been aware it was to recollect anyone who has fallen in war. Well now I am aware. When family's of military decided to decorate their lost ones graves after the Civil War, memorial day started. Memorial Day became a holiday in 1967, despite the fact that the civil war was in the 1800's. We now hold the holiday on the last Monday in May, but it was once celebrated on May 30th. I couldn't tell you why we changed it. I find it intriguing that until today I never really knew where this holiday comes from. I always knew it was to celebrate those lost at war, but never considered what war started it.

Betsy Tyler
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PTCGOIL - Reply on Realtor event this week

Hi, PTCGOIL -

We invited about 200 agents, and about 70 were able to attend. I don't have a complete count of agents here, but all the offices in Peachtree City were represented, as were some outside the city limits in Fayette County.

I know David Rast and/or Tony Bernard do about three presentations each year at local real estate offices. There are also presentations each year to local civic groups, usually in January, by either the Mayor, City Manager, or both that include some of David & Tony's material. I also host several scout troops and about three school classes per year at City Hall (they usually also visit fire and police stations and the library in learning about government), in addition to the individual calls and emails I get from agents and residents with questions. We(all departments) also host the 6-week, 2.5 hour per session PTC 101 class each year -- most of the slides from this week's Realtor presentation were taken from the PTC 101 slides.

Unfortunately, past Realtor interaction with Code Enforcement has often been "after the fact" on issues with signs or concerns about properties, so we were striving to clarify the rules for both the housing code and signs and permits. I understand from Mayor Haddix that the vacant property ordinance that was tabled last week was pulled because of questions and the possible existence other laws that would accomplish the same goals. I know he has indicated that he still considers the issue very active, just with a possible alternate approach to being addressed.

Also, to clarify, I worked with Council to set up the Realtor event. Our hope was to introduce the agents to the various members of staff they may need to deal with, to put names with faces, provide up-to-date information, and to request their assistance by reporting any problems they might see - and I think we accomplished a great deal in the hour we met.

I hope that helps to answer your questions.

Thanks,
Betsy

inkslinger
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So, Betsy How Many Realtors Were Invited and

how many showed up? How many Realtors are there based in PTC?

How many times in the last year "rather than having staff members attend different meeting to tell different groups the same thing" have staff done that very same thing, gone to various realty offices?

How many "problems" in our neighborhoods have been reported by Realtors in the last year?

idk_revisited
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I'm confused...

...is providing information to a group of people who sell homes to new citizens a bad thing?

mudcat
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No idk, it is a very good thing. Goil is confused.

The info sessions with Realtors go back 30 years. They used to include a rep from the school system who gave rock solid info about where the districts were and what if any future changes could be expected. 2 elected school board members ended their participation in the 1990's.

The whole purpose of these sessions was to prevent the age-old "My Realtor never told me about that" or some variation on that theme. The 2 things that made these info sessions into a city tradition was Jack Miller marketing a subdivision in the county by assuring his buyers that they could use all of the Peachtree City recreational amenities without paying city taxes (1979) and the infamous citizen uprising over the Braelinn convenience store across from the elementary school where people actually said they were concerned that their kids would be exposed to dirty magazines, cigarettes and beer and natrally said "My Realtor never told me" (1987). And I guess we have to give honorable mention to the Planterra Ridge folks who didn't notice the airport or industrial park.

Betsy is sugar coating it when she says most Realtor interaction with code enforcement has been after the fact. What is more telling is 70 out of 200 attending. Both point to the real problem - Realtors thinking they know it all and are too busy or important for training. Or the old "I'm an independent contractor, you can't make me go to class" attitude that is the basis for everything that is wrong with the real estate industry. Fortunately the recession has cleansed the real estate industry - membership down to 200 from an all time high of 600 is what I would call a good start. Those that are left are mostly professional, although the divas licensed before 1980 are exempt from training and they take full advantage of that and their clients suffer.

Bravo to Betsy and the city for continuing to try to educate these people. Most cities or counties don't even try. This is really tax money well-spent. Of course if I were doing it I would make this a required course for all Realtors and certify or license them to do business in the city and if they didn't attend they would be barred from doing business here. Harsh? A little, but a quite normal reaction to the "I'm too good to attend training" attitude. People who flaunt their independence ruin it for those that are sincerely trying to do the right thing.

inkslinger
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Only When Bernie McMullen

is trying to find all-important work for you all to do to make it look like staff cutbacks (that are going to be discussed next week in the budget talks) will cripple our city govt. Gee, how many of these time-fillers have we scheduled in the past? Timing is impeccable, if not transparent.

In the guise of sucking up to the Realtor crowd, who just put the kibosh (temporarily) on the vacant housing ordinance. What a coincidence (well, not really).

idk_revisited
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So who do you cut?

If the city govt won't be crippled with staff cutbacks, who would you cut?

Please, be specific, so all the citizens can understand what you know. Show us where the fat is, please.

Rhetoric without fact is baloney. Give us here online some practical, ACTUAL answers.

inkslinger
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Who Do I Cut?

You're confusing me with someone who has the capability to cut. I'm not council.

I'm just one of many in this city who want to see those with staff cutting capability be fully aware that if there is time for about 8-12 staff, on short notice, to pull together a two hour presentation, using about 20 hours of staff time (?)......get my drift?

It's quite a dichotomy when you have the one in charge of coming up with a recommendation as to whether there should be cuts, being the same one who is going to do the cuts and ultimately be responsible for the new, more efficient govt. after the cuts.

The easy road here is to recommend no cuts, just raise millage and use reserves. A true leader in management would follow a different path.

idk-nothing I say here will placate you. I realize that. You obviously are a city worker and feel you are all being punished needlessly. These are painful decisions that go on in private and corp. businesses all the time and it is truly the only way to correct the sorry decisions of those on the past councils.

Spyglass
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I'm curious also Goil..

Who and what do you cut?

I'll add another query..why do you choose to live in PTC?

As always, discussions with you are appreciated...reasonable folks don't have to agree on everything.

idk_revisited
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Placating Me...

Really, there is something you can say that will placate me - tell me what you would cut?

Let's do some math:

8-12 employees use 20 hours of staff time. That means each employee, if you give it a rough average, 1.67 to 2.5 hours each of staff time to talk about what's going on in the City....and each of them speak at this two hour meeting (10 minutes each). Let's say each of them makes $90,000 a year (hey, let's go ahead and really stick it to the taxpayer!). So, 12 employees have cost the City have spent 4.5 hours on this project, at a cost of $43.25 an hour per employee if you use a 2080 work year.

The taxpayers paid $2,076 for this, using your numbers. If each of the 70 realtors sell one house at an average of $250,000, and the City gets, let's say, $100 from the property tax bill, that's $7,000 a year the City gets in revenue every year. And we have realtors who now have better, more complete information then they may have had before.

The reality, more than likely, is they didn't use 2.5 hours to prepare - most of them probably had their information from other presentations or from their daily work.

And, no, I'm not claiming to be a City employee, nor will I. Call me what you want, but I think there's two sides to every story. Are there opportunities to conserve more? I'm sure they could find something, but at the end of the day, you're going to cut too much fat off and start hitting bone.

So, I ask you again, what do you cut? Be specific - you are a citizen, right? You have just as much of a right to demand a cut as the person making it.

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