Fayette as tax donor county, gun show, city survey

Don Haddix's picture

A new year means new and old challenges, some changes and looking at the 2012 budget and millage rates. So, as always, a lot to do.

Here we go again, as reported in The Citizen, Georgia House Speaker Ralston has intervened into the operation of the Transportation Roundtable because he had concerns over getting the tax passed. It resulted in Mayor Reed, of Atlanta, being put on the Executive Committee. So much for the legislature not getting involved in the process after passage of the bill.

“Wait and see” is the answer when asking for much needed changes to the bill while “do it now” is the rule to get obstacles to the bill out of the way. First action was to get me off the Roundtable and now adding Mayor Reed due to not having enough pro transit members or Atlanta representation on the Executive Committee.

Chairman Frady and Mayor Steele, our Roundtable representatives, voted for this move. It remains clear to me they want this tax passed. If they did not, voting against adding Mayor Reed would have been the appropriate vote.

If any doubts here are quotes from Mayor Steele in the official Georgia Municipal Association’s publication, “Georgia Cities,” for Jan. 5, 2011, “City leaders must be involved in the regional transportation Roundtables. That’s where we are going to be able to address some of the transportation issues of our region: what’s good for my region is also good for my city.”

Note the “my region” and “my city.” Who is he representing, Fayette as a whole first or the ARC? Where was the rest of the county in his thinking as he spoke?

What transportation issue was he thinking of when speaking? Widening Ga. Highway 92 to the county line and then working with Fulton to connect it to Interstate 85 to create another development corridor, parts of which he already has plans to annex into Fayetteville? The interconnection of the West Fayetteville Bypass with Hwy. 92 as well?

The deck was already stacked in giving Atlanta an extra vote and the inclusion of Concept 3 in the bill. But that was not enough; the extra vote now also must sit on the Executive Committee that formulates the final criteria and first Constrained List for the voters.

If anyone has been thinking this bill is not about Atlanta, not even the rest of Fulton or the other nine counties, they need to think again. As a donor county, Fayette is in a losing position.

GDOT Commissioner Vance Smith spoke to the Peachtree City Rotary Club on Jan. 6. He said the bill isn’t perfect, but it is the best we have and we need to pass it.

Never mind, as I said before, Fayette is a donor county where, to illustrate, we will hand over $5 get $1 back. Commissioner Smith and Mayor Steele have both said being a donor county benefits us. Commissioner Smith even said Georgia being a donor state to such as New York is good for Georgia.

Moving on to Peachtree City, we welcome Joey Grisham as our Economic Development Coordinator. He will be working for the city and with the county and Peachtree City development authorities. We all hope his efforts are fruitful for Peachtree City.

One change to his duties from the original intent is working for the Development Authority of Peachtree City as needed instead of DAPC working for him, which was a hot button issue last year. That is one major step in the right direction and a recognition DAPC indeed has more scope than a coordinator possesses. I am very pleased with this acknowledgment.

On canceling the knife and gun show at the Kedron Center, I have been asked several times why Council canceled it. Council had supported the show when asked initially. The decision to cancel came from the Leisure Services Department without any consultation with me as mayor or the council as a whole being made prior to the decision.

Council has never set any policy defining what is a “good fit” or not for usage. A “good fit” is what the citizens of Peachtree City will attend and support.

We had five objections to the show, but far more endorsements. People are entitled to an anti-gun belief if they wish. But that is not grounds for closing the door on all the shooters, collectors and owners in Peachtree City. Last I looked the Second Amendment was the law of the land.

Regarding the 2012 budget and millage rates, the annual citizen survey will be available soon online and in hard copy. I urge everyone to fill it out and submit it. It is the largest single source of citizen input we get each year, so the more the better.

You will see a number of questions on basic information about you and Peachtree City. That information is very useful to us in setting priorities, both council- and staff-wise. There are questions on various areas of the city where you can tell us where your priorities are on expenditures.

Some questions ask if you want to spend money on potential projects. Please pay attention to the millage rate increase given, as that would be an increase to your property tax.

One such proposal is the question of do you want a year-round pool? The actual point of the question is replacing the Kedron Aquatics Center Bubble at a cost of $250,000, or about a $2.50 per year tax increase on a $260,000 home. Not to mention the operations cost during the winter.

So the question could have been clearer, especially in meaning. So just asking if you want a year-round pool is misleading as to intent.

Finally, the question of overall taxes is an important one. That balances the questions on where do you want your money spent and do you want to have higher or lower taxes? It says you’re willing to be taxed at a certain level and you want the tax dollars to be spent in a certain way. In other words, what you want and are you willing to pay for it?

As a reminder, last year the millage rate was increased 1.25 mills on a 3-2 vote. That was part of a plan that included at least a .5 mill rate increase every year for the next 4 years. So the potential tax increases included within the survey are in addition to the base tax increase, not how the .5 would be spent.

It is very important there is a clear understanding as to what the survey is asking to give us the clearest and most accurate answers possible. Exactly how you feel on taxes and spending is important to know.

We have a great city. These are critical decision in rough times.

[Don Haddix was elected mayor of Peachtree City in 2009. Previously, he had served two years as a council member. His email is dhaddix@peachtree-city.org.]

hutch866
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Haddix

Haddix on Steele

Don Haddix wrote:

Note the “my region” and “my city.” Who is he representing, Fayette as a whole first or the ARC? Where was the rest of the county in his thinking as he spoke?

Funny Don, when you were in his position, I posed the same question to you when all the projects you were for involved PTC.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: hutch866

When it comes to the subject of local projects each City and the Unincorporated County control their own projects. The RTR does not have a say in what each City submits. They have no say in how each individual governments spends its share.

When it came to Regional Projects I always spoke about Fayette, not any City. There the RTR most assuredly has a say, as in what the final Constrained List will contain, meaning what is built where, regardless of what an individual County or City wants.

Here Steele is talking about Regional Projects solely in the context of Fayetteville. He is not speaking of local projects or giving any consideration to any other city or the unincorporated area.

Beyond that I do not agree with how our TSPLOST is spent all over the Region is good for Fayette. But Steele say it is good for Fayetteville.

Under the TSPLOST there is only the Region, no local government has any say. Steele says that is good for his city.

I noticed before when you asked you didn't make that distinction between Local and Regional and it appears you still are not.

hutch866
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Right Don

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe when you were in Steele's place your projects were your cart paths and the I-85 interchange. How regional was that?

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Projects

Cart paths, as I said before, are not limited to PTC. They are already in other cities both in Fayette, like Fayetteville and Tyrone, and in other counties as well with more planned. The problem is under the criteria paths must be for non motorized use. So that is a Region wide issue, not just a PTC issue.

The 74/85 interchange is also a Regional Project.

hutch866
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Ok Don

We went through this before, here in Fayetteville I bet we have all of maybe 2 miles of cart paths, mostly the strip down Redwine rd, and you replied that you didn't know how much cart path was in Fayetteville,now I call that representation, how 'bout you? Oh yeah, I believe you also said the people in Woolsey would come to PTC to head north, is that correct? The fact is when it was you as the rep. it was all about PTC, now when you're not getting the lion's share, suddenly it's wrong. It's all about perception.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Final Statement

Paths are not limited to PTC or Fayette County. It is a Regional Issue. Non Motorized Paths are a category of development within the Regional 85% with an allotment of 0-5% of the total collected per Fiscal Year.

So the issue of being changed to allow for Motorized use, such as golf carts, is a Regional issue.

You are trying very hard to divert the issues around Mayor Steele away from him and make me the issue instead. It won't work.

Support the TSPLOST if you will. Just be honest about it.

There is no lions share for anyone in Fayette. If passed the distribution formulas are already fixed and published. I can calculate what everyone in the Region gets based on the total collection in any give year. In example on the RTR book sample breakdown Unincorporated gets $2,848,018.00, PTC $1,035,563, Fayetteville $440,069.00, Tyrone $258,060.00, Brooks $15,020.00 and Woolsey $994.00 in a single year. That is about a total $4.6 return from about a $23 million dollar collection going to GDOT.

The criterion list and projects distribution percentages have been approved by the RTR. Steele and Frady voted for them.

Only those who want a regional government can support this. There are those who do.

roundabout
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City budgets?

Camden, NJ laid off nearly half of their staff, mostly policemen and women in order to meet their budget.

Other cities have begun the process also.

May I suggest that PTC start the same thing. There will be little more state or federal money for a long time.

SPLOSTS are dead, and raising mil rates and fees is insignificant and unpopular.

No one WANTS to do this since it will require a whole new method of enforcing the law to reduce crime, reduce--not just arrest people.

It appears that about 12-15% unemployment is going to be the standard for sometime since the jobs are not there anymore that we could afford on credit before. A steady 35,000 citizens is about it for a long time.

Possibly, federal programs and corporate efficiency will keep us out of a major DEPRESSION, providing we can manage the 15 Trillion dollar debt we have accumulated over the last 10 years.

hutch866
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roundasnout

Wrong again dollar, this is what Yahoo News says..."About 335 workers, representing one-sixth of the local government work force, lost their jobs, according to Mayor Dana Redd. It was worst in the public safety departments, where nearly half the police force and close to one-third of the city's firefighters were laid off".

Maybe one day you'll get something right. BTW, how's that lawsuit coming?

roundabout
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Hutch

What's the matter with you?

I said most were Police! You can't lay of too many paper shufflers!

hutch866
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roundasnout

No, you said they got rid of half their staff, big difference between half and a sixth, don't you ever get tired of lying?

Cyclist
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One other thing roundabout...

Camden is also faced with civil pension costs that are crowding out their budget. People just can't retire at age 52 on 80 to 100% of their salary and have expectations that this can go on forever.

roundabout
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The Camden, NJ Police....

...Union refused to cut wages or take furlough unpaid days, so the council did their duty and laid off nearly half of them and put the desk officers on patrol.

I'm pretty sure that the Union was waiting for the Feds or State to bail them out at the last minute, but those days are gone.

There are numerous other cities doing the same thing now.

We are likely to see some fire coming off employees shoes instead of butts to get the job done now.

The cops there had nothing to brag about anyway--they had the worst crime record in New Jersey, and were trying to use that as an excuse to stay on the job!

hutch866
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No Don

I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy you're displaying, it was OK when it was your way, now it's wrong, because it's not your way. That's all. Live with or not, don't matter to me. I have no say so at all in this, just my vote, I'm not for the TSPLOST, you can put the words in my mouth, after all, YOU are the politician, not me, but just because you say something, doesn't make it true. I'm no fan of Steele, just haven't had a choice about him. I did think it was amusing how you sulked and pouted after your removal, and suddenly Steele is this master politician, bending the county commission to his will, and at his will. The fact is as long as you write your letters to the paper, people are going to disagree and when I see you in a contradiction, I'm going to call you on it. I'm honest about it, why don't you try it, maybe once, see how you like it.

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