PTC accumulated debt requires SPLOST fix

Don Haddix's picture

The City Council is moving forward on a number of fronts to resolve a variety of needs and concerns facing Peachtree City. A lot of issues have been ignored and postponed that can no longer be neglected.

Until Councilman Doug Sturbaum and I began addressing the issues of funding in recreation about a million dollars of taxpayer funds were being spent each year that should not have been spent. The tennis center operations have been moved from the red to the black and The Fred should progress to about break-even this year.

On the Kedron Complex, for the first time, it was stated that of about $923,000 in expenditures about $701,000 was being funded by property tax, which was unacceptable. That amount has fallen to about $460,000.

This year we did what the majority last year was unwilling to do and adopted the staff-recommended fee structures. If staff is the preferred management for the complex, then what they want for fees is what we should allow as long as we ensure they are operating as efficiently as possible as well.

Reality is we have to get the cost of operations down. Most of the cost is coming from the pool. That is even more true when facing a decision soon to replace the bubble top at a cost of $250,000. A new bubble would also have a limited life-span.

Another topic that has drawn much attention is seeking a new SPLOST. I won’t go into much detail here since my May/June letter in the Update focuses on budget issues. I will simply add some information not in the letter.

The current projected total debt for the 2011 budget is $19,700,000. That is a lot of money accumulated largely over the last 10 years to pay, in part, for large projects like the police station, attempts to repair the police station (note here repaired to size smaller than needed), tennis center and library.

The current projected debt payment for 2011 is $3,582,555. That is about 1.86 mills of property tax. Paying the debt down stops the millage rate from going up. Getting rid of it eventually should result in a millage rate less than 5 mills.

These realities are why we need a SPLOST dedicated first and foremost to debt reduction.

So I agree with Councilman Eric Imker we need a SPLOST, which I put on an Association of Fayette County Government meeting for discussion. But I do have to correct his statement that the defeated SPLOST was a bad SPLOST due to including the West ByPass.

The bypass actually was not on it. The West Bypass money was totally collected in the 2005 SPLOST, which just expired.

So SPLOST or no SPLOST, the bypass is already funded and the Fayette County commissioners have made it clear they are building it. In fact much of the bypass has already been built to date.

Finally, it needs noted that while the debt number is very high when looked at in financial and bond rating terms, it is actually considered moderate. If it were not we would not have a AAA bond rating.

Bottom line is we have to balance the budget. Reality is there are not enough cuts available to accomplish this goal. Getting rid of the debt would be a huge step forward for the future of Peachtree City budgets and property taxpayers.

[Don Haddix is the mayor of Peachtree City.]

PTC Observer
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Problem is

Mr. Mayor that if we pass a SPLOST dedicated to reducing debt, the city doesn't have to use the money for this purpose. You guys can use it for what you want.

I would only support a SPLOST if there was no way that the money could be used for something else. Secondly, if and when the debt is paid off, the SPLOST would end. Finally, the city could not take on more debt while the debt is being paid down.

Then and only then, I could support a SPLOST.

I am certain you will object to these restrictions but in my book it's the only way you can get another SPLOST by the voters.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Incorrect on Problem

Not a penny of SPLOST money can be spent on anything not in the voter approved referendum. That is State law and cannot be violated.

On no debt added I would hate to make that promise then have a serious emergency or critical need. Speaking for myself I have no intention of voting on anything loan based that is not of critical need.

So, no Recreation or the like projects.

I do disagree on not asking for another SPLOST in the future because my intent is to cut property tax as low as possible. That is much more beneficial to property owners.

Plus one extra comment on the issue of cutting taxes equals more tax income. I agree wholeheartedly when it is income tax. But it does not work on property tax.

Do your own math. One mill is about $1,930,000.00 in total income for one year. That is a about $116.00 on an average home in PTC if a cut. To make that up in LOST tax means that money in a year's worth of circulation would have to create an additions $11,600.00 in taxable sales. Per week that would be $223.07. Or, to put it another way it would have to return almost $2 per week for every dollar saved for a year.

Now multiple that reality over about 13,000 homes. You really think you will generate that much extra sales to compensate?

So the real issue is where do you want to pay? Many years more with 1.86 mills a years going to debt or the SPLOST to get rid of the debt faster and then a property tax reduction long term?

Spyglass
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Mr. Haddix..

can a SPLOST be passed only in the City? I believe they have to be County Wide, but I have been wrong before.

I've been in the minority here, supporting you on this SPLOST idea...best of luck, but you're swimming upstream.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: SPLOST

You are correct. It must be County wide.

A MOST is what can be only city but we are cannot get one at this time.

I agree it is an uphill battle. But, I am not sure how many who oppose the SPLOST understand we have to balance the Budget but with the debt, economy and other issues we have inherited we cannot avoid doing something more than cutting spending.

For over ten years debt has been piled up. As well infrastructure was neglected and other needs were not funded. When the economy spiraled down the last four years the majority on Council kept basically saying one more year and then maybe we will do something. Then they did something at the end but it was too late.

Over $4 million of spending was cut the last year and a half. But that was catch up, not preventative. Now we have about a $1.2 million shortfall we must cover while some of the old postponed repairs and replacements can no longer be postponed.

Bottom line is we have three sources of funding to look to, being SPLOST, property tax and the Reserve. We must use one or more.

SPLOST is the best because it looks beyond just the short term one Budget year. It is a long term fix that will take over $3 million of annual debt payments out of the Budget and M&O portion of the millage rate.

No one wants a tax increase. I have to pay it as well. But we do not have the legal option of doing nothing and I really believe shutting down services, even in Rec, hurts PTC more than it would help.

YourGoodPalMike
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No new taxes are wanted or needed

Folks, don't vote for SPLOST. We should strive for lower taxes in all areas and should be willing to make sacrifices in our city, just like we do in our own personal lives when funding is short.

First, we don't need a new bubble top. That's a want, not a need. Let it go. Shutting the pool down all winter will save even more money. Swimming can be done in the summer, just like golf in most places.

Next, we'll just have to have bumpier golf cart paths for a couple years. No big deal. We can slow down.

Fireworks? Nah, not necessary. Fun, sure, but backyard bbqs and neighborhood parties are more enjoyable anyway and don't cost the city a thing.

We just need to cut, cut, cut until spending matches revenue. Will it be easy? Of course not, but it's necessary to make up for previous administrations' poor planning.

But I'm not really worried. There's no way a SPLOST is going to pass in this community until the economy is on its feet again.

Bonkers
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Mayor

We all make mistakes in sentences, but as Mayor you should be more careful.

"a about"

"PTC if a cut"

"create an additions" (sorry, don't understand that whole sentence)

"now multiple that"

As an aside, I must comment about what gets rid of the debt, aren't you just moving the payer of the debt from homeowners to everyone---many of whom can ill afford to pay 7% tax on everything (yes, at one time the 7% was 1%).

Keeping millage down by using SPLOST (you said LOST which is somewhat different) only allows more increases in millage later for other things, since you didn't increase it then but instead used a SPLOST.

However, I am a supporter of the majority rules until changed, and if the voters want it, dumb or not, then it is law.

johenry
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Ginga1414 and Bonkers are right Mayor Haddix

I think the mayor is trying to pull a fast one on us. Keep your eyes open.

Ginga1414 is right on the money. That West Fayetteville Bypass ain't even close to finished. The April 15, 2010 Fayette Chronicle said on the front page the county people awarded some bids for Phase I of the bypass. That don't sound almost finished so stop the lying.

Bonkers made a good point too. By not paying the debt for the police station the mayor will have more money to spend on other things. What exactly are those other things? Maybe we shouldn't be spending money on any new things in the hard times we're in.

Bonkers
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Mayor--we ain't that dumb!

If you get no SPLOST, which you won't, then you will pay on the debt anyway with money you would like to use elsewhere (Where might that be (tennis maybe) (bubbles)? (Who could possibly know?)

If you get a SPLOST, which you won't) then you will have all that money in the budget to spend somewhere other than the debt!

That water on my shoe is not rain---there are no clouds!

Look, I know politicians run such things as PTC plotting around us 6th grade educated voters (on average intelligence--not actual years in school) but many know better.

It is such a common thing that many politicians think it is normal!
When I was a young stupido. I participated in such a farce in order to raise money to build a retarded children's school and then get the county to take it over, later. It worked. A good thing, but done surreptitiously.

PTC Observer
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Haddix - two out of three

If the governmment can write a SPLOST based on the three criteria that I outlined, then I could support it. Not because I like it but because it restricts government spending and guarantees that the debt will be eliminated. It's time to get our house in order.

So to recap:

1) SPLOST for debt reduction only.
2) No new debt while the SPLOST is in force.
3) SPLOST goes away as soon as the debt is paid off.

Then you have my support.

scribbler
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NO NEW TAXES, MR MAYOR

Read my lips...

NOPE!!

lexveritas
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TPPete Is Right

TeaPartyPete is right on the money, and the city manager needs to go. The reign of deceit and terror needs to end. It will take many years to undo all the damage this bankrupt personality has done, and many years to restore devastated morale and confidence in the city staff. It's time for Mayor and Council to hold him responsible for the lies and mischief which have made him so despised by both staff and the public.
NOBODY else would have gotten away with such disreputable behavior.
Bernie has to go.
NOW.

Spear Road Guy
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You Are A Nut Dar Thompson!!!

You're more like a cashew than an almond. Your buddy Harold Logsdon couldn't stop his tax and spend ways and now Mayor Haddix is in the red.

Here's Dar lecturing us on spending when he wanted the taxpayers to foot the bill for his ice rink and fitness facility Taj Mahal. It's only a good idea if it benefits Dar Thompson!!!

What a hypocrite.

dar thompson
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Taxes,

when did mayor Logsdon raise taxes? You may want to gather more information and be in complete control of the facts.

Many, and there are quite a few, of the Northwest (Delta) employees from Minnesota are moving to Cobb county. Their preference was Peachtree City but we had no rink to offer the 300 or 500 families that would have moved here if we had ice.

Based on your comments, you absolutely don't understand how money works, and you have no knowledge of who I am and where my money goes. Trust me, if I did only the things that benefitted me I would care less about an ice-rink and Peachtree City...and I would be living a much different lifestyle than I do now. Don't pretend to know who I am when you have no clue or know anything about me.

Yes, I have been very blessed and yes very fortunate (lucky). What you don't understand is that if Peachtree City becomes something other than Peachtree City I can pick up and go anywhere I want...I have that luxury. Most of our citizens do not have that luxury. I want to make it where the citizens of Peachtree never have to make that decision. Trust me, it ain't about me.

dar thompson
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pete,pete,pete

seems as though you have no idea what you are talking about. the city manager runs the city based on decisions which are made by the city council. it's the past administrations who are at fault here. you can't expect someone to build a million dollar home and only give him $300,000 to do it with...come back when you are more educated on the subject.

TeaPartyPete
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Dar Picking Up Jock Straps

Last time I saw you Dar, a week ago, you were picking up Jock Straps in your over priced gym. Do you think the City Manager will carry your jock strap when you dream about sitting in the Mayor's chair, saying "I am the KING of PTC"? You are an over blown, "Hollywood Wantto Be". If you believe that Logsdon, and his crew, did the work you are dreaming. He was getting his part time job check from McMullen for cleaning the bathrooms in the houses they were "fixing up". There are so many places you can find a dead rat with this guy McMullen, you would have to be blind and stupid not to see them. Hey "Open Records" on his spending will shed a lot of light on where he spent the money. Put a little pressure on the Director of Budgets and he will squeal like a little pig. Dar, to bad you are not as good as you think you are. You are a legend in your own mind. GET A LIFE!!!!!

YourGoodPalMike
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What a post!

That was a bit immature. Might want to apologize to Dar for that. Just a thought.

dar thompson
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Really

you saw me in the gym? Must mean you are a member so I have a question, if you think it is overpriced why are you a member?... And your the one talking about city government and spending.

You are pretty direct with your words but fail to post your real name,hiding behind a curtain, just another indicator. FYI...I was already in Hollywood, did quite well...I'm here because I choose to be.

Never said Logsdon and his crew did the work, actually said the opposite...maybe comprehension is not one of your strong suites.

jevank
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Tea PP...Yawn

I quickly tired of you when you went by the name "Titum Gan Eiri Ort."

Do you have any opinions on any other topic in the world other than the city manager?

TeaPartyPete
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MMMM Don't Know What You Are Talking About

Gee, you must be the relative with the DUI he hired. Don't have any idea what name you are talking about, but when the people in the city finally see where the problem is, City Manager, we will be a whole lot better off. Hey Jevank, be careful the City Manager does not sit down to fast, he will break your nose. I know, I bet you are one of the suck ups that run around knowing your job depends on this guy crawling to the finish line. Well his time is up!!!!

TeaPartyPete
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City Manager To Be Held Responsible

Come on Mr. Mayor, when do you finally say, we need to go in a new direction with a new City Manager. This guy, from the time he came on board has done nothing but screw up the city. He came from Fulton County where I believe he was in charge of buildings, the same building where all the people were killed because of the lack of the building being maintain by his department. I understand that every Manager he has ever hired has failed in their job. I was told the first thing he did when he became City Manager was to make sure he got the biggest management bonuse each year by changing how the money was given out. And in fact, he continued to get his bonus each year even while he he was laying off people. I think the Citizen should print the management bonus payments made to the City Manager and his staff for the last 5 years. I think you will also find the Director of Budgets get the second highest bonus. WOW that is nice. Take about raising taxes and give yourself a pile of money in addition to your free retirement payments. These are facts citizens!!!! He has put over $50,000.00 into his little nest age while wanting the city to raise your taxes. Each and every screw up that has happened is directly linked to him or his office.

It is really funny to me that we keep shifting blame to everything but the 1 guy who is responsible. Give him his walking papers and get a real good fiscal manager in there that will trim costs. Gee Mr. Mayor, he walked around the city bad mouthing you when you were running for Mayor against his friend Plunckett. He did the same thing to Brown when his business partner, Logsdon, was running. This guy is a player. Hired a close relative into a city position with a DUI, had his own DUI, covered up more things that a cat in a littler box, and he is still there looking like a deer in the headlights.

Mr. Mayor you promised change, then change the things that really need change. I know you know all these things I have just told you, and maybe Cal and the boys need to get off their soapbox and start to print some facts about this guy. Look at the management bonus to start. Then you might want to look at the credit card cover up that was done that envolves a department head he hired. When you get board with that, start checking into the deals he made for his buddy Colin. You want to know why the city is broke, just dig into this guy and what he has done for 5 years, and you will have your answer.

Need I say more!!!!!

idk_revisited
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Name Names, Pete!

You seem to have all the answers - why don't you clue us in?

Are you an employee of the City? Sure sounds like you've got a lot of inside dirt...

Go ahead - name names - tell us about these coverups and management bonuses....can you point out where they are in the annual budgets?

Really - the public wants to know :)

YourGoodPalMike
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I'll be voting no on any tax hike

No, I won't vote for another SPLOST. Sales tax at seven percent is too high, and the money generated won't be spent wisely. Nope, it doesn't matter what promises are made, the money won't be used for debt reduction. We need to cut taxes, not raise them. Raising taxes isn't healthy for an economy. Lowering taxes spurs economic activity, which raises revenue.

Bonkers
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.

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Bonkers
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Haddix's reason for a SPLOST

100% for debt reduction. We owe nearly $20,000,000 for PTC.
The yearly payments are nearly $3,600,000 on that debt.

He says that the issues of payment for the new police station, library, and tennis Center improvements, and losses on the Kedron complex, make a SPLOST necessary since they were ignored for years as to payment. I suppose the Bank payments for the Tennis Center illegalities are in there somewhere.

Boy, that's a quiet one as to details.

It is the Mayor's opinion that all recreation such as the Kedron thing, the Tennis Center, and the Amphitheater should be paid for by the users, but I have to assume he thinks all other recreation and the hotel tax should be paid by tax payers stay. Is there no property tax for recreation?

Sure wants a new "bubble top" badly. Can't it be patched on permanently until this recession is over, then can it?

Mr. Mayor, you are not going to get a new SPLOST making PTC higher on sales taxes than others, you just ain't.

I think you know that. And I ask you not to use it as a Trojan Horse to cover up what must be done soon!!

Cut the budget to match the income now. You can not keep raising taxes, you won't be able to collect them anytime soon.
I'm not against taxes but commerce needs that money right now to escape from the mess we were left by the last federal administration, here, and in Atlanta, and Washington.

JollyTechnologies
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NO SPLOST

If the mayor or any council member tries to support a new splost two things will happen. One we will buy our goods in other counties that have a lower sales tax, and two we will not vote for any current member of the city council in the next election, and will support a new mayor as well.

Maybe to balance the budget the positions of city council and mayor should be voluntary and have $0 compensation. Remember that our founding fathers were not paid as representatives.

ginga1414
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Here We Go Again

I beg to differ with you Mr. Mayor. "In fact much of the Bypass" has NOT already been built to date. Very little of the Bypass has been built. In fact NONE of the Bypass has been completed. It may be built in the minds of our commissioners but when it comes to FACT, you need to read Ben Nelms current article on the Bypass.

If you think the citizens of Fayette County are going to support another SPLOST, that is a figment of your imagination. If Fayetteville, Brooks, and Tyrone can do without "a new bubble top" over their non-existent swimming pools, Peachtree City can do without "a new bubble top." Be thankful you have a pool. Take care of the essentials and let the rest go. This is extremely petty. "A new bubble top?" People are losing their homes and Peachtree City is complaining about having to buy "a new bubble top" for the pool? Get real Mr. Mayor. Millions of people are out of work and can't find jobs. But Peachtree City needs a new SPLOST to pay for recreation needs?

Okay, folks, that's it! I've had it! It's time to get out your NO SPLOST signs and plaster them on your cars and telephone poles. NO SPLOST, Mr. Mayor. NO SPLOST, Fayette County. Watch out, voters, they will try to sneak one in when we go to the voting booths this time. Be careful. The 2004 Ballot had absolutely no explanation as to what the SPLOST would cover. It read, "Road, Street, and Bridge Purposes." That translated into five years of a 1% Sales Tax. That translated into the West Fayetteville Bypass. When the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition (WFBC) went searching through County records to find out if the 2005 SPLOST included the WFB, we had to contact many county offices/officials and dig through and read many pages of fine print to find the WFB. They will do it to us again, if we aren't careful and if we don't VOTE AGAINST IT.

doright
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We Don't Need a SPLOST

Mayor,

It's time to cut spending and get PTC off the entitlement bottle. It seems you and the council's answer to everything is just tax the people.

Well it's high time the PEOPLE stand up and say NO. One cent or not, this is putting a band-aid on the problem.

FIX the problem Mayor! Cut the spending. You have lost the people's trust because of the reckless ways you spend our money.

dar thompson
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I think

your home value just dropped another 2 percent. I can save you hundreds of dollars per year...just don't change the oil in your car. I wonder what will happen to the engine? It the principle though, isn't it, $29.00 for an oil change is robbery.

Bonkers
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dar

Actually dar oil doesn't wear out just gets dirty.

If you filter it properly it can continue to be used. Most of the $29 for an oil change is for payment of those "experts" who check out your engine, tires, etc., to avoid trouble later! Right!

I suppose what you are saying is that spend for the future?

AtHomeGym
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Motor Oil

will break down after extended use. Best to use premium oil to protect engine for up to 10,000 miles. Use of Synthetic oil can extend change intervals to 15,000 miles. Right about the filter--use highest quality available.

doright
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Bonkers hits the mark

Thanks Bonkers! Dar just doesn't get it.

PS1441
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I've never been in the tennis

I've never been in the tennis center.
Never swam in the pool.
Never been to the FRED.
Never been unlucky enough to be in the PTC police station.

But PTC council wants a new county wide SPLOST from my purchases in Northern Fayette to pay for your predecessors lack of financial acumen?

I'm with doright.