PTC can’t just tax its way out of budget shortages
As you can see, this has been a very busy year and it is far from over. The city has a lot to do and, to be honest, money along with other issues to resolve.
On the city structure change, contrary to what some have said, it was not a quick decision. A lot of time and effort went into it on many levels by many people.
As was true in the reduction in force of the 23, on last council, there are always are legal personnel issues that do not get revealed to the public. A total reevaluation has been needed for long time and the change in city manager has provided the opportunity to do so. Jim Pennington’s letter gives an excellent overview so I urge you to read that as well.
On the statement that the additional time spent on the 23 last council was valuable, I must disagree. It did not change anything but did create a lot of tension within the city employees.
As far as the budget goes, the economy and home values continue to decline, meaning sales tax income suffers as well. Utility, food, gas and other costs have continued to rise. The county is looking at a tax increase this year, and the Fayette County Board of Education is having financial issues again.
The annual survey showed 86.2 percent said no more tax increases. To maintain current levels of service, the city manager’s proposal shows a .104 millage rate increase in 2012 and a projected 1.0 mill increase for 2013, largely due to the exhausting of our SPLOST funds for road and path repair.
This shows a few things immediately. As stated last year, but disagreed with, only the 2011 budget and millage rate was approved, not a five year budget and millage rate as claimed. As well, the supposed approved .213 millage increases per year for 2012 through 2015 has already been exceeded by the 1.104 for just the next two years.
So we do not have a long-term plan to fix the budget, and the idea we can tax our way out of this remains a non-solution for me.
That means if you look at the 2012 Proposed Budget online for those figures, you are not going to find them. Only the next fiscal year is ever proposed and voted on. All years after are projections, nothing more, and never right.
Before I close and you continue your 4th of July planning, it must be said this is yet another election year. Good, honest candidates are needed more than ever with all that is at stake for the future of Peachtree City. Council Members Learnard and Fleisch and I will be on the next council and who the two new members will be is up to you.
Taxes, services and all things related are going to continue to grow as issues for several years to come. Hard choices are going to have to be made.
As I can tell you it is not always easy. There literally is a struggle for the future of the county and all the cities going on. Who runs is critical.
OK. Enough being serious for now. The 4th is almost upon us and I hope to see you at the parade. Have a great time with friends and family and enjoy the fireworks.
[Don Haddix was elected mayor of Peachtree City in 2009. Previously, he had served two years as a council member. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.]