‘The chickens have come home to roost, folks’
On Friday, July 1, we held our second Facilities Authority (FA) meeting.
What in the world is that, you ask? Like other authorities, the FA can get better bond rates than the city. So it is a funding mechanism for city projects to be paid over some period of time. Fancy words for getting loans at the best interest rates.
What it is not is a council function or meeting. No council discussion or decisions can be made. That is added because the FA membership is the mayor and four council members.
In 2007 and 2009 I campaigned in part on neglected infrastructure. In 2009 my statement was, “The can is no longer being kicked down the road, it has been kicked off the cliff.”
The chickens have come home to roost, folks. We have tennis courts with sink holes — canyons, not little cracks — and stormwater issues. The Fred Cast House is literally falling apart. It might have to be torn down and rebuilt. There are places in the city where metal is rusted so badly it will require sandblasting to be able to repaint.
Contrary to the reporting about sealing the library, the $100,000 is for a crack in the lower level floor and wall, made worse by finding when built the brick was not anchored to the substructure. Plus hundreds of more things, small to large.
That obviously leads back to the issue of paying for it. In turn that demands prioritization.
For me the top demands are infrastructure and safety. Of course, both of these must be done in the most cost-effective manner possible to deliver the needed service levels.
Second is Public Works. In addition to meeting basic needed services, this is where infrastructure demands will be dealt with in the main.
Recreation and parks are important to Peachtree City. How to pay for them are the questions. Should fees and/or taxes increase to pay for it all?
Should there be service cuts rather than tax increases? Yes, I have been pounding on that question because it is the real and central issue at the heart of all of these budget decisions.
A historical quote fits where we are today so well, “Let them eat cake.” When many people are short of bread (money) should they eat (pay for) cake (with taxes)? Honest question for which 86.2 percent in our 2011 Survey said give them the bread.
This is more than a one-year issue, especially with an already projected 1 mill tax increase for 2013.
Being an election year but having heard of no formal declarations to run, all we have are rumors. I have heard of three thinking about running. Two say eat cake. One goes for bread. One has been heard more than once, over several years, saying if you cannot afford to pay the taxes needed to live in Peachtree City you should move. Really?
There is a lot on the menu this year. How much one can afford to order is one question. Cash or plastic is the other.
[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.]