Mayor: 'Fund development authority'

Don Haddix's picture

As stated in The Citizen, the budget workshops have been challenging.

At the July 8 budget workshop one big question was the millage rate. We are looking at a 1.25 or 0.5 increase. I do not know where everyone stands except for a solid two [votes] for a 0.5 mill increase and one [vote] for 1.25.

I do know the staff proposal has five consecutive years of tax increases and that a council member who opposed any tax increase proposed the 1.25.

I do not like trying to justify a big tax increase by saying the total tax bill is going down. We are not responsible for the school, state or county portions. We cannot say the county will not do a large tax increase next year. We need to justify the increase in the Peachtree City portion.

The second issue is funding our Development Authority.

For some history there was the huge fiasco of the old Development Authority. Those days are gone and are not going to return due to the safety mechanisms now in place.

Under [former Mayor Harold] Logsdon there was consideration of dissolving the authority, which didn’t happen because of the special powers and abilities they possess that government does not. So DAPC was put on the shelf, so to speak.

In 2007 I ran, in part, on the need to get good paying jobs into Peachtree City because the old commuter-based city thinking was unsustainable.

So, in 2008 I took on the task of getting DAPC active, much to the frustration of the council majority. There was an attempt made to remove the DAPC chairman from the county board and replace him with the city manager. That was an attempt to give staff control of DAPC. It failed, as it should.

That was followed up by efforts to shift DAPC responsibilities and powers to staff by adding a community development coordinator position to staff. The position is still there and is working with DAPC effectively but the effort to take control failed because it was illegal for staff to have such authority.

With more successes by DAPC the effort to increase funding in 2009 was answered with what a great job they were doing but no increase in funding. The majority wanted the county to handle development issues and just let DAPC deal with local retail concerns.

The old policy of minimizing DAPC, maximizing staff and letting the Fayette County Development Authority handle development proved to be a failure, not because FCDA does a bad job, but because they are operating within their own budget constraints that simply do not allow them to actively seek out jobs. They can only deal with opportunities that come to them, at which they actually do a good job.

Further, the notion that all development opportunities go to the county and all agencies only deal with the county is simply false. Many opportunities are brought directly to cities, meaning they have to have a development authority in place to handle them.

In the 2009 election, all candidates stated they backed DAPC and we needed jobs here. But now that we are in the budget process, three have embraced the position and approach of the last council, which has already proven a failure.

In the last workshop Councilwoman [Kim] Learnard presented and proposed the Alpharetta model for a community development coordinator, which she obtained from the city manager, but no increased DAPC funding. When challenged it was illegal for a coordinator to manage a development authority, she stated our city attorney said it was legal, so i instructed the city manager to get a legal position from our attorney.

Our attorney rejected the notion that a coordinator could exercise any control over or hold any power of a development authority.

In doing my own research Alpharetta has no development authority [that] one can find via any online search of their city website or general search of the Internet.

Further, in the list of cities with a coordinator, again provided by the city manager, none make the slightest hint of claiming control over an actual development authority or the ability to exercise any of their power. They function as a clearing house pointing requests for commercial retail and office space within the city to property owners and agents.

For industrial, including incentives, etc, most of the cities with a coordinator have a fully independent development authority to which one must go.

As the city attorney agreed, a coordinator can work with DAPC but cannot control DAPC. DAPC needs its own staff member, who can have an arrangement like Nancy Price has, meaning a city employee for the Fred but a tourism employee for Tourism. But she cannot be a city employee filling the role of the tourism director.

Reality here is hiring yet another coordinator is actually hiring another city employee to do city work.

We were elected to change how our government did its job. All candidates last year stated support for DAPC and the need for jobs in Peachtree City. Reverting to the failed policy of the last four years is not change.

Staff and DAPC need to work together, but to do its job DAPC needs its own funding and staff person to see it through. DAPC is looking to use at least $100,000 of the $150,000 proposed for proactively seeking jobs for Peachtree City and redevelopment, not salaries.

For three years there has been no component of the city manager’s proposed Budget for job growth, only tax increases. For the last two years the council majority has had no vision for our future economic development.

A five year plan has been stressed in our budget workshops. There is no economic vision for growth in that plan to date, which makes it an unacceptable plan when only looking to tax increases for new income.

We must have a vision for the future and a way for it to be achieved.

[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.]

GAltant
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valezimm
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Cedarcroft residents want golfcart path reopened!

Please, Reopen the Cedarcroft-Hwy 74 Bridge!

Dear Don Haddix,
Peachtree City Mayor

Last year at a Cedarcroft neighbor’s meeting with the Builder Ravin Homes, safety, vandalism and golf cart traffic issues were discussed. There were complaints from the people that live next to the cart paths, as their homes are built too close to them. The resolution was to close the golf cart paths that bring outside traffic to Wal-Mart through our community and redirect the traffic outside of Cedarcroft.
As residents of Cedarcroft too, we understand and respect the people that live close to the paths. We support them if they want to have the Turnbridge Circle-St Albans Way path closed, but please, do not leave us without the path that connects Cedarcroft to the Highway 74 Bridge nor the one to Wal-Mart!

The main complaints were trash, damaging of property (mainly stepping on grass) and noise. If the vandalism offenses were severe and numerous enough, could the traffic of 500 golf carts a day justify the installation of security cameras? Why not educate our people by enforcing our safety through signs and security cameras? Just as the intersection of Willowbend Rd and Hwy 54, we could have the same cameras. Offenders could get identified by the cameras or prevented by the signs. Some redirection of the traffic might be wise too, if we make them go through Turnbrigde Circle, but without isolating our community completely. We could also think of automated barricades, like those found in many cities in Europe. Those barricades could open at 6.00am in the morning and close the paths at dusk, say 7pm in winter and 9pm in the summer time. At night, people going to Wal-Mart will have to go around our neighborhood, therefore minimizing the risk of night vandalism.

What would be of Peachtree City if we set precedent of closing a path and isolating a community from the golf cart path system? Wouldn’t many other neighborhoods start to ask the same? Instead, we can set precedent by pioneering with clever, simple and common sense solutions like the ones mentioned above.

We believe we belong to an open golf cart community, and the path that connects Cedarcroft to the Hwy 74 Bridge benefits most of the residents. Many of the residents use it many times a day to go to school, work and more. We too, when we go to school, Target, the pools, visit friends, cross many neighborhoods and pass close to lots of homes. We believe the benefit of reopening is superior to the inconvenience of traffic. The loop we have to do now is totally annoying and makes no sense. Just wait until school starts next week! We believe the path that connects Cedarcroft with the Hwy74 Bridge path, which was still to be developed, can be reopen and done wisely, by providing more space and privacy to the future homes to be built. As residents of Cedarcroft, we see no inconvenience in having the main traffic being redirected through the main street, Turnbridge Circle. Please, reopen the Cedarcroft-74 Hwy Bridge cart path now!

Thank you so much,

Valeria Zimmermann & Javier Solanet
290 Turnbridge Circle, PTC
Cedarcroft Residents

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Cedarcroft

Having worked with Cedarcroft residents for going on two years now, being a Councilman sitting the hearing on the request by Ravin Homes and lot of residents wanting all the interior paths ripped out and having attended this meeting, I am very familiar with all that was said and all that has happened.

The path to Walmart is very much still open and will remain so.

The two unpaved paths were put in illegally by neither PTC nor Ravin Homes. They have been allowed to remain open until Phase 3 development, which has now started so the illegal paths are closed permanently.

I signed off the approved Plat a few weeks ago. There are no connectors in Phase 3 and no interior paths due to the strength and numbers of those complaining.

The numbers of safety and other problems were extensive.

Bottom line here is there is a connection to Walmart in long existence and there is access via the driveways for 74, nothing uncommon as many other communities in PTC can tell you, including my own. As well with a signed Plat designed by Ravin Homes any changes now would require Ravin to bring change requests to the City for approval, otherwise the Plat is in control. We cannot force any changes on Ravin. Even more we are proceeding on completing the McDuff connection to the tunnel to the RAM property, so the outside traffic pouring through Cedarcroft will be redirected down McDuff.

What Ravin Homes may or may not have said I do not know. But I do know with an approved Plat in place Ravin Homes is who you need to talk to, but, you have a lot of homes that will disagree with what you want.

inkslinger
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Valeria & Javier..

I'm confused by your post.

You live in Cedarcroft and you want that gravel pothole path open in/out of Cedarcroft? Who closed it? Wouldn't that be Ravin that did that?

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