Haddix: Low Temp & ARC, Part 2

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Here are some more updates on two issues, Low Temp and the TSPLOST.

On Councilwoman Kim Learnard’s letter concerning the Low Temp issue: I debated posting a response because I had hoped we were through discussing this issue. I finally decided some of the errors could not be left standing since they created some false impressions about a number of parties involved.

First, let me say I do not know where the source of the mix of information came from that resulted in the comments. I am making no accusations of any deliberate false statements on anyone’s part.

Indeed there were discussions with the county about the site Low Temp wanted this year that dated back to 1999 or earlier. The first plan approved was by the county in 2001.

In both 2008 and 2009 City Council was approached about an annexation. The numbers on the sewer cost and concessions from WASA were given then.

There were at least four different plans presented. There were agenda items on some of the proposals, the last being in late 2009. But it was for a retail site proposed by the owners, Southern Pines. It had nothing to do with Low Temp. So it was the right site with a lot of right numbers but for the wrong development.

A list of sites was created and looked at for several weeks by Low Temp, but that was in 2010. I was one of the contributors to the list.

There was a list of demands generated and examined during negotiations, again in 2010.

Prior to 2010 Low Temp had approached the county, but it was the Commission Chairman Smith, not FCDA. He wanted retail there, not industry, per Low Temp.

Remember, FCDA did a complete staff turnover after Low Temp made its contact with Peachtree City.

I hope these comments help give a clearer picture. Some of you remember the retail proposals so I am sure trying to date Low Temp back two years was confusing.

Moving on to the TSPLOST, to date, the bulk of the comments I have received strongly oppose the tax and support the return to Three Rivers. Those opposing do so because they want bus and/or rail in Fayette.

From The Citizen, “Fayette Chairman Smith and Fayetteville Mayor Steele argue that leaving ARC would leave Fayette without a voice in regional transportation issues, which is critical since some 60 percent of Fayette residents commute into Atlanta each workday.”

The 60 percent number is of those that are employed. Many in Fayette are not, such as students, retirees, stay at home parents, etc. As well, saying they all go into Atlanta is not true. Many work in Clayton and Fulton in the Airport area. Others work in other counties as well.

If you check out the the traffic numbers from 2000 to 2005, the numbers on Ga. Highway 74 actually decreased each year. They bumped back up in 2008 and 2009, about 2,500 over the 2000 number. But looking at the development associated with Hwy. 74 and I-85 explains a lot of the increase.

The data also shows MARTA connections dropped by about 50 percent from 2000 to 2007 from Fayette. Nationally, transit ridership is also declining.

The Citizen goes on to say, “Smith also said that in a more rural regional commission area, Fayette would be looked upon as a ‘metro’ county by the remaining more rural counties, putting Fayette in a poor position from a regional cooperation standpoint.”

Well, Coweta, in example, is in Three Rivers already. You don’t see them moving to ARC because they are “metro.”

Reported as well, “ARC, meanwhile, has provided Fayette with funding for Livable Centers Initiative projects in Peachtree City and Fayetteville of more than $1 million each, and another $400,000 in funding comes to Fayette Senior Services thanks to ARC, Steele and Smith said in separate interviews Tuesday with The Citizen.”

The LCI is not based on ARC membership. It is based on the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) of 18 counties because federal funding is involved. We cannot leave it any more than Coweta can. We would continue to use the LCI.

“If Fayette County is not a member of the ARC, it will still be subject to dictates for transportation without a voice at the table or a vote in the outcome,” Smith said.

On the issue of the Atlanta Air Quality Non-Attainment Area, being in ARC or not is a moot point. There are 20 counties in our area and ARC only reviews for compliance to Federal Air Quality requirements, just as ARC has to comply. Whether ARC likes the transportation plans of the other 10 counties is irrelevant. Again, Coweta is a member.

If there were such huge advantages to being in ARC, especially with the MPO and Non-Attainment Area issues, ARC would have a 20-county membership. But they don’t, because, as said by one official, they don’t want to be controlled by or become part of Atlanta.

Chairman Smith and Mayor Steel disagree with me on a number of issues, which is their right. I do not support this tax or its goals, especially those for ARC, or the West Bypass, just to give two examples.

This is a seriously long-term issue for Fayette with a lot of consequences involved. Chairman Smith and I will vote on the initial decisions this year and the new chairman and I will vote on the even larger decision next year.

Then in 2012, if it passes the Roundtable in 2011, it will be up to the voters of the region we are in. If in ARC, about 75 percent of the voters reside in Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett out of 10 total counties. Fayette only as about 2.46 percent of the total population.

Any way you look at it, this is not a pretty picture with a lot of good choices. The state is mandating funding transfers to regions and taking away more home rule options. More is being expected from the cities, who have fewer resources every year, by both the state and federal governments.

[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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Haddix vs Leonard - Part 2

From reading most of the comments here, you would think that Mr. Haddix would begin to realize that many people are becoming more frustrated and upset with his leadership (or I should say, lack of leadership) style.

A few weeks ago I posted an interesting book for all to read:

http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9781420068313

It's a great read and I am sorry to see that our mayor does not take the advice and read it.

I have another suggestion for Mr. Haddix....

Why not call Ms. Leonard on the telephone and arrange a meeting to sit down with her....then do the same with each member of council..one at a time....and build some consensus on how to work together. It would take all of 3 to 4 hours in total, 1 to 1 1/2 hours per council member.

Be a leader, show some leadership, act as a facilitator and move this city forward.

Stop trying to be right all the time...you are not going to win..you might think you are but you will win the battle and lose the war...Each time you post this stuff you get more and more responses to stop.

Please try a different approach for everyone's sake.

ginga1414
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Thanks Mr. Mayor

I greatly appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to pass along information concerning the ARC. You are representing the people of Fayette County extremely well.

bladderq
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OK, Thanks

Thanks for trying to do something that would be OK for PTC. I don't see a need for another shopping center in the county on that property. This was just not the right company. No local job creation, big upfront concessions and it's a joke to think factory workers are going to hang around & do hair appts. & eat alot of meals. Couldn't even get a tank of gas. At least it's been on the table & made some points and in the future a supplier for the Chinese will want to locate there.

Spyglass
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Always has to have the last word..

Always....

It's a sign of weakness.

PTC Observer
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Spyglass - totally

agree with this, why the heck doesn't he just let it go?

He should be out courting Kohl's or something.

Get over it already, Mayor.

Chris P. Bacon
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I've noticed that about Mayor Haddix too, spyglass

Let me preface this by saying I am a big supporter of Mayor Haddix, yet I'm increasingly troubled by his hizzoner's seemingly incessant need to have the last word on a topic.

I thought Kim Learned wrote an excellent post-mortem on the Low Temp deal, far better than anything write-up in the Citizen. It was clear and concise, and I learned far more from reading that one letter-to-the-editor than any other article or editorial previously written.

Now comes Mayor Haddix with "more updates" , correcting "errors" and "false impressions". In my mind, Mayor Haddix added virtually nothing of value to the discussion. We instead get some extraneous minutiae and a bit of rehash.

PTCR
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Bacon

The article by Mrs Learnard was an inaccurate and full of lies. Please be careful with Learnard's Koolaid pitcher, I know through a good friend that Learnard had no involvement with Low Temp whatsoever besides the bandwagon public hearing vote, she had no business making any claims or taking any positions re these folks and their company, let alone writing a stupid and damaging article for the community. I am personally offended by such claims because she will never be able to substantiate anything different than what i am telling you. She, as a councilperson who voted yes for the project, never even took the time or effort to meet with these folks once, not once. Her BS article was a self stroke and is pure grandstanding period, why not pile on at the end, the horse is already dead, judgement has been made. Silly and any intelligent citizen can see through it, thanks for the insult, you have the Mayor correcting you, classic, especially because on a blog.

By the way, as much as I am concerned re our Mayor, his facts that were stated in his rebuttal to her article lined up with what i have been told and i will give him that credit....but it still does not excuse him from this complete fiasco and handling of the Low Temp opportunity because he is the Mayor and I hold him ultimately responsible.

Bottom line, our leadership has no clue on what it takes and how to attract and secure industry. Case and point....Low Temp. No free passes to anyone on the Council, you all get an F for FAILURE. Get off your high horses, we need jobs and folks investing in our community, some of us don't get a pay check from the taxpayers and actually have to earn it, start listening please.

NUK_1
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Not a leader

Haddix is about the furthest thing from anything resembling "leadership" and still utterly and completely fails to realize he's one vote on a Council of members in a city surrounded by other cities and that what HE thinks isn't nearly as important as he seems to believe.

This is really an embarrassment and so juvenile and petty. It's like listening to a spoiled brat have a temper tantrum over and over. Between him and Imker(and add Learnard sometimes), the emotional maturity level of this Council has to be the lowest in history. Shut up already and try to not to screw things up any worse. Your childish squabbling in the newspaper make you all look like idiots and leaves everyone else not wondering which of you is "right," but rather "how did we elect these losers and can we survive another 3 years?"

PTCR
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Econ Development

I acutally feel sorry for Low Temp after reading yet another story about the failed deal. Lets remember folks, Low Temp only wanted to find a way to relocate their successful business to our City, period. Companies do not put land under an agreement to purchase without serious intent of relocating. The City and its political animals have done everything possible to demonize this company because they failed to pursue this opportunity with a collabrative, focused, realistic and stretgic approach, period. That is poor leadership and if they do not accept responsibility and recognize the failure, it will be repeated again and again by our officials and the community is the real loser.

Mrs Learnards article was a complete embarrassment to our Community, shame on her and she should resign immediately after making that 80 year payback statment, it will haunt PTC for a long time going forward as every business looking to make their home here will be exposed to it. It sends the wrong message when we need industry more than ever. I think Mrs. Learnard's involvement in the pursuit of Low Temp was a zero even though she states it was the opposite. She didn't even have the facts correct or the order of time correct, a glaring sign of a pure grandstander. Ridiculous and the last thing we need is a leader like her.

What was offered to Low Temp was full tax abatement and a 50% reduction in fees per a letter from the FCDA. Speaking to a member of the Fulton County Development Authority, I was told "tax abatement" is a given for such a project as well as a reduction in fees/costs associated with utlities and infrastructure. Did anyone know that Low Temp actually declined tax abatement from the school portion of the real estate tax? The member i referenced above also actually defended Low Temp re the so called sewer request, "why should a prospective company be the sponsor of a City infrastructure project, especially when it opens multiple pieces of land up for future growth?" Every hear of the old saying...where the sewers go is where the jobs go (looks like Coweta gets it). Almost comical how Learnard and her intelligence duduce the fact the needed sewer improvements may raise rates when it actually over time will lower them as more customers are served.

I'm tired of the bashing and poor leadership.

What other companies are evaluating our City? Do they have land under agreement and are serious?

Who is going to be the leader that shepards these prospects in and how? simply slogans to me are meaningless, the only thing that matters is results.

Get with it, we can't afford to lose another quality company that WANTS to be in our community.

bad_ptc
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PTCR: What a crock!

“I actually feel sorry for Low Temp after reading yet another story about the failed deal.”

Great, then you write the $550,000 check to the city and the deal can come back. Me, I have no interest in seeing my taxes raised, yet again, so a 165 employees living in Clayton County have a new place to commute through.

“Almost comical how Learnard and her intelligence deduce the fact the needed sewer improvements may raise rates when it actually over time will lower them as more customers are served.”

Please show me anywhere in Georgia, since the beginning of time, that water rates have been lowered.

Apparently you missed this article while doing your research, PTC sewer increase to be proposed
Oh, that's right you spoke to a member of the Fulton County Development Authority. That's surely someone we need to be taking advice from. Have you read the news about Fulton County’s water/sewer problems lately?

“why should a prospective company be the sponsor of a City infrastructure project, especially when it opens multiple pieces of land up for future growth?"

What future growth are you referring too?

At every attempt to develop that property the past city councils and the Development Authorities were adamant that the water/sewer NOT be allowed to be within 200 feet of the eastern or southern most property lines as that would force WASA to provide water/sewer to ANY development within that 200 feet.

WASA has made no secret that they would love to expand water/sewer beyond the city limits. The only problem with doing such a thing is it would require the “CURRENT” customers to pay for that expansion through rate increases.
Who was it that had to make up WASA’s revenue declines when we were told to conserve water?

I don’t know about you but I still have a bad taste in my mouth/wallet thanks to Photocircuits dumping God knows what into the ground and then beating a path out of town. Who do you think it was that had to make up WASA’s revenue decline when that happened?

For someone who’s lived here for eight years your knowledge of city history is somewhat lacking.

PTCR
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You bet, I do feel sorry for

You bet, I do feel sorry for Low Temp. Before you believe everything that Mrs Learnard writes, ask the sewers authority when that $550K cost was ESTIMATED (Mayor says 3 yrs ago, i remember my stocks a little higher then too))? What is the true cost today to put the sewer line adjacent to the retail property on red wine, where are the hard bids? I'll also take any bet you want that not all 165 employees live in Clayton County, if they do, they must have one hell of a discrimination attorney. I DO know for a fact that no company will get preferential tax abatement treatment unless a certain amount of new jobs are produced and a certain amount of investment is made in a new building. Oh, I guess Mrs Learnard forgot about the 25 new employees over the initial few years that were committed by Low Temp in the FCDA Letter. The 200 foot reference shows me you that you have been paying attention. My understanding is it is running up the creek on the ballfield side, a city park, perhaps you have been there. The daycare over there looks a little farther than 200 feet. I don't like taxes either and am extremely conservative but I have seen through a couple decades of experience that sewer is the main artery of economic development. The area over near red wine intersection has a lot of dead land areas that seem suitable for new buildings etc. The red wine site has been in locked horns for years re zoning, type use, etc.

This was a real miss for the City in my book, not everyone has jobs and are prosperous. Even a single PTC commuter will buy gas, food, etc in our city. I think our Council blew it and they know it. Please tell us what went wrong and how you have begun to fix the process so it can be successful. Lastly, I just retired, that is why i just started blogging per my daughter's directions and have the time to respond to people like you.

Mike King
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PTCR

Obviously, you are new to this blog, but could it be that you are also new to the city? If so, a few observations of our elected officials are offered:

-Our mayor is quick to fault and cast blame upon others while never admitting to personal shortcomings, in short, he's always right-just ask him.

-You cite poor leadership at city hall, I offer that there is none. I refer to the WWE spectacle between the Mayor and Mr Imker with children present.

-Our elected officials are but pawns for those employed by the city. The mayor seldom has a majority of Council with him on issues with which the 'staff' can be directed leaving the city manager to do as he pleases.

If you're serious about results, it will be a tough three more years.

PTCR
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New to blogging and yes I am

New to blogging and yes I am older. 8 year resident. I am starting to think you are correct re City Hall, thank you for your insight.