Officials should encourage input

Steve Brown's picture

I was in attendance for the Jan. 21 Peachtree City Council meeting and was thoroughly pleased. It appears the new group manning the helm is quite capable of piloting our ship.

My main reason for attending was the approval of a new management contract between the city and the Peachtree City Dog Park Association. The contract was approved and 100 percent of the fees collected will go toward operating and maintaining the dog park.

The Tennis Center and dog park agreements might be the model of the future for Peachtree City. The agreements allow for a higher level of service, targets user funding of the venues with no impact on the city’s general fund and they allow us to collect fees in lieu of taxes from out-of-county users. If you want more information go to www.ptcdogpark.com or see the Peachtree City Dog Park Association page on Facebook.com.

The mayor and council showed some real character and refused to opt for the salary increase, postponing the matter indefinitely.

They are paying attention, choosing to put the needs of the community over their own.

The mayor and council also held the line on city staff compensation, recognizing the budget difficulties that lie ahead.

Mayor Don Haddix deserves some public applause for allowing public comment during the meeting on various agenda items. As the one who orchestrates the meeting, the mayor has chosen to take the course of open communication that was overlooked by his predecessor.

It was Mayor Bob Lenox, in his last term in office, who began allowing more comments from the public on all agenda items during council meetings. I continued that process vigorously for the next four years. Unfortunately, public comment and concern was dreadfully disregarded during the Logsdon administration, forcing all public comment to the very beginning of the meeting, timing the poor citizens with a stop watch.

Logsdon got the idea on how to curb citizen public input from the Fayette County Board of Commissioners and the Fayette County Board of Education, both of which employ the same controlling practice.

We used to utilize the term “public servant” to describe those elected or appointed to government office, but not so much anymore. To be a servant, you must be devoted to someone or some people other than yourself.

Our county commissioners and our school board members could really care less what you think, proving it every meeting with their rigid public comment policies. The rule has become when you are afraid of the public, you shut them up — not very democratic.

To all prospective political candidates, please do not seek elected office if you think public meetings are just a mere formality and should be handled in the most expedient way possible. Similarly, rolling your eyes and constantly looking at the clock when someone is speaking is disrespectful and shows you do not give a darn what the citizen is saying.

So thank you, Mayor Haddix, for electing to steer in the direction of openness and communication with your constituents.

At the meeting, I also discovered that former council candidate Beth Pullias was elected as the president of the Peachtree City Civic Association (PTCCA), a group made up of homeowners association leaders, looking out for the interests of our residential population.

If your homeowners association is not involved in the PTCCA, it needs to be. I can give you a bunch of examples where local subdivisions were caught off-guard on development and transportation issues around them, without a united voice to back up their best interest.

Volunteer to represent your subdivision in PTCCA. Email Beth Pullias at bethpull@bellsouth.net and protect the value of your home investment. The time commitment is minimal and the rewards are great.

[Steve Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City. He can be reached at stevebrownptc@ureach.com.]