Mr. Mayor I Respectfully Disagree
To cure Peachtree City’s voracious appetite for additional tax monies, adding yet another tax intended to belay our huge debt is not the answer. Simply adding another SPLOST is only addressing a symptom of what plagues our city while the actual disease of uncontrolled spending is allowed to continue.
To your credit, many of the issues that could have been addressed by previous Councils are now being acted upon, but using your words; “much is yet to be done.” Your determination has led to the privatization of the Tennis Center, and hopefully the same can be done with the Kedron Fieldhouse and perhaps even the Fred. The efforts spearheaded by Doug Sturbaum and Mark Hollums to level the playing field for Peachtree City in attracting economic development has your fingerprints all over it. Accepting responsibility and dispensing credit are traits of your leadership.
In your posting last week you mention a total debt of nearly $20M and an annual payment of $3.5M which leads me to believe that by enacting a SPLOST you wish to address the symptom of spending (debt) while ignoring what it is brought us here. As an example, if as you say, we have expended a million dollars per year needlessly or perhaps erroneously within recreation, why is it that the department head and/or their supervisor are still employed? Please don’t use the adage of “they were following directives of previous Councils because even the weakest of Councils realize the value of a million bucks.
As much as I would like to help you, I will not support a SPLOST to bail out a city staff that bears much of the responsibility for this debt and I seriously doubt the majority of my fellow citizens will either. For the nearly three years of this economic downturn, not one of your six figure staffers have had a reduction in pay. How many of your constituents can claim that. Reality is that many have lost their jobs and have resorted to more drastic measures to make ends meet. How many of Peachtree City’s Department heads have suffered such a fate?
Reality is that we citizens do not exist to support our city staff, we both know the opposite to be true. You have explained over and over that all the cuts have been made before we will see a reduction in services, and you are correct. If, that is, if we continue to meet the current bloated payroll and continue to grant matching 401K contributions and a retirement program that is fiscally more attractive than most private sector retirement plans.
Another reality is that government officials are the most distrusted of Americans and giving your “staff” this influx of money from SPLOST will only serve to assure them that they take precedence over we ordinary citizens. Maybe this is behind the rancor concerning your pay raise, after all, if it was to be fairly compensated that you wished to achieve perhaps you should have sought the city manager’s position since he makes some sixteen times as much annually while you sign his paycheck.
Mr. Mayor, you depart in four or eight years, those on your staff were present when you took office and likely will be in their jobs long after you depart. It matters not to them that the empty buildings along Dividend Drive outnumber those that are filled. It matters not to them that the empty retail spaces continue to grow. What matters to them is the protection that elected officials like yourself provide them for job security with annual performance bonuses for merely doing their jobs.
Your largest expense is payroll, reduce it substantially, and then I’ll consider a bail out.