A Common Sense Proposal To End Our Town’s Revenue Woes
As a concerned citizen who has invested both time and resources into the city that I intend to retire, I submit that the economic weight upon the shoulders of each of the 34,000 residents can, and must be addressed now. Further, knowing that it cannot be resolved singly by dipping into reserves, cutting back on payroll or an increase in property taxes. The effort will require all three.
Prior to addressing the shortfall in revenue, it is paramount that the Council institutes a moratorium on all ‘unnecessary’ spending, including a hiring freeze until the city’s debt is paid. To do otherwise, simply kicks the can down the road revealing the makeup of our Council is no different than those of the past. The logic here is that no matter how much you increase revenue, if spending is ignored the result will be an even larger deficit. Let’s face it, elected officials don’t have the time to reign in all the government employees who will fight an effort such as this with their dying breath.
I would propose an increase in property taxes to a sum that can be extracted from reserves over the next five years while matching that sum (dollar for dollar) with an equal reduction in city payroll. If our city has a twenty million dollar debt as the mayor proclaims, then by reducing the debt by twenty percent over the next five years we will have done something that demonstrates Peachtree City’s exclusivity. Surely, if the city is to survive financially it will require an equal effort of its citizens, its employees, and its governing body.
One might argue that property values may decline over these five years, and they very well may. But, if one would only consider what is to be gained in those same property values in a planned city free of debt that can truly be the real estate ‘island’ that Peachtree City is now. Further, I would contend that if someone other than a city employee would take an honest look at each of our town’s departments, they would find ample venues whereby revenue is wasted. An increase in the number of volunteers to assist or even run many of the recreational programs would be in order, after all aren’t the coaches of little league and girls softball there as volunteers already?
It is not the doing of our current Council that we have a debt nearly equal to the total annual revenue of the city, but it is their duty to not only address the issue, but to solve it. The measure proposed is one of common sense that places the burden of resolution on not just the citizenry, but to our government as well. Should we as citizens shoulder the entire burden, then we have elected officials that neither possess the spine nor the will to do what they were elected to do.