Haddix for PTC Post 1: ‘Don’t need more retail, housing developments’

Tue, 09/04/2007 - 3:58pm
By: The Citizen

Again the issue of sewer tie-ins is a prominent election issue.

In the Aug. 29 issue of The Citizen, both former Mayor Steve Brown (Letters to the Editor, “WASA finances: no need to go to Tyrone”) and Dennis Chase (Columnists, “Some serious questions regarding PTC sewer”) bring out some serious facts and concerns about what appointed Council member Mike Harman brings to the City Council in his thinking and priorities.

Please read these articles, either in print or the online paper, and ask yourself if this is what you want to see on council.

To date my feedback has been positive. I am also being told the writers’ concerns.

One big one, and part of my agenda, is safety and security.

Vandals are coming off of the golf cart paths, there is crime on the cart paths, cart paths are being used in unsafe manners and police patrols through communities are being seen less often.

This cannot be allowed to continue. We need more police. The problems of neighboring counties are on our county borders and are spilling into Fayette in addition to, unfortunately, some residents who are not of high moral character.

Hiring police is an area where fiscal responsibility comes into play. Priorities, issues and economic realities should have been considered before annexing property south of Peachtree City or assuming illegal debts that added significant pressures to an already strained budget. They should also be a consideration in what is facing PTC today.

One of our best apartment complexes, that is used by people moving into the area, has a large number of vacancies. For sale signs are going up and not coming down. There are more and more people who are at their budget limit with more and more heard to be having to move from PTC because they cannot afford to live here anymore.

PTC is not a magic bubble immune to economic realities. It is not a city of rich folk who can pay for anything.

Yes, we have citizens who do have incomes above the norm. But we also have very many who do not have such incomes. They are not less the citizens for it.

Plus it is getting more frequent that those above the norm are losing that income.

PTC cannot survive with only tax income from those with above the norm incomes since there simply are not enough such people. PTC cannot survive strictly on commuter homeowners as the major source of tax revenue.

In 2005 and 2006 “Money” magazine listed PTC as the eighth best place to live in the U.S. In 2007 it fell to 64th. Why?

We live in times of economic downturn. There is too much vacant commercial space and too many homes not selling for the city to be acting like it can just take on such debts without repercussions.

Yet it has been stated, more than once, a council goal is to finish the city and fill every remaining piece of developable land. Why?

We do not need to fill every space with more retail space or more housing. We need to first seek employers who bring in jobs that will result in the employees living here, owning homes here and spending their money here.

We do not need more retail space where the employees cannot afford to live here and end up taking their paychecks home elsewhere.

Then the revenue base for PTC will meaningfully increase, homes will sell and there will come a time we may need more retail space and more housing development.

But even then, developers need to first demonstrate exactly why we need or should want their proposed development.

Not only will having more good paying jobs located within PTC help revenues, it will also go far into alleviating traffic pressures by not adding more long distance commuter traffic to Ga. highways 74 and 54.

We have to face this reality in our fiscal and overall planning strategies. We are not a city where the citizens can pay for anything and everything at any price. PTC is not a bottomless well of resources.

PTC is a great city to live in. But if we don’t protect it with clear vision and planning, we will kill it.

Another sore spot with a number of contacts was communications. They feel the PTC government closed the communications in 2006 and is distant and not interested in public opinion.

It is easy to understand why, as in PTC citizens not wanting rapid development, especially big boxes, are hearing members of council endorsing plans at the same time they are first hearing about the proposals.

Also, getting auto-responder messages to emails, and nothing else, and heavily restricted input times at meetings, [many] say their input is unwanted.

I think we should at least give a try, in this Internet day and age, to a city site forum. A place where citizens can post concerns, see the concerns of others and see responses from council, committees and authorities.

Such a forum gives a place where community ideas, frustrations and resolutions can be shared, developed and taken seriously.

In a related issue that impacts PTC, what is with this coming huge Chinese facility? Where were the proposals, county discussions and citizen input? Just, “You’re getting it”?

PTC is not static. “Close the door behind me” mentality is unrealistic. But the vision PTC had when we moved in, 20 years ago, can and must be preserved. It is what brought many of us here to start with.

If we had wanted to live in a Northside or Riverdale environment, we would have moved there, not here.

I would like to close by extending a thank-you and job well done to the Fayette Animal Clinic. They are setting standards that are an example to the State.

Your support and votes are appreciated.

Don Haddix

Candidate for Peachtree City Council Post 1


Peachtree City, Ga.

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