New retail centers should be forced to prove pluses outweigh minuses

Tue, 09/11/2007 - 3:11pm
By: Letters to the ...

Peachtree City is at a crossroads of its existence. What occurs in the next two to four years will define how PTC will turn out in 20 years.

There are many issues out there in the public arena concerning the city: Sewage, crime, taxes, growth, etc. These issues must be laid out, addressed properly and an action plan put in place to enhance our city properly.

With the growth and expansion coming into our city in droves, we are witnessing the downside of these actions. Crime is on an increase, with drug arrests, armed robberies and vandalism starting to occur daily.

Will this criminal element continue to move into our area? Yes, because our higher than normal income levels are attractive targets. Our police are using what is at their disposal to prevent crime, but are we giving them enough resources to do the job? Should the same be said for our rescue services?

Now area developers are taking to the coercion tactic. If you do not give me what I want, then I will build what you do not want. Negotiations that appear in “earnest” really are not happening. “Wordsmithing” is occurring in agreements, and what was said was not what was agreed to.

This activity needs to stop and it is up to us and our city council to stop it.

When litigation is threatened, risk mitigation sometimes points in the direction of “let the chips fall where they may.” Just because it has green grass does not mean pave it and then turn every tree into a telephone pole.

We have large business buildings here in PTC that are vacant. These facilities are eyesores and what is being done about those buildings?

Folks, there are many issues that can be addressed over and over but there is one bottom line:

Peachtree City is YOUR city and you can control its future.

People in the local government work for you. They do not work for anyone else. They are responsible to us as duly elected representatives. That is the beauty of our system — as you vote them in, you can vote them out.

PTC has budgetary concerns right now. Budgets are fragile and can spiral out of control with improper spending. Infusions of funds to not solve many social issues but better administer programs do help the community address concerns systemically. Fiscal management can help keep budgets in line and meet objectives.

Retail will not generate enough revenue to support the tax structure. Retail usually brings more ills with it over time. Big Box scenarios are worse.

The city of Austin, Texas, reviewed the big box concept and found more problems created than problems solved.

If the exemption is granted to Kohl’s, then it will be granted to others. Retailers should be forced to prove that their tax contributions will outweigh their tax and civic liabilities.

What is needed is businesses that create viable employment which provides favorable salaries to people so they can afford to live in PTC. These employers must contribute socially and civically as “good corporate citizens” should.

More effective planning and a long term agenda (not a five-year plan but a 30-year plan) is needed. With that said, where do you want to be?

I moved here last year and it is a wonderful place to live. I have people tell me about how it was 20 years ago and I wish I lived here then. I have lived in sprawl, had more tax hikes than I could count, received lowered civil services and watched good cities decline in just 10 years.

We cannot undo what is done, but we can control our future. That is why I am running for City Council Post 2.

I have heard that “I have only lived here for one year” and that is a concern by some. Being here only one year gives some advantages also, as I have witnessed the other side of what happens with unplanned and unregulated growth, and I also am not predisposed to previous issues. I look at them with an objective eye and bring a fresh solution to the table. I have some ideas that can address some of these issues.

I am going to bring the “voice of the customer” back into the local government. People are saying that the local government is not in tune with the wants of the people. If I am elected, you, the citizen, are my supervisor and I work for you.

In closing, whether or not I win the election on Nov. 6 is not important. What is important is that you get out and vote for your candidate that you believe will give you the city leadership that you desire. Exercise your right to be heard.

Thank you for your time and consideration on Nov. 6.

Doug Sturbaum

candidate, City Council Post 2

Peachtree City, Ga.

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