Logsdon wants veto option for transportation projects

Thu, 01/03/2008 - 4:06pm
By: John Munford

Peachtree City Mayor Harold Logsdon is hoping to convince legislators that cities shouldn’t be forced to enact transportation improvements to benefit developments in neighboring jurisdictions, which was attempted with the now-abandoned extension of TDK Boulevard into Coweta County.

Instead, Logsdon said last week, he wants a scenario where the city has power to reject those transportation improvements. That would at least lead to a potential compromise as it would force local officials on both sides to come to the table, he added.

A perfect example is the TDK situation earlier this year, Logsdon said. Although the proposed 3,500-home McIntosh Village subdivision would be in Coweta County, Peachtree City would pay the price traffic-wise with most, if not all, residents from that development using Ga. Highway 74 for commuting into Atlanta.

The city’s ire was sparked when the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority required it to not only build the TDK Extension but to make the road a four-lane artery. That final requirement was included in GRTA’s requirements for Coweta’s McIntosh Village.

That was before the City Council halted the TDK Extension and the Fayette County Commission released the funds for the project.

Technically, GRTA can withhold state and federal transportation funding from Peachtree City for not building the TDK Extension. But that penalty can’t be enforced until the final unit is built in McIntosh Village, and it’s not even a sure thing that it would even be enforced. GRTA officials have previously said they’ve never enforced that restriction on a municipality.

While the city lost a lawsuit challenging GRTA’s authority, the road was still axed, and Logsdon said he feels pretty sure the city will never revive the project.

Logsdon said after the court hearing in which the city lost, “That’s a neat order you’ve got there but you can’t make me build the street.”

Logsdon wants the legislature to give cities more power to oppose large-scale developments in neighboring jurisdictions.

If the city had the power to say “no,” to the transportation projects, it would encourage a spirit of compromise between the parties, Logsdon said.

“Like maybe we could cut the density in half, just as an example,” Logsdon said.

Logsdon said he has met with GRTA officials and while they agree there’s a problem with the current approval process, they couldn’t support his proposed solution.

Logsdon said the city still needs to consider improving its east-west corridors even if the TDK Extension is never used, because Ga. Highway 54 is already starting to feel the effects of increased traffic.

He also noted that population growth will continue due to births in the region outpacing deaths by about 37 percent.

Another of Logsdon’s top priorities this year is convincing the legislature to adopt a point-of-sale sales tax collection system. Some have guessed that Georgia is only collecting 75-80 percent of the sales taxes that it is due, in large part because of inaccurate accounting used by businesses.

If a point-of-sale system is adopted, it could increase tax revenues without an actual tax increase, Logsdon said.

And if the city were to increase its sales tax revenue by 25 percent, that would be an additional $2 million a year for the city, the mayor added.

Also, such a computerized point-of-sale system would allow the city to accurately judge the economic impact of events such as Tour de Georgia and track trends in sales tax collections, Logsdon said.

Logsdon said he hopes the legislature will consider the changes as part of the larger proposals for tax reform this year.

Logsdon said he does not support a bill that would take property taxing power away from local school boards, replacing the revenue with state sales tax revenues.

Such a plan could endanger funding for the local school system, which is necessary to the city’s success, Logsdon said.

Another upcoming issue for the city to watch will be the development of the large Fischer’s Crossing shopping center just over the county line in Coweta on Ga. Highway 34. Stormwater runoff from that site will enter Line Creek and then the Lake McIntosh drinking water reservoir that’s under construction along the creek.

“We need to keep an eye on that,” Logsdon said. “It could be disastrous.”

Logsdon is also hoping to convince city residents to address the litter problem, particularly on the cart path system and also on collector roads.

The mayor is also hoping to devise a plan to provide sewer service for businesses on Huddleston Road and also for some of the city’s oldest residences in the Hippocket Road area. Currently developments and homes in both areas are served by septic tanks.

The Huddleston plan could be easier because those businesses are already having to pay money to have their septic tanks pumped out, Logsdon said.

But the Hippocket sewerage faces a tougher challenge because it will be relatively costly. Logsdon said one possibility is implementation of a tax allocation district, which would use tax revenues from the property value increases to pay off bonds floated to fund the sewer improvements. Logsdon said he still needed to study the issue further.

Council will also have to make a decision on whether or not to proceed with a “Gateway” bridge spanning Ga. Highway 54 West near the county line. The bridge would likely connect a parcel near the entrance to Wynnmeade subdivision, which is owned by the city, to the Shoppes at Village Piazza, a shopping center being built on the south side of the highway.

As for 2007, Logsdon cited some of the city’s accomplishments:

• Landing a major manufacturing facility in Sany Corp. of China, which will produce concrete pumper trucks;

• Resolving the double-taxation issue with the Fayette County Board of Commissioners which is no longer charging EMS taxes to city residents;

• Being named one of the top 10 places in America to retire;

• Being named the top recreation department in the state and hosting events like the Great Georgia Airshow and Tour de Georgia.

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Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Mon, 01/07/2008 - 7:51pm.

We know he doesn't understand how government works, so will someone please explain it to him.

Vote Republican

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