The state of the city: PTC in 2008

Tue, 01/15/2008 - 5:00pm
By: The Citizen


[Editor’s note: Peachtree City Mayor Harold Logsdon delivered the following State of the City address Jan. 10 at the Peachtree City Rotary Club and Jan. 14 at Peachtree City Kiwanis Club.]

Good afternoon once again. It is truly an honor and a pleasure to present the State of the City, as has been the custom to do this each January. Last year I was here telling you about a successful year in 2006. Well, 2007 was even better.

Tops among our accomplishments was the announcement of the Sany Corp locating in PTC. Phase one will result in their assembly plant with about 200 employees, followed by phases 2 and 3 resulting in a U.S. corporate headquarters and a training and R&D facility. Total employees should reach to about 600. Peachtree City beat out cities such as Houston, Seattle, and Chicago. Quality of life played a part in the Chinese decision to locate here.

The county finally agreed with us and stopped the double taxation for EMS. Your county tax bill should have gone down some this past year. If not, it just didn’t go up as much as it would have.

Clayton State University has begun a satellite campus here in PTC. They have established an MBA program at the former Aberdeen Conference Center and have started undergraduate studies on Commerce Drive. Someone is now available to greet prospective students and to help them with admissions, tuition, and study program information.

With a university here, our high school students that qualify and desire to may take college level classes and obtain dual credit. Potentially, a high school senior could graduate from high school with about 27 college hours to their credit.

U.S. News & World Report named Peachtree City one of the top 10 places in America to retire.

Through our efforts and the emails and phone calls of many citizens, we were able to convince Kroger to remain open at Peachtree Crossings and not to sublet to Goodwill.

Chick-fil-A is now parking their corporate aircraft at Falcon Field. You may ask, “What’s so big about that?” Landing Chick-fil-A is like Coca-Cola locating in your town. Chick-fil-A is a great corporate citizen. Additionally, one corporate jet is equivalent to four houses in property taxes, and there is no expense to the city.

We hosted the overall start for the Tour de Georgia. It went so well that you would have thought we had been doing this for years. The organizing committee did a spectacular job putting this event together.

Touch the World. The Rotary Club and all of its members are to be commended. What a great event! The Dragon Boat races were special and the water temperature in Lake Peachtree is not bad that time of year. I have personal experience to attest to that fact.

I foresee this celebration growing in the future as we put additional focus on our international community, celebrating our diversity and varying cultures. I would hope we would not just focus on diversity, but also on unity. We must work in harmony, recognizing our differences, but focus positively as one community.

The Great Georgia Air Show, sponsored by the Kiwanis and the Commemorative Air Force, was bigger and better this year as we helped the U.S. Air Force celebrate its sixth anniversary.

Our Comprehensive Plan went through an update that has taken about two years. If you attended any of the meetings that were held around the city, then you realize that the updates have provided for enhancements to, but never a deviation from, the Land Use Plan.

Our Recreation Department was named Best in State by the Georgia Parks and Recreation Association. Many of our Recreation Department employees were also recognized by this same organization.

Our cart paths, being a signature item of our city, are constantly being repaired. In fact we have more than doubled the amount of maintenance completed annually over previous years. I can also report that we now have over 8,000 carts registered and traveling over our 90 miles of cart paths.

Communications is always a challenge. To meet this challenge we have begun to issue the UPDATE Newsletter monthly. It is mailed directly to your homes. I hope you find it informative. We also set aside time at each council meeting for public comment, giving citizens the opportunity to talk about anything they wanted that was not on the agenda that night. Credit Cyndi Plunkett for this idea.

We had a Town Hall meeting back in August to talk about the future of PTC as we approach our 50th anniversary. We must begin to focus now on what we want to look like at the end of our second 50 years. I hope to continue the Town Hall Meetings.

Another success in the communications area has been the implementation of PTC 101. This is a class about basic PTC government. Our first class held last fall was, by all accounts, a success. We will have our second class this spring. I encourage each of you to attend one of our classes. It only meets once a week, two hours in the evening for six weeks.

We have had or approved some growth for Peachtree City, but no growth has deviated from the comprehensive plan. We annexed the West Village (now called Wilkesmoor Village). This should add about 3,000 people, bringing our total population to around 39,000. Our plan is to still top out at around 40,000 people.

We approved a commercial development at Wilshire and a senior living facility in that same area. The commercial development on Ga. Highway 54 West continues to be a struggle. Many have expressed what they don’t want at this location, but Council must focus on what is best for PTC. Since that land is zoned commercial and always has been, we must accept the fact that something will be built there. Given that, we must focus on what is the best development for PTC. Despite all of our concern about commercial growth, there are only about commercial 35 acres left in PTC that do not already have a plan on file for development.

Issues that face us in the future are growth around us, redevelopment of our older areas in PTC, transportation, and conservation of our natural resources.

Metro Atlanta will grow by 2.6 million people over the next 20 years. Coweta County is showing signs of explosive growth. It has a land-mass about the size of Gwinnett County and a population similar to Fayette County (100,000 vs. 600,000). Should Coweta County’s growth imitate Gwinnett’s, it will have an impact on us.

We must continually focus on redevelopment. That will be our growth of the future. Redevelopment will help to keep our city vibrant, keep our property values up, and help attract the kind of commercial enterprises that we want.

Transportation is and will continue to be a critical problem. Two years ago I campaigned on the need for the TDK Boulevard Extension. Well, the situation changed with proposed massive development on our border, so I changed my position. Completing TDK is not in the best interest of PTC and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

We are in a drought, and water conservation will be a critical issue until it is over. We must continue to do everything we can to conserve water. However, I hope this will teach us to conserve all our natural resources, not just water.

Some immediate issues that are requiring our attention are HR 900, GRTA authority on DRIs, Point of Sale legislation at the state level, and the growing litter problem locally.

HR 900 proposes to eliminate property taxes and replace it with increased sales taxes and eliminate most, if not all, exemptions for sales taxes, and begin taxing services such as legal fees, doctor services, lawn care, haircuts, etc. More important, it takes away home rule and replaces that authority at the state. We will be working with the state legislature to defeat this legislation because it virtually eliminates local decisions about funding.

In this legislative session, I am also proposing a change to GRTA authority. Basically, what I am asking for is when a DRI has cross-jurisdictional impact, each jurisdiction will have the same ability to accept or override GRTA’s decision.

As we saw with the TDK Boulevard Bridge decision ordering us to complete a project to accommodate growth in another county with no input into the project or the requirements, the current system has some serious flaws.

Point of Sale relates to tracking sales at the point of the sale at the local level. Today tracking is done to some degree at the county level. Tracking at the city level will aid local governments in making sound economic development decisions. Other states that have implemented the program have also seen an increase in sales taxes collected due to the tighter reporting requirements.

Finally, we need each of you to join us placing a focus on elimination of litter in the coming year. We will spend one weekend this spring attempting to clean up the entire city, and I hope you will join us in keeping our city clean and litter free through efforts such as Adopt-a-Mile, Path, Park, Stream, and any other way you can think of the eliminate litter.

Let me close by saying I feel it is a privilege to serve you as mayor. It is my firm belief that life is not about self, but about service, service to others.

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