Resident has alternative budget cuts for PTC

Tue, 02/03/2009 - 4:38pm
By: John Munford

A Peachtree City woman has taken it upon herself to fight for the jobs of 23 landscaping and mowing employees who are facing layoffs and replacement by private contractors.

Jeanie Etheridge, who lives in the Treillage subdivision in Braelinn Village, will make a presentation to the City Council Thursday night to recommend other cuts in the city’s budget.

Among her proposals is adopting a 10 percent pay cut for all employees with a payback plan spread out over two or three years; eliminating the city’s fireworks display for a year or two; and killing the city council pay increase planned for Jan. 1, 2010.

That pay raise would double the council members’ salaries from $6,000 to $12,000 a year and the mayor’s salary from $9,000 to $18,000 a year. It was approved in August 2007.

Mayor Harold Logsdon said at a recent meeting that a pay cut would be considered for him also.

Etheridge also concurs with a city recommendation to eliminate cost of living raises for the upcoming year.

The city is facing a $3.5 million shortfall in its 2009-2010 budget, and elimination of the 23 positions would save the city an estimated $840,000, McMullen has said.

McMullen also has admitted candidly these employees do more than landscaping and mowing, so other responsibilities will have to be performed by others ... and some projects such as interior repainting may go undone until the city has money to hire a private contractor, for example.

The employees would be replaced by a contractor that would handle the landscaping and mowing duties of city recreation areas and rights-of-way.

Etheridge said she chose to get involved to make a difference, and because the city’s “Plan to Stay” motto is “for everyone else, not the employees.”

“Peachtree City is a great place and if we as citizens don’t start to pay attention, Peachtree City will be just like the last place that all the people with money and pilots left behind: College Park and Riverdale,” Etheridge said.

Etheridge is urging her fellow residents to get involved and participate, particularly in budget discussions.

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Submitted by jeep2 on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 10:30pm.

how some posters are calling for our city employees take a 10% cut in pay and be okay with it (at the offer of a "payback"). How many of us sitting here at our computers would go into our jobs tomorrow and VOLUNTEER or GLADLY ACCEPT a reduction in pay? I bet the answer will be a resounding NO WAY. It is absolutely ridiculous to demand,expect or even ask this of our city employees. I bet if it were your pocket that the "savings" would be coming out of the opinion would be different.
Its time to get with it and realize that we need a tax increase (as projected at $200 per year per home). I've lived here 20 years and will gladly pay an extra $200 per year to maintain the amenities,greenspace upkeep and the services that we have in this town. We need to look at the big picture and our city's future instead of being shortsighted. Being shortsighted and worried about the minimal increase that the tax hike will have on your wallets will leave PTC looking pretty crummy and undesirable down the road. Whats your choice?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 8:53pm.

I just want to take the debate off the table where I am on a couple of issues.

I oppose cutting the fireworks. Yes, cost money, but some things transcend money.

I oppose any base salary pay cuts on anyone. I did research and do not see salaries out of line with averages.
Fact is as you cut salaries you will loose your best people to elsewhere that pay more. We already have jobs that are hard to fill because there is better pay elsewhere for the requirement levels we have.

Further, cutting salaries reduces disposable income which means employees on the financial edge get pushed over the edge and/or have reduced spending that results in less sales tax income which brings us right back to the table again to find more budget cuts.

As for Council pay, Fayetteville pays $9,600.00 and $13,200.00 and has for a number of years. County pays $24,552.00 and $30,867.00. Just numbers for comparison. PTC is 2.5 times as large as Fayetteville and has more responsibility.

We pay taxes and get no benefits, plus we have out of pocket expenses we do not get reimbursed for.

Pay too high and you get career, not community, people. Pay too low and you seal out those who would be good but cannot afford to do the job. Both extremes are bad.

People who run to get money from special interests don't care about the size of the paycheck. In fact, the lower it is the less competition they get.

I oppose any more cuts to fire and safety. I would like to actually add a couple of more ATVs for path patrols.

I leave these comments for you to discuss, debate, agree or disagree with. My only purpose was disclosure.

Barring something amazing, it is looking like a combination of cuts and tax increase. We have cut a lot with some other significant cuts coming. But when the fat is gone that leaves meat or tax increases.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Dondol on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 11:52am.

and I'll say it again. If you feel that strongly about the good that the fireworks do then take that money and do something for the citizen's of PTC and not the citizen's of all of the surrounding counties. Dump the fireworks and have a 50th anniversary party for the citizen's of PTC only. Spend the money on the PTC taxpayer, not all of the freeloaders that show up here every 4th of July and trash our city.

Now just why in the Hell do I have to press 1 for English?

Submitted by Spyglass on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 8:41am.

Some things transcend money. One of your better comments. We can't just sit and gut everything PTC stands for. Find a way to work it out. Combination of raised taxes, fees, across the board cutbacks etc.

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 12:42am.

They are a needless expense. Everyone in our county and the counties around us come here to freeload off of the PTC taxpayer. It isn't worth raising my taxes for. Either the county or private buisnesses need to come up with the jack for them or stop having them. Tough times call for tough measures. Cut the assistant city managers job also, or put him on a tractor with a mower if you let the 23 landscape people go. I would love to see bernie and his flunkie do some work.

There is no free lunch in life.

Submitted by PTCFlicChick on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 10:23pm.

I simply cannot believe that you would feel comfortable saying cut jobs but keep the fireworks...a this point in our state of mind and economy, I don't think there is a reasonable PTC citizen that would rather see a firework show than a family have food on thier table...perhaps a drastic comparison, perhaps get the point. It is just obsurd.

Secondly, my sincere hope is that the group of individuals who chose to take city council seats do so, NOT FOR THE MONEY, but for the best interest in thier community and the city they are supposed to look out for. It is my understanding that this is not a true full time paid career although yes, perhaps in times of crisis and strife you are required to put in more time and efforts. Bottom line...chances are you all can go home at the end of the day and pay your bills and support your family without an extra 6 grand...can the families who are going to suffer upon losing thier jobs?

It is completely understandable that there is truly no perfect can never please an entire community or city made of of 37,000 can however lead by example and to be frank I don't see that happening from this council nearly as often as it should.

Taxes haven't been raised in 7 years!!! Do you think this downfall could have been prevented????? The PTC millage rate is below many cities of comparable size, and there are more amenities around the city (parks, paths, aquatic centers, fireworks, etc....) than those cities. Is is really unrealistic for PTC citizens to expect or be willing to pay a higher millage for those?

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 5:20am.

You are confusing!

No fireworks, no layoffs, but raise the taxes?????

Who is going to pay what taxes we now pay? Jobs are going fast.

I will go along with more taxes only on those making over $70,000 per year, OK. They pay a straight 25%, no deductions. Rest of us 15%.

As to houses: over 250,000 2% in home tax; under 250,000, 1%.

1 car, 0%; 2 cars, 1%; 3 cars, 5%, humongous cars 10%.

10% extra on groceries except for the following:
flour, beans, milk, corn meal, bologna, cheap cut pork, salt, coffee, eggs, sugar (up to 2 pounds), canned vegetables, Treet, Spam, and cooking utensils.

Submitted by blazing2006 on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 8:56am.

You claim you have done research. Well here is an FYI.....Your research is flawed and based on "good times". We are not in "good times" right now if you have not noticed. There are in fact alot of people looking for work right now who would love a shot at any job. Have you noticed? The AJC had an article in the sunday paper that stated that we could fill Turner Field 8 times with the number of people out of work in the state of Georgia alone. These include people of all professions and skills. Right now, it is time for the council and the mayor to get a grip on reality instead of living in the mentality of even just a few years ago. Let me be frank. Fireworks should be cut period. A 10% cut of all employees should be supported. No raises for next year. I agree with you on one point. No cutting fire and safety. That would be irresponsible and that could cost lives in the end. You and the rest of the council have some tough decisions ahead of you. I would suggest that you get in a mental mindset of today and stop trying to make comparisons that are based on yesterdays times. I urge you to rethink and rethink again some of your ideas from above.

Submitted by shafted2 on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 12:20am.

Where do I begin???? You are such a joke! "I oppose cutting the fireworks", are you serious??? We are all in such a financial crunch right now and you are opposed to cutting fireworks vs. destroying the lives of the city employees and their families affected by your decision to "lay them off". I am shocked!!! Next, you oppose the 10% paycut because it is in line with the averages...WHO CARES ABOUT THE AVERAGES??!!?? Look at your city's budget crisis!!! Now you are worried about the averages??? You don't have to worry about ANYBODY going ANYWHERE because NOWHERE is hiring because our economy SUCKS right now!!!! Go ahead and approve the pay cut, they're not going anywhere, there's no where to go. That brings me to my next point that if you let all of these guys go, where are they going to work??? McDonalds??? Please! Give me a break! We all have families to take care of, have a heart! You say you have jobs now that are hard to fill because the pay is better elsewhere, I didn't know the city was hiring....I thought we were making cuts here, not suffering because we can't find people to fill open positions. Next, who cares about thr comparison with other city council pay??? You work for the city of peachtree city which happens to be in a financial MESS right now, so if you want to make that kind of money, why don't you go work for one of the citys in your comparison???? We are looking for ways to cut here right? Not looking for ways to increase your salary, thanks! Now, with you "disposable income" comment, who has disposable income these days??? I think we are all pinching pennies right now, there is no "disposable income". We have already done the math on the 10% pay cut and its not that bad....I think people could probably adjust their grocery bill that much, among other things...why don't all of you just admit that you all created this mess by spending money like there was no tomorrow....that is how we got into this mess. You have not thought about this decision, otherwise there would have been other options on the table. You all went in to that meeting last month ready to let these guys go, but with the feedback you got from the public, it just didn't go over so well or as quickly as you would have liked. Lots of cities are in the news right now, they are exploring many options, why are you not doing the same? You are opposed to making necessary cuts, but are all for making unnecessary cuts. You don't make a whole lot of sense! And for all of you employees that think it is so horrible to take a 10% paycut, just realize that if they cut 23 employees, that's only $840,000.00. They are $3.5 million in the you actually think you're out of the water because you weren't the first 23 to go??? You might be next! If not cut completely, you will be affected in SOME way. You don't want to take the pay cut now, but if your job was on the line - you would be hoping for just a 10% pay cut. Think about it people! We need a new council, a new mayor, and a new city manager if you can't do any better than this...Get it right the right way!

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 7:07am.

You bring up some excellent points and suggestions. But here... Let me give you something else to think about:

We need a new council, a new mayor, and a new city manager if you can't do any better than this...

Donnie Haddix is your next mayor. Can you say Mayor Haddix?

Submitted by shafted2 on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 12:42pm.

No I can't say that, like I said we need new people there....he shouldn't be the mayor in my opinion, but hey if the people of the city want to continue in this way - go for it. Its only going to get worse!!! Cute comment though Eye-wink

Submitted by Doug on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:30pm.

It was shocking to see you say you'd rather buy some ATVs and let go your employees. Do you really think it's a smart idea to buy more ATVs in this economy?

It's also shocking to see you justifying your pay increase during this really bad economy. You asked your employees to consider a 25% pay cut and you give yourself a huge raise?

I was told you and the other council people gave the city manager and the department chiefs a bonus the last two years.

What do you mean when you say you pay taxes and get no benefits? Are you saying you deserve benefits for your part time job? That's insulting to me to watch you fire people and promote yourself. Couldn't you wait until the economy is back on track before you give yourself a raise? It looks really bad, sorry it does.

And before you compare your status with Fayetteville, I'd ask you to first explain how the Fayetteville people also manage to come out so much better than Peachtree City? It looks like they do deserve a lot more than you.

I am really taken aback by your cocky attitude.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 10:34am.

I didn't ask employees to give a 25% pay cut. I didn't support the idea of even asking them via a survey. I don't support base pay cuts.

The City Manager proposed it and three Council Members told him to go ahead with it. No vote was taken. They knew it would be soundly rejected.

Fayetteville has no Rec Dept, to begin with. They use County facilities. We spend over $5 million. They have no cart path system. They have a County Fire station within Fayetteville, in addition to their facilities, and County EMS services.

Bottom line is they use a lot of County services where we have independent services. So of course they get off cheaper.

They have been doing a lot of building, so they are collecting one time fees, like we use to that made our budget plump. Our finance director noted that, due to reaching build out, in last year's budget summary, the loss of such fees was a big reason for a decline in city income.

Finally, they are being hurt by the retail problems even more than we are.

There crime problems are worse than ours.

As for ATV's, there is a constant call for more police on the paths. The problems there justify more and people want more.

No, Council didn't give big bonuses to the City Manager. The Mayor controls the job performance evaluation and bonus. The City Manager oversees the Department Heads.

Also, other employees have gotten raises to date and will continue to do so until the end of fiscal year 2009, ending September 31. We are talking 2010, where beginning October 1 those changes go into effect for that date and future, not retroactive to past changes.

Never asked for benefits. Just pointing out many assume we get them but we do not.

In addition, many do not understand how pay increases work for Council. A sitting Council cannot vote itself a pay raise. So, in example, what the pay is on January 1, 2010 is locked for 4 years. It cannot increase any amount until January 1, 2014.

That is why even though the raise was given in 2007, it could not begin until 2010.

Not being cocky, just realistic. And trying to be upfront and get rid of misconceptions, as your post indicates there obviously are.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 9:48pm.

Mr. Haddix are you aware that there are employees that just received their raises ant it amounted to $.19 per hour. That is a raise on a full time employee of $395.20 for a year! I think that they would be willing to give up that pitiful amount to keep their jobs. THERE - I just found you $120,330.40 out of the $840,000 that you need to cut. ( that accounts for the 263 full time employees and the 83 part time employees listed in the budget) Let's see, that leaves me with $719,665.60 left to find. Take another $33,000 for the increase in Council/Mayor salaries, $60,000 for fireworks, $40,000 for not allowing any take home city vehicles to any employee not subject to recall during off hours (only an estimate - because we know that the vehicles can only be in service for a specified # of miles for fire and police so they can be in service use longer, no cost of living increase $700,000 (numbers from you)that leaves us with what... $113,334.40 MORE than the $840,000 you want to save from outsourcing these jobs. We can save even more money by decreasing the number of engineers. My understanding is there are 4. And while we are on the subject - why do we need an assistant city manager. PTC is 23.3 square miles, and if a the city manager we have needs an assistant maybe we need a new city manager because he is not working hard enough! Newnan (yes I have spoken with their city manager) does not have an assistant city manager. That is one man that can run a city. There is NO FLUFF in his budget. That is a direct quote. Did I mention that they are in the BLACK! They have had to lay off no one, and they have deleted one empty position, but they have added 1 full time and 1 part time position. Lets try something new here in PTC... a balanced budget, with more incoming and less out going. What a concept! Start at the top. Lets hold the Mayor, City Council and the Bernie accountable for what is happening on their watch!

Submitted by intheknow on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 11:35am.

I find it sadly humorous that in your effort to help keep the "23" employed, your more than willing to sacrifice several other positions (other peoples jobs), from other departments. This made by your your statement regarding eliminate the Assistant City Managers position, as well as positions in the Building Department. Isn't that kind of selfish on your part to "offer up" someone else's job, but don't touch mine, or my friends or relatives position. Personally, I don't want anyone to lose their jobs. I happen to know several of the people effected by this, and would prefer the city raise the millage rate to maintain what we have (something that's long overdue) . These people contribute greatly to the way the city looks, and I'm confidant that loosing these people, will only erode the appearance of the city. I also know that several of the effected people do more than just "landscape", and believe again, that eliminating these positions will only cost the city in the long run. On the flip side of all of this, one would only have to review past city documents like the FY2009 Budget document, to see that elimination of these positions has been planned for a while. Elimination of these positions isn't something new that just "popped up", but was already something planned to occur with attrition, and was already set in motion once the city had gone to contracting portions of this work out over the last couple years. I might also point out that for years, the employees of the city have been commended for doing more with less, as we've always been told by past councils that Peachtree CIty has fewer employees, than any similar sized city in Georgia. This even with a what I would think is a substantially larger number of personnel in Recreation / Leisure Services (what other city has the facilitates we do here?). This is the opinion of an employee, and a city resident (PTC taxpayer).

Submitted by nusport on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 11:38am.

As Peachtree City reaches build out some things will be unavoidable. If the city does not embrace some changes that may be viewed as "against" city values taxes must rise or services must be cut. Currently services are getting cheaper and home values are dropping so there will be no net gain, if government is up front and reduces assessments. But, as everyone knows, government is calling for a tax increase (millage hike).

The city must stop rezoning the industrial park for short term gain and must seriously reconsider the O/I zoned building height requirements. The city's height requirement will only allow for manufacturing facilities, an all but dead part of the American economy, or head quarters for small businesses that do not employ very many people, it is much cheaper to build up than out. I do not propose 20 stories but the height restrictions must be loosened to allow for the creation of white collar jobs not tied to manufacturing.

Sewer must be run through all of the industrial park, there is no sewer service on Huddleston Road and this is slowing the re-development of this part of the park. The septic systems on these properties are failing and posing health risks and the city needs to hire a professional grant writer to apply for state funding to get this done.

The easiest short term answer to the issues the city is facing is to raise taxes, this is probably a necessary evil, but government should go through the same cyclical job losses/pay decreases that the majority of employers and employees are experiencing in this downturn.

Peachtree City is a great place to live, the services and recreation facilities that we enjoy are largely responsible for my families move here 4 years ago, and amenities should not be cut or reduced because that is precisely why families move here. Fees for usage, football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and swimming clubs/leagues should all be raised to support all of the facilities. I have two sons, 3 and 6, that will take advantage of many of the recreation facilities this city has to offer in the near future, so I am not proposing increased costs that will not affect me as well.

Once Peachtree City reaches build out, with no real white collar job presence close by to spend money at retail shops and restaurants, the city will be forced to raise taxes or reduce services. What else can the government do?

Peachtree City is protecting itself right out of existence.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 1:01pm.

The County controls reassessing property values. There is resistance, both State and County level, to reassessing values.

I know it hurts tax income to reassess. But reality is reality. It needs done.

I agree and oppose rezoning Industrial or OI to retail or housing. I will be voting against the Pathways project. That land needs to be Industrial or OI.

You are right. Some do see one time fees as good and positive. A disastrous long term thinking.

On height restrictions, I agree down in the Industrial Park greater heights are acceptable and are going to be needed. The problem is we have to buy new, very expensive, fire trucks to allow them.

Huddleston has and is being pursued by DAPC, for a couple of years now, for sewer and other infrastructure. We don't qualify for grant money and the owners are resistant to change.

I also have added pursuit of WiMax. That is a real plus for business and ultimately residents.

I don't see how we can avoid rasing taxes. Should have been happening around .25 mil for 3 or 4 years now to avoid the even larger needed hit we now face. Along with adapting to the idea we are no longer a commuter magnet. Demographics, logistics and economics has changed that reality.

We have lived here 22 years. The main driving for then, and now, is safety, neighborhoods and schools. Followed by cart paths then Rec once those basic wants are met. So Rec is important, but not THE driving reason.

Side note, cart paths are not Rec, as some think they are. They are transportation that also gets used as Rec, thus under Public Works, not Rec.

Finally, I recognized being commuter based was not what people want anymore, as shown in the stats for the last 9 years of PTC and Fayette growth, but live where you work. That is why I began working with DAPC to get educational, medical, research, tech, professional and similar jobs here. So I agree with your white collar statements.

Building more retail will just bury us. We have to get the jobs here so people will live, work and shop here.

So, we are not protecting ourselves out of existence, just too many people in the decision making positions have the wrong goals and visions for PTC.

There is nothing wrong with the PTC Vision of old. It made us the beacon that drew people here. The problem is in trying to preserve and maintain it with the thinking of old. We can change the thinking of how to drive the engine powering PTC without changing the Vision of what PTC is as a community.

If we take on all that Riverdale or the Northside has we become Riverdale or the Northside. Sure, PTC may then succeed financially, but it would no longer be the unique PTC we were known for. It would become what many of us moved here to escape.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by nusport on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 10:52am.

Mr. Haddix,
I am not advocating one time fees and appreciate your patronizing of a statement you did not understand. I advocate the increase in fees for clubs/leagues. The fieldhouse, which had its hours cut even though the general public only gets about 6 hours of usage per week, is almost exclusively utilized by league play all winter long. Please go by Kedron Fieldhouse and look at the schedule posted on the wall. The “free times” that appear on the schedule are actually allocated for practice times for the league participants. Team fees should be increased for these leagues to raise revenue for all rec. facilities within Peachtree City. The same should apply for other leagues; soccer, football, baseball, and swim teams. When usage is at its highest users should pay more, simple economic theory, scarcity of resources.

It is refreshing to hear you advocate the easing of the height restrictions in the industrial park. Take the impact fees collected and utilize them to pay for the new fire trucks and associated costs.

How do you know that we don’t qualify for grant money? I think there are some very qualified people on the DAPC and some have even worked with grant writers, they might tell you, if you bothered to ask, that we can get money. Grant money is not all based on affluence. If a professional is utilized to write the grant requests, instead of an unqualified city employee, and utilizes their contacts within the state I believe Peachtree City can get some money.

We agree on taxes, almost impossible to avoid.

Doesn’t really matter where cart path money comes from does it? Just a bunch of buckets being fed from one large one.

At the national level Democrats always use the “they will eliminate Social Security” to scare the elderly and Peachtree City elected officials do the same thing, only you say “we will look like Riverdale and the north side” to scare all residents. Peachtree City is almost completely built out and if you look along the major traffic corridors within the city you will see that it is almost impossible for us to become Riverdale. Except that redevelopment will not occur because properties already have the maximum size businesses on their plot of land and some of the retail locations in the city are beginning to look like Hwy 54 in Clayton and Fulton Counties. Why would a developer tear down a current building and replace with the exact same size building? Furthermore, the new set back law may even reduce the size of the building that can be built in its place.

I believe I saw a news piece on WSB about two weeks ago that said that Riverdale is actually running a surplus this year. Maybe Peachtree City politicians should stop looking down their noses and see what Riverdale is doing right.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 12:14pm.

Please reread my post. I said Rec fees need to go up as needed. One time fees are development fees, nothing to do with Rec.

And reread on DAPC. Been worked on and we do not qualify for grants. PTC is 'too well heeled,' to quote those who give the grants. I have worked closely with DAPC and they with me. Ask them what they think of me and if I listen to them or not.

Yes, it matters where path money comes from. A lot of money for paths comes from SPLOST, not the PTC property tax pot. It is dedicated money that cannot be used for anything else.

Cannot become like Riverdale or Northside because of build out? False. There is redevelopment, where some on Council want to increase density, size, height and change zoning, even in residential areas. Buy and merge adjoining lots to give even higher density. There are some who want to annex more property on 54 and 74, zone it GC and build more retail.

Why would a developer want to tear down and rebuilt the same? They wouldn't. That is into redevelopment and what I said some want.

So yes, we can become like Riverdale and Northside if such thinking prevails. Pack in more via redevelopment and get larger and larger via annexation filled with retail.

Good point on the new Transition Yard. I pushed for that one beginning last year to stop more and more building right up against roads and on top of adjoining homes. More things that move toward being Northside and Riverdale like.

Yep, a surplus in Clayton due to building retail and collecting all those one time fees. Stated in the budget.

Just like they did on the Northside years ago.

But when those one time fees end you pay dearly. All the infrastructure and service costs catch up to you. Like they are doing now in PTC.

Yea, I am very aware of how that model works. As are the experts, who tell you it will blow up in your face.

Do you want the crime that comes with that kind of area? The loss of quality of life? The high volumes of vacant retail, which Coweta and Clayton are among the top in the Metro area?

Without the consumer base with sufficient disposable income to shop in all those store that is what you get. A lot of empty stores and businesses you don't want in your neighborhood.

Do you think we can possibly keep what makes PTC unique if we do those things?

What kind of PTC do you want? Do you think you can have all that is packed into Riverdale and the Northside without getting all the negatives right along with it? Do you want that density here? Did people move here from those kind of areas just to recreate it here?

I sure didn't nor did those I know and have known here for over 2 decades.

We understood you cannot have it all in your backyard and have the quality of life that drew us here at the same time.

We have to get the jobs in first. Then the vacant homes get filled and then the retail filled and growing in sales. Then the tax revenues increase.

Doing it stores first just increases the problems. That is the old failed growth model some on Council pursue. Hasn't worked and does not work. Just look at the empty retail in PTC to affirm that.

Other cities are tearing down retail areas because it is a failed model. It works by making what is there better. Bigger is not always better.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by nusport on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 1:50pm.

Mr. Haddix,
It is disingenuous to add complexity to the debate by throwing in rezoning. The city has a comprehensive plan, which I support to the fullest, and deviation should be a difficult undertaking. It is unfortunate that more citizens do not participate in the city government but they cannot all be protected.

Thank you for clarifying the funding for the paths that I use almost daily. Since path money comes from SPLOST it is really not a part of this discussion, correct? The cart paths are a valuable commodity but do not draw nearly as many new residents to Peachtree City as our schools and recreational facilities.

We are talking about raising the millage rate, which we appear to agree upon, and services that the city provides. I am against doing away with the pool in the winter, even though I do not use it, and reducing the hours that other recreation facilities are available to Fayette County and Peachtree City citizens. Again, if taxes must be raised to support the quality of life we enjoy and tout at every opportunity then they should be raised, but if the city government is going to raise taxes and reduce facilities then I say the city is continuing to waste taxpayer money.

I do not believe that following the comprehensive plan and making limited rezoning decisions will result in Peachtree City resembling Riverdale. I believe the comparison to be a scare tactic and we will have to agree to disagree.

Redevelopment is a good thing. I am relatively sure that a majority of people that have driven down Hwy 54, from Peachtree Parkway to Hwy 74, would agree that there are a great many eyesores through the heart of Peachtree City. If developers cannot at least replace the footprint that was there previously how can the city expect anyone to invest in these areas? What transgression spurred the Transition Yard legislation? If the city plan were followed we would not need the Transition Yard, it will slow the redevelopment and modernization of Peachtree City.

I believe the city council wants to do what is best for the city, but do not have, and can never have, all of the information necessary to make all of the decisions. Entrepreneurs risk their own money when they break ground, if the zoning standards are met and the business proposed meets all the other standards set forth by the city, and there are a lot of them, they should be allowed to risk that money. Central planning has never worked.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 2:29pm.

It isn't disingenuous, has already been proposed as part of redevelopment and is going to be an agenda item on Feb. 15 for the Pathways development. The Dominion was a rezoning from industrial, in another example.

Nor is it hard. Just a 3 vote on Council.

Actually the paths draw more than Rec. They enable those otherwise with no transportation to get around and give walking paths, etc. Safety, sense of neighborhood and schools are the main. Then paths followed by Rec.

MANY move to PTC not caring about Rec and don't use it. Others love the golf courses, not City Rec.

Others love the Rec for sure, and I don't want to dismiss that. Just not correct to give a blanket statement that Rec is a main driving force for everyone who lives here.

If more used Rec and paid fees we would not have the budget issues for Rec we are having.

Mentioning County brings on another issue. They are benefiting from the taxes PTC taxpayers pay. Getting off a lot cheaper. We are PTC, not Fayette County, when it comes to budgets.

Now, when you refer to the Comprehensive Plan you automatically came to my side of the argument, eliminating the Clayton model. The Plan demands environmental, traffic and economic impact studies. Have to pass to get allowed.

The Clayton model fails the impact tests on traffic and economy. In fact, not actually happening when it comes to such as 54 W on the SUP and light. Light makes an F rating worse, but moving forward. SUP will add more empty stores to PTC, but still moving forward. Annexing more and more kills the Village Concept as well.

Yes, I want redevelopment. But redevelopment only occurs once all pristine land is consumed and no availability existing assets are available for use due to costs. Therefore, annexing more postpones redevelopment and allows blight areas to grow.

Incorrect on the Comprehensive Plan and the Transition Yard. The Yard is an ordinance, a law. The Comprehensive Plan is not an ordinance, but a suggested plan to follow and model the ordinances and Overlay Plans upon. I am trying to make the Comprehensive Plan law.

Wrong again on planning, the most successful communities are those with the most spelled out ordinances guiding growth. Those communities keep the their Comprehensive Plans and community Visions.

I am not against capital risk. But you are dismissing the rights of the citizens about the impacts their risks make on the city.

Developer motivation is profit. They do not care if their development puts another out of business down the street, creating blight. They care about their development taking the business away from the other so they make money.

Who protects the citizens in these issues?

I think we have spelled out our thinking pretty clearly. Not sure what else to say without getting into more repeating.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Silence Dogood's picture
Submitted by Silence Dogood on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 10:59pm.

****It's also shocking to see you justifying your pay increase during this really bad economy. You asked your employees to consider a 25% pay cut and you give yourself a huge raise?***

Maybe this Mr. Haddix depends on this income more than you can imagine. Give him a break. Look at his raise and income as part of some sort of economic stimulus package.

Submitted by intheknow on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 7:23pm.

It’s SIMPLE – raise the city taxes through a millage increase! The City Manager and City Financial Director have requested small increases every year for the last seven or so years. Every year I’ve heard this increase presented with the caveat that “if we don’t raise them this small amount this year, we’ll have to raise them substantially more next”. Every year these small increases have been voted down (sure it’s political suicide to increase taxes), but it’s what has been needed to maintain the services and appearance MOST residents moved here for. I just don’t understand how so many of the complaining bloggers think Peachtree City can maintain the level of services, appearance and amenities that have made this town what it is, without paying for it. I moved to Peachtree City 20 years ago and my taxes had been more than three times what I presently am paying. Now’s the time for council to do what needed to be done several times over the last several years and raise the millage, unless you want to advocate Peachtree City becoming just another town.

Submitted by UrKidding on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 12:26am.

"I moved to Peachtree City 20 years ago and my taxes had been more than three times what I presently am paying."

You are paying (three times) less tax now than 20 years ago? How is that possible?

Submitted by intheknow on Wed, 02/04/2009 - 2:24am.

I moved from the Midwest, and was paying over 5k a year in real estate taxes the last year I lived there. That was on a 975 sq. ft. brick ranch on a basement. Had over an acre, in town and only a block and a half to the commuter station (you pay for things like this). Didn’t help that many older homes on the street had sold, and had been replaced with 500k, and on up newer homes. My apprised value when I sold was 130k, which is around what my present home is worth in PTC, with one-third the taxes, and twenty years later. Always a joke to me when people complain about “high taxes” around here, especially when many of my family and friends in the suburbs from where I’m from typically are paying 6k – 9k a year in taxes on their average homes.

Submitted by intheknow on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 8:31pm.

Might I add, It’s nice of Mrs. Etheridge to offer up employee pay cuts with her plan of a “10% pay cut from all employees” to cure the cities budget woes. I, as a city employee make what - 25k, 30k, 35k, 40k, etc…. My contribution from my annual salary in the form of a pay cut amounts to what - $2,500, $3,000, $3,500, $4,000. On the other hand, a previously proposed tax increase of 2 Mil to maintain the present level of city services amounted to an average tax increase of what, about $200. per household, on the average $250k value home. Thank you Mrs. Etheridge thinking of ALL us city employees.

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 11:39pm.

After reading all that has been said. What is so wrong with a 10% cut with a payback plan to the employees? It beats the crap out of a 25% permanent pay cut. And, might I add that being a city employee makes you subject to the same cuts? What would you rather have 10% less pay, or unemployment and foreclosure. You know that is what will happen to these people and you, if you are suddenly unemployed in this economy. This kind of "me" attitude is what got us here isn't it? There was a local economist on TV yesterday stating that the more people that are put out of work now, has a direct impact on how long this severe economic "crunch" will last.

Submitted by PTCFlicChick on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 8:21pm.

Here Here!

Submitted by mthom5436 on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 6:25pm.

Good luck getting the city council and the mayor to vote against their own raise.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Tue, 02/03/2009 - 7:57pm.

I liked the sensible idea that was since there is no building why do we need a building department.

Handle it that way.

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