Tea Partiers should scan local taxes

Steve Brown's picture

I often wish we could declare our independence from the U.S. Congress, a body more obsessed with its own desires than the people it represents. Much like the top Wall Street executives, our members of Congress have a very shallow view of the future, not looking beyond their own personal enrichment.

When we decry Obama-nomics with deficits approaching $10 trillion, we must remember it was a bipartisan effort that got us here. Indeed, it is difficult listening to a bunch of federal politicians stumping on how government is failing our country while they are behind the scenes making it happen.

Most of the Democrats have never printed a dollar they could not spend. Likewise, Republicans talk a good game, but they often prove they are more adept at bilking the system than their counterparts in the opposing party.

I cannot get fired up about listening to Congressman Lynn Westmoreland at the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) rally on Independence Day. He has the intellectual prowess of a chunk of granite.

We need an innovator who can create and implement the platform leading to a more prosperous future, preserving our civil liberties, ending the recklessness of the past. Unfortunately, Rep. Westmoreland does not have such initiative, as his record clearly displays.

Meanwhile, the Bush-Obama stimulus offerings, the ones the Republicans condemn while shoving the cash into their pockets, are causing a great deal of liquidity in our economy. According to the economic experts that I follow, Congress’ bipartisan efforts, or lack thereof, are about to send us headlong into the inflation wall.

A chief consequence is of inflation is rapidly rising prices. Moreover, inflation combined with the rupture in the commercial real estate market, means the end to the economic doldrums looks further away.

It’s times like these when the Fayette County Board of Commissioners is going to be dreading their recent approval of the employee defined benefit pension plan. Many governments and corporations get into trouble when they begin deferring full payments to such plans because of economic pressures.

In fact, every local government within Fayette County needs to aggressively examine their budget forecast for the next five years. We could see some of the most devastating setbacks in service delivery ever witnessed.

The glory years of the 1990s in Fayette County with healthy increases in tax revenue every year are gone, for the short-term, at least. However, the situation for Peachtree City could be worse.

In 2001, then-Mayor Bob Lenox made it clear that the programs and facilities amassed in the 1990s would be a continual strain on the city’s budget with revenue increases slowing. Unfortunately, the current free-spending administration has not heeded the warning from Mayor Lenox.

The thoughtlessness in the City Council’s current budget proceedings is astounding. Mayor Logsdon is creating new employee positions and other expenditures in the midst of declining revenues, wanting to balance the budget with reserve funds, again.

Even worse, the mayor is making such a proposal knowing the city is going to take a financial hit of $1.1 million (or more) next year when the SPLOST expires.

These lame-duck policies from the mayor are digging a deeper hole for the city down the road. While Tyrone is adopting a smaller budget and Fayetteville is holding the line, Peachtree City keeps expanding without the revenue to do so.

Regrettably, Mayor Logsdon, a supposed financial expert, offset certain budgeted items with SPLOST funds. Instead of creating a savings in reserves or decreasing the millage rate, he created additional expenditures to consume those offset funds.

Now, the City Council wants a continued tax increase with yet another SPLOST. (SPLOSTs are the hidden tax increases that never go away.)

Knowing that inflation is a very real threat, we can only hope that our local governments will batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst. Maybe the people with the local TEA party effort can review the local scene as well.

Hard times require discipline and innovation. Do we have anyone at any level of government who is up to the task?

[Steve Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City. He can be reached at stevebrownptc@ureach.com.]

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Submitted by cdl305 on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 9:19am.

More half truths. "Mayor Logsdon is creating new employee positions". True, the mayor, along with the other four council members, did agree to create two new positions: one over-sight position and one alternative part time position, both of which were necessary with the 20+ positions that were eliminated. You left that small point out and about the $800,000+ saved from that task. As someone else clearly points out, you had your four year run and the Rec dept., which is one of the biggest consumers of taxpayer funds, certainly did not become any smaller nor did Public Works, both of which are now having to be adjusted because of previous administation/s free-spending policies or lack of intellegent over-sight - which one is debatable.

Logsdon is certainly not one our better mayors, and now that he is running for office, I question his ability to serve in that role. Fortunately, it is only a part time function and frankly is only one of five votes.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 4:07pm.

You know, Birdman, that we did heed the warning. We held rezoning to residential (bleed on services) to almost zero. You also know, we made many significant cuts.

As for the pay increase for the "entire staff," you know the across-the-board pay raise happened in 2001, a year prior to my taking office. And what you forgot to mention was the previous council also cut the millage rate; thus, sharply increasing expenses and slashing revenue (you supported those moves). That was my first day on the job: $1.8 million in the hole and counting.

You guys have got to stop making this stuff up. Get over the trauma from the Development Authority/Tennis Center corruption being exposed and move on.

If Mayor Logsdon uses the reserves to balance the budget, again, it will add to one of the worst financial crises this city will ever witness in 2010-2011.

After all we know today, I cannot believe you are still defending bad ways good old boys.

Happy Independence Day.

Submitted by Bonkers on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 8:37am.

It is that these dudes who take every opportunity to cut you up instead of defend such things as the Tennis Center (which they can't), actually, simply they don't like you personally.
As far as I know you are a republican of some kind so that isn't what they don't like --I don't think they were involved with the Tennis Center personally, although they must have known several who were.

Maybe it is your personal home life, I don't know.

You are to be admired for trying to rattle the good old boys cage!
Boy, do we sure need some of that.

birdman's picture
Submitted by birdman on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 8:35am.

Steve, when you talk about Logsden ignoring Lenox's advice (I agree by the way) you sort of skipped 4 years. Why? Did YOU heed Lenox's advice? Of course not. Your hatred for Lenox was so complete that you would never listen to anything he said.
So, Logsden has spent too much money. Ok. I'll give you that one. But what about YOU?
What did you do as Mayor to reduce our taxes? Idiot decisions that led to more than one lawsuit? Hiring outside council instead of the City Attorney who is on retainer? A ridiculous Ethics violation by Steve Rapson. If he had simply done right and abstained (like he AND you knew he should, or simply admitted he was wrong, it would have saved the City what, $30,000? How about a ridiculous $50,000 "special prosecutor" to look at the Development Authority. What was his findings again? Oh, that's right, "no wrong doing." Gee Steve, you could have asked me and I would have told you the same thing for free.
How about the absurd purchase of 5 acres to anchor the "bridge to nowhere." What is the total cost of that? $1.4 million after years of interest payments?
How about demanding a full Ethics hearing for your ethics violation. How much did that cost for attorney fees (again, not the City Attorney) staff costs, etc. And the result? Yeah, you did violate the Ethics laws.
How about hiring an Assistant City Manager, a job NEVER before needed or filled (and I heard no longer in existence). What was his salary? Over $100,000 per year! Gee Steve, seems he was only necessary while YOU were Mayor. EVERY other Mayor (including Logsden) doesn't need one!
How about pay raises for the ENTIRE staff after the economic turmoil of 9/11? The fact that an enormous number of citizens are Delta employees who took HUGE pay and benefit cuts, many business cutting or failing, and YOU gave our city employees raises! Nice move. I'm sure that "reduced our budget." Not that they didn't deserve raises, but come on Steve, at a time when EVERYONE else was taking cuts or being layed off? Smart move.
Oh Steve, you are still the same old guy. Always attacking others while ignoring yourself. Why don't you write an article addressing why YOU didn't lower our expenses instead of simply blaming Logsden. If you had put into place any cost effective policies then they would have carried through and Logsden could have simply followed your plan. Or if you had actually been a "good" Mayor and fair and reasonable to ALL citizens instead of stroking your HUGE ego you would have been re-elected.
Steve, if you are going to live in a glass house (and you do) don't throw rocks.

Spear Road Guy's picture
Submitted by Spear Road Guy on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 7:39am.

For the love of Pete, someone change Birdman's diaper!!!

Vote Republican

ptctaxpayer's picture
Submitted by ptctaxpayer on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 8:46am.

Granite Producers of North Georgia are offended by the comparison to Westmoreland, Mr. Brown. A retraction is demanded.

Submitted by HoyaLawya on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 10:40am.

True, a very unfair comparison. At least granite is attractive.

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 5:29am.

I had forgotten how much immaturity and poor judgment had been packed into Brown's 4 short years (although it seemed much longer). I wouldn't have read his rambling critique of government at every level had it not been for your post.

Sadly the dude is in search of a true leader with vision and courage and I think in next week's free infomercial courtesy of Cal, we will be treated to the conclusion that he, Steve Brown is the one man that can lead us out of the wilderness. Oh boy. Which role will this new messiah take on? Will he come back as merely the mayor or will he shoot higher at the county or state level? Or is he the answer to the Westmoreland problem? Imagine that. Brown's mug on TV up there in Washington.

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 4:11pm.

Most of the poor people running have no idea what they are about to get into, including Cyndi Plunkett.

No thanks, maybe next time.

As for Westmoreland, the average high schooler could work at his level. What a waste of good tax dollars.

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