Taxes and local officials: Where are the adults?

Cal Beverly's picture

On the issues facing Fayette: Where are the adults?

What should we think of local officials whose response to declining tax revenues is to seek higher tax rates?

Why would they do that, instead of automatically seeking to cut nonessential services and nonessential personnel to match their out-go with their income, the way the rest of us do?

The question has more than one simple answer.

First, to most local elected officials and almost all government employees, there is no such thing as nonessential services and personnel.

I beg to differ.

My definitions of essential local government services are public safety (police, fire, EMS and emergency communications), basic public health, maintenance of roads and bridges, water, sewer and trash pickup services. That’s it.

I will gladly pay taxes or fees for efficient delivery of those essential services.

Everything else is nonessential, nice-to-have, optional stuff. When we can afford those nonessentials, let’s pay for them. When we can no longer afford those nice-to-have services, let’s cut them until we can afford them again.

Do not raise my taxes to pay for running a swim center and a dozen sports fields.

If I can no longer afford to pay for premium cable with all the channels, then I cut back to expanded basic ... or basic ... or cancel my cable service. I can live without it.

The Fayette County School System should chop central office workers, the part of the system least touched (and least essential) by budget cutbacks.

The Fayette County Commission should postpone or cancel the multimillion-dollar parkway to nowhere. It’s unneeded now and into the foreseeable future. A bad idea doesn’t get better just because public officials stubbornly dig in their heels.

The Peachtree City Council should act like responsible adults and slice off some expensive slabs of beef from the hindquarters of the city’s most sacred cow: Recreation.

And therein lies another part of the not-so-simple answer: Spoiled consumers of “free” government services.

Drag a few promised new sports fields in front of at least one councilwoman and a relatively few diehard supporters, and they will be willing to accommodate whatever other traffic and density poisons a clever developer wants to inflict on the rest of us. It ain’t worth it, folks.

It’s bribery by amenity, and we can no longer afford its toxic side effects.

Children demand things their parents cannot afford. Tough love requires that a parent must say no to unrealistic demands.

Let’s cut nonessential local government services, projects and people so that current tax income equals spending on essential services, projects and people.

When good times return — and they always have in the past — add back in the nice-to-have services as current income allows.

Do NOT increase our taxes.

[The above is a column of opinion by the publisher and editor of The Citizen.]

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Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Sat, 08/01/2009 - 4:37pm.

It’s bribery by amenity, and we can no longer afford its toxic side effects.

Probably one of your most notable and memorable lines.... Bribery By Amenity. Not what is good for us all but what will garnish the most votes to stay in office.

Obama.... The Bernie Madoff Of Washington

Submitted by MrDinghy on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 9:37pm.

I am already in the 33 % tax bracket. Obama wants me to pay more for Universal health care which will put me around 40 %. I pay state income tax. The value of my home has dropped but Fayette County wants to raise the millage rate to cover the loss in values. When property values rose my property taxes rose then when values decline my property taxes rise. When do they get to go down ? As it is right now I am working two days a week to pay for taxes. So guess what I am going to do this year ? Retire , drop to a lower tax bracket , sell my home , rent and pay no property taxes , and not work at all. If I can't sell my home I will let it go into foreclosure and have the government bail the banks out. When I run out of money , I will turn to the government to support me. When the Government runs out of higher income people to take from , where will they get it ?

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 3:33am.

I am researching why no one ever pays their "tax rate," net. Not the number some say they pay, but the actual net paid.

Could you tell me what percentage federal tax you actually paid after deductions?

Tax paid divided by gross income = ?%

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 5:40pm.

He'll cut these budgets. Smiling
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by cdl305 on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 12:39pm.

Well, Cal, I can agree with almost all aspects of your Opinion, except the complete funding of essential services. Yes, police and fire are critical, but let's evaluate what has been done. Under this Council, we have added 31 positons in 3 years or less, which equates to about a 20% increase during this period, while the population has had only marginal increase. Is this intelligent design or out-of-control kingdom building? Yes, in the ideal world we would have a public safety person on very corner, but before we see a hike in millage, I want to see a rational mind applied to public safety. Does a city of 38,000 truly need the best of the best of everything, or can we not also apply sensible spending to these kingdoms.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 10:30am.

All I ask for is a well thought out vote on SPLOST. Any decision made has repercussions on your home and PTC as a whole in this economy. Which vote, yea or nay, is the one you can best live with?

No SPLOST means no debt reduction and lose of cart path maintenance funding for PTC. It does not mean the West-Bypass goes away since the County put that money in the bank from the current SPLOST.

It also means that as Mayor I would be coming to the property tax payers and asking what they want to do. Do they want at least a 1.1 mil tax increase for path maintenance or do they want to cut services and/or amenities, understanding Police, Fire and Code are off the table since they are essential services?

We need a change of thinking on priorities and spending on Council. We need to live within our means and stop trying to please every developer that comes along. But we also need money to get through to a better day and time.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Dondol on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 9:58am.

Why should we bail out the Council again? When this Mayor and Council started 4 years ago we had a surplus in OUR (citizens) reserves and in that time the Mayor And Council have spent every last dime and then some, now you want more? Its time We The People tell you OUR representatives to Go To Hell and take back OUR City.

Obama's weapon of Choice!

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 10:30am.

I sure would like to talk to those on here who had those psychic powers 4 years ago that predicted this economy today. Makes me wonder why they weren't warning all of us then of this drastic turn of events that they foresaw. Were they at the budget meetings warning everyone?
Don't think so.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 10:54am.

Last year I believe we had two citizens at the Budget Meetings. This year I believe five, with two being candidates Fleisch and Walsh.

In 2008 Logsdon said the economy would recover in 2008, then 2009 and now says 2010. The majority went with him while both Sturbaum and I projected a 12-14% drop in sales tax income in 2008 and were laughed at as not know what we were talking about.

So yes, warnings were given in 2008, by two newly elected Councilmen, who went unheeded. As well by the Finance Dept, who had been reporting decling income for several years now.

But, as you say, not by citizens attending the Budget Meetins.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

CCB's picture
Submitted by CCB on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 9:28pm.

Wait a minute, you want to raise my taxes and add a lot more with another SPLOST and that's living within our means?

The whole thing is crazy. I've supported Logsdon for years. Now you guys want to kick me in the gut with more taxes. I wish to hell ya'll would start living within your means.

Why did ya'll keep adding to the city's debt if it was such a bad idea?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 10:04pm.

Ask Harold. He just kept 'kicking the can down the road' to quote him. Wants to do it again.

Tennis Center and more without paying for it along the way has us where we are.

If I could come up with about a million in savings a year from Rec my first year in office, which he resisted, then why couldn't he?

He and the majority are in their 4th year in office. I am in my 2nd. Think about it.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by nepotism on Sun, 08/02/2009 - 10:42pm.

Is this the same Don Haddix who said "Lets take the Ice Rink Dar Thompson Pipe Dream to the Voters and let them decide?", when you should have voted against allowing it to move forward, from the very beginning. What if that passed then if anything went wrong the liability would fall on the cities lap just like the tennis center and amphitheater. Why wouldn't you just let him find some private land and not attempt to use bond money to build a private enterprise on public land? That seems wishy washy to me, especially since you are so dedicated to the Village concept.

yellowjax1212's picture
Submitted by yellowjax1212 on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 11:02am.

This sounds like as good a time as any to layout some of your platform for the election.
At the risk of outraging some of the constituency, what would you cut for the recreation budget?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 12:04pm.

My push for reform in the Tennis Center will move the Hotel/Motel tax from the Tennis and Fred to Tourism and and the General Budget. Under the new program I brought back that should be enacted for us by the next legislative session about $250,000 more can be put in the General Fund. Plus some other can be used for path related work, etc. That is a few hundred thousand gain for general usage.

The management agreement with Canongate will actually increase, not decrease offerings at the Tennis Center.

Another step I pushed for at the Fred, but didn't get this year but get next, will save us over $200,000 a year.

Again the Fred is offering more, not less, than it did under the old system.

At minimum changes I pushed for at the Kedron Center, again with no loss of offering, saves at least $300,000 a year.

That totals over $800,000 in saving with no rec offering cuts just on these items alone. These changes came with resistance from the majority because they reduced direct Council say in management.

There are some other ideas that have great potential but require discussion and research next year. Again with no reduction in offerings.

Cart Paths, contrary to what many think, are not Rec. If we don't get the SPLOST and they go back to General Fund I will be coming to the Citizens for their spending priorities and related property tax opinions.

We cannot lose $2 million a year and not make severe budget adjustments to compensate.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

yellowjax1212's picture
Submitted by yellowjax1212 on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 7:11pm.

Don I agree that we need reform and the fact that we cannot absorb $2 million a year in losses. I appreciate your desire to take prudent actions to help us weather the storm and keep us healthy for the future. Now I am no economist but it seems that the Tennis Center money is a no brainer. Once Cannongate took over it seems only logical that the Hotel/Motel tax would come back to us and shift somewhere else on the ledger sheet. Are you telling me that the rest of the council is fighting this?
The savings from your plans at the Fred and the Kedron Center sound good but I would like to hear more details about some your plans. Numbers are good but the proof is in the details. Too many politicians push numbers around without letting the people know just how they will arrive at those numbers.
I am not convinced that we can realize all of these savings without cuts - some of them painful. i do not expect to get the same level of service for less money as you described in your post - that's why I reluctantly support the SPLOST and understand that other things will most likely be on the table.

Submitted by Bonkers on Sat, 08/01/2009 - 4:17am.

You don't think the Canongate people are going to pay off the Tennis Center debt do you?

The rent by Canongate and the hotel tax will go from the city to pay it off.

This thing will be shuffled around for a hundred years with the bank making a fortune in interest for making a bad loan!

For some unknown reason no one in power wants to get into the details and tell us! Somebody ask the lawyer and see if he will talk.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 9:12pm.

Let the evidence speak for itself. I came on and pushed on the Tennis Center, Fred, etc. Reform was initially rejected last year and finally came about in the election year when I made it so public they could not ignore it any more. Sturbuam and I were on the tail end of a 3-2 on this issue last year.

If that isn't enough to convince you then why didn't the reform occur before I began pushing and before their 4th year in office? Either they didn't want it or could not see it for themselves.

On the Fred the reason we are down $200,000 is because Plunkett insisted on the Gold ticket holders be protected by keeping two nights instead of one per performer. She got majority support, the old 3-2 again. We need 2,500 tickets sold per performance to make it. We fall hundreds short every time on average between the two nights. The two nights are finally removed next year so instead of having around 4,000 total for two nights we can get 2,500 for one night. So we make it.

On the Tennis Center it is better management and program offerings. Also by running this facility in tandem with other centers they manage large comeptitions we could not accommodate before now can be accommodated. Plus they assume all non standard maintenance and high end improvements. We get either $2,500 a month, if I remember that number correctly or 3% of gross, whichever is higher. They assume the loss risk on performance.

On Kedron they admitted they are carrying too many employees and can reduce costs, such as putting up and taking down the Bubble. Again the cost savings are from better management and greater efficiency.

Why not before? As said by Staff they were never given efficiency as a priority until I pursued it.

SPLOST has nothing to do with Rec. It is only for debt reduction and path maintenance. None of it can be spent on Rec, so you cannot try to merge the two areas into one cost pool being paid from one income pool.

But no SPLOST would put the paths in the same pools as Rec. Which means the pool Rec is supported from suddenly gets a $2 million a year greater demand place upon it. A demand it cannot meet.

Greater spending does not always mean greater services.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 08/03/2009 - 9:48am.

next year? I don't see that as the way to go myself.

I've been here 5 years, and this year's lineup is the worst yet.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Mon, 08/03/2009 - 11:10am.

There is currently one package a season with two nights per performer. There still will be the package buy but now one night per performer instead of two, which I hope will allow maybe two packages a season since we won't be losing all that money by having two nights.

I don't see subsidizing a second night performances almost $40,000 each as the way to go.

As for quality, how much are you willing to spend on a ticket to get higher demand acts in? Can we fill the Fred at that higher cost since higher demand acts demand more money, so the 2,500 ticket sales number still applies? I don't think so from all the feedback we have had on costs since people who use to go at the current rates say they could not buy tickets this year due to the economy.

I have been here 22 years and every year people complained about wanting better acts and the priorities of what packages were booked. We need more citizen input on what acts they want because the line up did fit the survey responses received.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Spyglass on Mon, 08/03/2009 - 11:25am.

I disagree about surveys being the way to determine the acts. It's all too easy to look at the actual attendance. I can name off many shows over the last 5-10 years that were basically full both nights. I'm sure they keep attendance records...I attended a meeting regarding acts at the Fred last year, and the age demographic at the meeting wasn't what I see at concerts at the Fred.

As one who attends a LOT of shows there, it's not rocket science. Older 70's and 80's rock bands draw the best by far, or known rock n roll bands in general. I appreciate some other types of acts, but rock n roll type bands would seem to pay the bills.

I do enjoy the free movie nights, etc..but obviously, those don't pay the bills.

Submitted by PTC Observer on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 9:15pm.

Mr. Haddix,

If I understand you correctly you would pay off debt with the funds coming in from SPLOST? I assume this debt is in some way related to transportation? If not how could you use the money allocated for transportation to do this?


Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 10:06pm.

The new SPLOST law allows the expanded use for debt reduction.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by PTC Observer on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 12:14pm.

So, I see now. You pay off the debt using SPLOST monies meant for transportation, then you free up the money you would have used to pay down the debt for other things other than transportation. Neat trick.

So, we can say now that the Transportation SPLOST that is used to pay down debt is a general purpose tax for other things.

Is that correct?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Sat, 08/01/2009 - 6:55pm.

It isn't transportation money, it is debt reduction money.

What is designated debt reduction must be used for debt reduction and what is designated transportation must be used for the designated areas of transportation, cart paths in our case. They are not interchangeable with each other or anything else.

Reducing debt reduces our annual debt maintenance and helps preserve our reserves, thus our bond rating and interest income.

It has multiple positive impacts on the Budget hence upon the taxpayers.

Looking at all the alternatives getting the SPLOST has the best overall economic outcome. We keep the path maintenance going, reduce debt and get a bit more flexibility in the General Budget to keep everything running and keep pursuing better management and cost reductions.

I believe my record shows I am totally sincere in getting things run more efficiently and producing a better product, as with the Tennis Center, Fred and Kedron Center.

I owned and ran a business for 20 years and Sturbaum is the financial guy at Panasonic. We do have background that the rest of Council does not, which shows.

We will be far more open to public input and my intent is to have periodic town halls in the Council Chambers for open discussions. That is, of course, if people will actually come to talk.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 1:19pm.

By the way how do you ask the citizens (all of them) what they want about a SPLOST or not?

I thought that was your job to determine that after elected.
Will you also ask all those who don't want it?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:08pm.

The SPLOST on the ballot is the asking about the SPLOST.

If the SPLOST fails there would be a Town Hall meeting(s) in Council Chambers, early next year, for those who want to discuss and a survey in the Update to all the homes asking the question.

There are Public Comments allowed at every Council Meeting. For new and serious issues there are Public Hearings for each topic as well. Then we take the input and consider it.

On as big an issue as a large property tax increase a clear message from the citizens would be respected by me as my vote.

Yes, on most topics I weigh out and reach my own decision. I don't believe in governance by task force or polls. But on big issues the public deserves an opportunity for serious input.

Yes, I will ask all the property owners, including those opposed, because they are the ones who will be paying the bills.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 11:40am.

At least by a goodly portion of your constituents. My fear is the scare tactics of doom and gloom by those who stand to benefit most by SPLOST passage, will permeate the minds of many locals who possess neither the time nor the wherewithall to know all the issues. The bottom line is simple, each of us chose Peachtree City for the quality of life ammenities it continues to offer(albeit seemingly somewhat diminished now that the kids are gone), that are slowly slipping away. Our current administration has done its level best to alter the very core of Peachtree City, that being the village concept by a simple 3-2 vote.

The mere fact that an elected official will so easily revert to raising taxes as a panacea just reflects their lack of judgement, work ethic, or wisdom. The same can be said of government workers who have carefully over the years made themselves indispensable servants of the public except that when they're needed, they're seldom available or "it's not my job." Peachtree City eliminated 19 jobs this year from public works, might I ask how many staffers at city hall were reduced or eliminated? Since there are 19 less employees to supervise, logic would have me believe that Bernie should have lost at least one of his cronies.

You, sir, are a breath of fresh air for our town long overdue. You are correct, a change in budget and spending philosophy to reality vice a financial planner's ponzi scheme will require us all(citizens and city government) to live within our means. Our fair city can get through this crisis with the mindset that a "helping hand" can extend much further than a "hand out."

Let's get you elected!

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 1:01pm.

I am confused. Do you consider a raise in sales taxes a raise in taxes?

Wouldn't either one collect the same amount of taxes?
Whether it is homeowners and rental owners or whether it is grocery buyers, cars, etc., and homeowners who pay the sales tax, isn't it still a tax? How much you figure Coweta spends here over us there in sales taxes?
I also think some think hotel taxes aren't taxes on citizens. It is a tax however on somebody.

Now if you want to say that poor people pay more of the sales tax than do others, and it is cheaper on people with huge homes to do a SPLOST, then say that! Hey, we got a liberal President. He doesn't believe in such stuff!

Good to have you back.

Do you know anything about Georgia Peaches, or are you from Detroit or somewhere?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 12:18pm.

Public Works has had the 'chain of command' restructured and simplified. Some of the 19 jobs were supervisory. As well the Assistant City Manger job is gone. Developmental Service was reduced by 4, there was a restructuring of Administration with some job requirements reduced with associated lowerings of job classifications. As well some empty slots are gone, some jobs were combined and so forth.

I have pushed and gotten changes in some Rec facilities that are adding up to near a million in total impact. Found and brought back a new Hotel/Motel Tax structure that should be approved by the State legislature the beginning of next year that will add about $250,000 the the General Fund and give more efficient use to the Hotel/Motel Tax usage in general.

Still more to do but I know they cannot be done this year. The issues and debts accumulated over many Councils cannot be fixed overnight, especially in this economy. We have debt from the Tennis Center issues, building to Library and gambling on the Police Station being fixed, even though rebuilt to a size already known to be too small.

There is also a ton to do in attracting good paying employers, fixing commercial related ordinances and so forth that I have either been hampered in getting done or completely restrained.

It is a total package to get PTC right. But not going to happen without being Mayor and being backed by a like minded Council. Doug is a great partner, but not enough when you need at least three total.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 11:14am.

I do not want to see our cart paths deteriorate any further. Some are so bad right now you practically need dental work after going over them.

Spread the tax burden over those who come to this county and use our parks, paths, public services and, many at the same time spend money in our stores and restaurants. Heaven knows that by the number of out of county license plates in our parking lots, plenty of money comes in here from elsewhere.

Coming from a state up north where property taxes are 3 to 4 times what they are here, I do not want to see the burden put on private property owners-once you start down that path, it never ends.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 11:53am.

The repair work is clearing the paths rated in the 60 range this year. Next would heavily fix in the 70 range. So a lot of work yet to do to get them up to decent shape. We are spending over $1 million a year now with the greatest restraint being able to get asphalt in as needed due to demand.

I am not sure how many understand that going via property tax places all the cost on just PTC property owners. Every other user does not pay a penny.

And yes, check out licenses. Our paths are heavily used by non PTC people.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 12:06pm.

Why not take a close look at all the license plates in the retail parking lots! Yes, on many a day the plates from Coweta far out weigh the "local" plates. People are spending $'s here that the PTC “Powers That Be” can not spend the tax dollars from fast enough. If they are going to be ridiculed for using the paths and other amenities, then maybe we should ask them to spend their hard earned money in Coweta and see what Coweta can do with the money. You have absolutely no problem excepting "outsiders" tax money spent in our stores, not to mention that I am willing to bet the business owners are extremely thankful for it too, but you want to fault them for spending some time here too. I thought PTC's motto was to stay? Not to be elitists. It's my toy and you can't play with it. Come on... There has got to be a better way. Maybe it is time that your political opponents chime in. Scott Rowland has the brains of a Financial Planner. I would love to hear what he has to say about this. Guess I will just have to ask him myself. I'll get back to you with the answers and compare notes.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 1:44pm.

I mean really! Making a statement that Scott Rowland has the brains of a financial planner is putting him on the same plane as our current mayor who campaigned as one. If you're an advocate of Rowland, I would say you have enhanced Mr Haddix's chances substantially.

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 7:38pm.

I never said Logston had the brains of a financial planner and for that matter never said he had a brain at all. He said he knew finances.... turns out that was a lie... well not entirely... he knows how to financially run a city into the ground. I don’t think Haddix will do any better. This guy seems to be the best choice from what we have to choose from. Plunkett? Not in a million years. She is LIKE a trail ridding horse for tourists. They can't walk two feet without the butt of another horse in front to lead them. She is no leader. (PLEASE... do not think I said she was a horse) I know how people try to read between the lines here. There is NO between the lines... He is a very strong leader and I think he would have what it takes to lead a council to come together for the good of the city. All due respect (?) to Haddix but he doesn’t play well with others and a good leader inspires other to greatness. You tell me... when was the last time that Plunkett or Haddix inspired anyone in this city to do the right thing and play nice?

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 12:49pm.

Well you see, Sometimes a lot of out of county plates means that they are using our stuff, free.
Then agian sometimes it means they are paying a lot of sales tax here!

Both are political baloney!!!!!! And they know it is.
That is why we need one short term for all of them. No pension available.


Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 11:09am.

I have always expected the cart path maintenance to be dropped at some point whem build-out was near. The police do not want to make them safe, and they are a constant bother to the town managers. Kids driving them really fouls the air at city hall! Kids shouldn't exist!

The importance of them has now been reduced to somewhere between not required at all to just above limiting the quantity of places selling alcohol!

So, a mil increase is necessary to maintain the paths? There are no other places less important?

There must be 500 opinions in the city as to what could be cut to maintain the paths!

I se "code" has been put into the same category as Policemen and Firemen. Other than houses and commercial being built, just what do the code people do? Many obvious violations exist.
I'm not suggesting that code people be cut nor anything else. It is not my duty to do that!
But, I can not understand why suddenly there is no money for maintaining our way of getting around other than autos!

I can't vote for you if you aren't going to maintain and improve and police the paths!

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 11:47am.

Having been absent for awhile, who is it that has dropped the ball and let you get off your meds?

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:37pm.

Is your absence Mike due to meds also?

I'm still on them, even heavier! No alcohol though.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 11:42am.

The main draw of PTC for most is and has been Safety, sense of neighborhood, standards and the golf cart path system. That is the way it was when I moved here and I have not seen it change over the years.

I voted for adding police and ATVs to the paths. I want more police on the paths and have already told Chief Clark so. To do so we need to hire more police. But that cost money and thus part of the .244 mil increase and hiring two new police. We just have a critical need for a full time fraud investigator first.

I see the paths increasing in importance, not decreasing.

Yes, Code is in the same category. Code works hand in hand with Fire and Police.

My question to the property tax payers would be 'exactly' what do you want to cut? Personally, I am very sure Rec would get hit before the paths. But my point was I would ask them specifically and let the taxpayers clearly state the case. At that tax impact level I feel it a duty to do so.

I pushed for the survey that went out earlier this year. It came back with the answers I expected. I don't think, after living here 22 years, I will be shocked at the answers I would get next year.

We really need the SPLOST. Really. People do not realize how much revenue we have lost due to decreased monies returned from the State while taking more and adding more restrictions along with heavy losses in sales tax revenue and the era of the big impact fees being over.

PTC is a great place that will survive while others are crushed. But that does not mean we are not going to suffer along the way.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

CCB's picture
Submitted by CCB on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 9:49pm.

Those two police officers I read about aren't going to be on the paths. One was a Captain? Exactly how many arrests are the police making on the cart paths and I'm not talking about kids littering?

The newspapers always say the crime is at the shopping centers and gas stations. So why are you wasting good money putting more folks on the paths?

In my personal view, Mr. Haddix, when things get real tight, the city ought to respond. How about looking at a sales tax increase when the economy improves instead of cramming path patches on us when we can least afford it. The paths aren't going away and it can sure way a year.

Most of us don't get a military pension to keep us going like Mike King does.

Submitted by nepotism on Sun, 08/02/2009 - 11:01pm.

Correct, it's not the village concept its the Smoke and Mirrors concept. The other officer is for Fraud, so I guess they are going to work on the path catching teenagers that are stealing credit card numbers and stealing checks from old people??? You are right CCB the ptc poe poe will just have even more folks on payroll so that they can pay even more pension, medical benefits etc....what a joke. But they are exempt because "Haddix" tells the Chief that we need more poe poe on the paths. We need more maintenance on the paths! We need Haddix to volunteer to be on the paths instead of him telling the Chief what to do.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 11:02am.

When money gets tight as it is now, it is my stance that government should reduce nonessential services accordingly. We both know that during times of economic downturns the only increase in jobs is within the government sector. It would be a simple process for you and I to sit down and cut, say twenty, percent of these nonessential services offered by Peachtree City. An elected official could only do this if he or she is truly a public servant and a one-termer because, let's face it their chance of re-election fades. A city manager could not do this without risking his/her livelihood because they would be reducing their sphere of supervision/responsibility).

I back Mr Haddix because he has demonstrated the fortitude to confront these issues openly, and offer choices for his constituency.

We all had choices to make in our younger years, by your last comment it seems that you may have regrets in your decision making.

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 11:24am.

Well, I heard that the feds may cut military pensions 20% soon in order to salvage our reputation in the borrowing world.

All congress has to do is say the contracts are null and void for the common good!

Now, are all of the 60% of the town budget uncuttable? Of course not.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 11:52am.

Have you ever been associated with the term "so dumb your hair hurts"?

Even our esteemed Congress knows that to make such a drastic cut, they would have massive unrest throughout the military in that early retirement is one of its most prominent retention incentives.

Check your sources and you'll find that "The National Enquirer" is really not that reliable.

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 12:42pm.

Aren't they all volunteers now?

They aren't there just for the pension are they?

I know that is the reason many government employees work, but not our boys!

Ain't a worker on earth who doesn't feel he has "earned" his pension for one reason or another!
Especially those dudes on Wall Street who again took ovwer a million dollars bonus apiece recently after grabbing the stimulus money! Not a few=-=--thousands!

I have never been against a government pension except it should not be available until 60-65---and not 37 in some cases, with 20 years.
If they double and triple dip due to their influence, then even less.

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 12:47pm.

I fear you will be the same old stuff as Mayor.

I recall at least twice before where when additional officers were requested in the budget the reason was given as cart path patrol!
Now, you must know this!

It doesn't matter how much revenue you have lost! The citizens have also lost much revenue!

Find it and cut it! The worst is yet to come.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 11:22am.

If you mean code violations, how many of these that YOU know of have YOU reported to code enforcement? Can you be specific?

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 12:43pm.

I have offered to ride with a code person and point out the violations that are visible providing they would drop me off before they confront the violators. It is not my job to enforce violations.

Nothing came of that.

Why must a code person have a citizen back-up when violations are obvious? Why must it even be reported individually?

Just ride around one day and you will see numerous ones from trailers and autos parked on the grass and in front of the house, mudholes in the lawn, trash piled up beside the house and at end of driveways, houses in very poor condition, etc.

How many violations of this nature have been processed recently?

DarkMadam's picture
Submitted by DarkMadam on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 12:17pm.

Use your camera. Each frame number matches a written request with the property address and what code is in violation. I dropped 200 on the desk of a code officer once and it was his JOB to investigate all complaints in a timely manner. If they are not investigated then we have a beef with the city and a beef about total lack of ability of a city department to perform its job function. It worked! Sometimes a little time on a citizen’s part can light a huge bonfire under a city's bottom. GO FOR IT! It's about time they got a wake up call.

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 12:54pm.

Cops in their rounds in the Fords could note these descrepancies and turn then in!

It is so obvious that they don't want to do it in any fashion it is laughable. Like the touring of the cart paths! And the monitoring of the pubs at closing time for drunks. No way.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:00pm.

and tries to report what I see is wrong.

Maybe turning your thinking around could help see my point. "Why must a code person have a citizen backup when violations are obvious?" Try this. I am driving/walking along and see what I think is a violation. I'm not quite sure, but just doesn't look right. I'm not a code person, I don't know all the codes but I write down (or make mental note, if you are good at that) the address and what I saw. When I get home and have time, I call it in. With thousands of us riding and walking along here, don't you think each of us could do that once in a while to help out?

I'm sure you are aware there are TWO code officers in this city to cover over 8 thousand homes? And, one other just recently assigned to do home code only?

Yes, I do think citizen back up is necessary. It's part of MY job to keep this town looking as good as I can, in some small way. Same as if I see a crime in progress-I report that, too.

Again, I ask where are the specifics of the "many obvious violations that exist?"

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:42pm.

Well I have to take it that you have never seen any code violations. If you did you didn't report them.

Also, you believe that if no one reports a code violation that none occured. And, it is not the duty of a code person to ever see one.

Couldn't we just do without these people if no one sees any code violations and they don't have to look for any?

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:58pm.

I've asked you three time for specifics on YOUR allegations and you have given none. This tells me what I guessed when YOU started these exaggerated allegations.

FYI, yes, I see them, yes, I report them. Most importantly, EVERY one I have reported HAS been acted on.

You obviously either need to step up the meds or reduce them. Current levels are not working.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 3:07pm.

Download the Council Meeting packet tomorrow and look under Reports at the Code Enforcement section.

As of May there are about 5,000 issues handled from October of last year to May. We have 4 code enforcement officers. We need more because there a lot of code issues out there they just cannot get to.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by Kim Hunter on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 8:04am.

The packet only showed the reclassification of the Sr. Code Enforcement Officer to The Housing Code Official. But the proposed budget shows that, as well as the TWO Code Enforcement Officers to be Municipal Code Enforcement Officer and the empty 4th position is eliminated. WOW that is alot of ground to cover, I know I have used the complaint line before and it was handled the same day. Was everyone aware that Developmental Services has been changed the Community Development?

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Fri, 07/31/2009 - 9:02am.

That is the July 16th meeting, which lasted 4.5 hours. The August 6th will be up late this afternoon.

For the Code Enforcement actions of that packet go to page 19.

The name change was a cosmetic one.

People have been moved around to get a bigger bang for the budget buck. Some in one area can be used in another at need, as with inspection issues.

We are way more tight than I like in several areas. That is why priorities have to change to fit current realities and the attitude Rec does not have to be efficient, just provided at any cost, has to go away completely.

I didn't like that code enforcement position being eliminated. We need more, not less. I hope to revisit that issue as soon as possible.

Either that or a massive property tax increase.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 3:29pm.

I was told there were 3 code officers. My mistake.

Don Haddix's picture
Submitted by Don Haddix on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 3:45pm.

It depends on how you count them. We have 4 that do inspections but 3 actually carry the title Code Enforcement.

Need a score card at times to keep up with who is what when.

Don Haddix
PTC Councilman
Post 1

Submitted by MYTMITE on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 8:10pm.

with Bonkers, you deserve all our votes for Mayor. No one else here has the intestinal fortitude to keep answering the same thing over and over and doing it with such grace and getting the same inane responses from him.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 4:22pm.

and give you the day off tomorrow!

Have a good evening and thanks for all you do!

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 3:23pm.

They seem to get to what PTC GOIL reports! See her latest.
The squeeky wheel only gets the grease!

Submitted by Spyglass on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 8:39am.

and it's not because we offer less than neighboring Cities.

Submitted by Doug on Wed, 07/29/2009 - 9:56pm.

The answer is simply, vote the incumbents out office when they support tax increases for stupid reasons.

I agree with Cal and Steve. The people we have now are hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. Cut'em all loose.

Submitted by allegedteacher on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:53pm.

Citizens are capable of imposing term limits by voting out incumbents! Last year, I voted absentee, which gave me the opportunity to look up each candidate's qualifications, voting records, etc., and I voted accordingly. One can, of course, also do the research ahead of time and vote in the traditional way. Politicians might begin their careers with public service as their goals, but they soon become addicted to the power and/or become the puppets of special-interest groups. Vote for fresh faces as often as possible; it couldn't hurt!

Steve Brown's picture
Submitted by Steve Brown on Tue, 07/28/2009 - 6:57pm.

In PTC, the problem is priorities.

The mayor and council decided (1) to pay big bucks to resolve the illegal activity of the DAPC, (2) fund over $60,000 to start a bike race, not budgeted and (3) pop-off 15-minutes of fireworks in lieu of not cutting the hours of the library (the city service used by the most diverse group of patrons, encouraging learning). And so on ...

All of the preceeding "expenses" came at a time when the city was creating deficit budgets in the midst of a decline in revenue.

As for the Developer FREEway (West Fayetteville Bypass), it is exceptionally clear the project is not proceeding for the benefit of the citizenry. Use those funds to pay current debts.

SPLOST II - that's insane.

Submitted by Bonkers on Tue, 07/28/2009 - 5:01pm.

This almost never happens until it must happen.
In fact often just the opposite happens! Aren't we still floating bonds?

Recreation is mentioned as a way to cut PTC budgets. Remember the new library is "recreation" in PTC budget and would probably be the first of that group to go. Althouigh they would prefer to close it half of the time and pay part-time wages rather than lay-off anyone.

Due to security threats and wars, our federal government finds it harder to live within their income. They rarely have done so.

The problem we face however is not the piddling, nitpicking with budgets going on now but how we plan to handle a full-fledged depression! It is obvious that the federal government can not continue to bail out everything as they have the banks and insurance companies, so we have a lot of bankrupcies and foreclosures of homes and businesses to go. That ought to be obvious.

Even if idiots kept raising taxes to support budgets, they couldn't collect them from people who aren't woeking or are working meager jobs.
Of course property can be seized for non-payment of taxes, as was done before, and then sold to banks generally, or wealthy people. Some of this happened right here in Fayette during the last depression.

It seems not solveable doesn't it? It is the cycle of un-controlled and un-regulated business however, and we never learn.
The banks are still paying people millions for a job poorly done because they are the best available!

Let us try not to go the way of past world powers and nearly disappear from the earth.
India did launch an atomic submarine this week, China is going to the moon soon, and Japan, when in dire straits as now, have in the past left their borders for what they need.

Yet we just drink more alcohol, eat more food, refinance often, buy what we don't have to have, and resent sharing what we have.

Submitted by pomsmom on Tue, 07/28/2009 - 7:42pm.

I don't mind sharing what I have. I just want to choose the ones who get my hard earned money. I help my family members who are having a hard time. I give to charities of my choice. I cut spending when necessary. I don't share with people who continue to sit on their butts and let the world support them. I am sharing so much with the FEDS lately that I'm going to have to cut back on my charitable contributions. Unlike certain members of the federal government if I don't pay up they lock me up.

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 07/29/2009 - 4:33am.

Sometimes it is better to leave the decision of sharing to others in order to try and avoid prejudice.
Wasn't talking about the sharing with the Feds---just people.
Do you resent any amount (Net percentage actually paid) to the government? Caesar gets what is his share!

Submitted by allegedteacher on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 2:56pm.

would you suggest as an unprejudiced party for dividing up my "share?"

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 07/30/2009 - 3:25pm.

Suggest: Bernie Madoff and the Enron execs.

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