Walsh lays out PTC Council platform

Tue, 08/25/2009 - 3:54pm
By: Letters to the ...

I would like to share my thoughts on what is facing Peachtree City in the coming years as a result of this recession, and to let you know what I see as the approach we need to take.

There has been a lot in the media recently that indicates the recession is ending, and that the worst is behind us. But there is also evidence that this may be a jobless or slow-growth recovery, and that home foreclosures may continue at a high rate for some time.

With this as a very possible scenario, how do we plan to provide our needed services, and what should happen to our tax rates?

Peachtree City is not in a budget crisis — we are projected to have a $9.2 million surplus at the end of 2009.

Our city manager, Mr. McMullen, anticipates income from the existing tax base of $21.5 million, primarily from property taxes and the local option sales tax. Other normal income will add $4.3 million for a total of $25.8 million income.

But we are projected to have a shortfall of $0.3 million, which is now planned to be made up through a property tax increase.

The argument has been made that the amount per household is very small, so the tax increase should not be a problem for most residents to absorb. And in future years if income exceeds expenses, then taxes can be rolled back.

Well, don’t hold your breath on that. Instead, if we took those funds out of our surplus, we would still have a safe amount for possible future crises, and have more than enough to assure Peachtree City of the highest bond ratings.

If the economic events of 2009 don’t justify dipping into 3-to-4 percent of our surplus, then what does it take?

We’ve laid off employees, and made others shoulder a higher portion of their costs for healthcare. We’ve hiked fees at the Kedron pool, cut hours at the library, and seen our standards for upkeep of our city property decline.

Yet we found funds for a trial motorcycle leasing program for the police, and a bus for the fire department, to be used for public education.

Worthwhile? Yes. Necessary at this difficult time? Perhaps we could have waited.

While I am against raising property taxes under these circumstances, I am for renewing SPLOST, which has been used successfully for many projects around Peachtree City.

SPLOST has brought over $10 million to our city, for road repaving, upgrading the cart paths, and numerous intersection improvements. And we have many projects we still need to do.

If SPLOST is defeated, yes, the necessary projects will still get done. But at the expense of other services: fewer recreational opportunities for our youth, older vehicles for our police and fire departments, higher fees on just about everything.

And projects we would like to do, like connecting isolated neighborhoods to the cart path system, those just won’t get done. And this is not a new tax; it is a continuation of the SPLOST that is expiring.

We may have a slow recovery from this painful recession, and we need this city to be prepared for this. We need to avoid burdening our citizens with higher taxes. And we need to maintain those aspects of Peachtree City that make our community so unique and wonderful.

Meeting these challenges will require a fiscally conservative approach, and I will work hard as your councilman to see that your taxes are used wisely.

Bob Walsh


Peachtree City, Ga.

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mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 6:31am.

Beth, Cyndi and one more - then we will have a real fine 3-2 majority. Sorry Mr. Haddix. Time for some hope and change.

Submitted by totellthetruth on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 6:47am.

You must have made a typo in your previous post. Don't worry though we bloggers have your back and won't let you make mistakes!

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Thu, 08/27/2009 - 7:39am.

I can live without Cyndi, so I'll give Scott "has a full time job" Rowland my vote for mayor and then cast 3 female votes for the council seats. Hope they were smart enough to scatter themselves among the available seats instead of running against one another.

So, Scott "has a full time job" Rowland will have another full time job controlling 3 women and Doug. Sounds good to me.

BTW, we have a weak/mayor/strong city manager form of government, so anyone trying to make a full-time job out of the mayor's position is automatically on my watch out for list.

I hope if Scott gets elected he encourages Bernie to retire and gets in a financially responsible city manager. Steve Rapson would be a good choice. He was great when he was here and in Fulton County as finance director. Bad councilperson, but that was probably the Brown influence. I'd support him for city manager.

Robert W. Morgan's picture
Submitted by Robert W. Morgan on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 5:54am.

Best check on who is running for which seat on council before making predictions like that.

I agree that PTC Mayor is not a full-time job, but bringing back Steve Rapson in any capacity is not a good idea. Besides, I think he moved.

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