Imker: How to get PTC budget under control

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 4:04pm
By: Letters to the ...

I offer a no-nonsense, plain-talking philosophy where we return to the village concept of the city and stop the crazy rezoning and additional big box stores from coming in.

I am also the candidate of choice regarding the budget for the city.

My philosophy differs from my opponent in that I believe we can and will “live within our means.” I have not surrendered to a tax increase or the continued using of city reserves.

Did you know the city has used over $4 million of reserves in the last three years to “balance the budget”? This is not balancing the budget.

I will continue to campaign on living within our means. I voted NO on SPLOST. My opponent voted YES. Her letter to the editor last week indicates she still wanted this tax increase. She continues to espouse the virtues of all the nice “want to haves.”

Since we both say we’re “listening to the voters,” and over three out of four voters said NO to SPLOST, I question who is really listening to the voters.

The city was going to use some of the SPLOST for road and cart path building, improvements and maintenance. These will have to be delayed because WE WILL live within our means.

Of course certain safety-related maintenance will be done as required. SPLOST was going to pay down debt on several of the city bonds that were issued over the last few years. This is now not going to happen and we’ll continue to pay off these bonds according to the schedule we had committed to when the bonds were issued. No loss there.

We’re still short about a million dollars now for fiscal year 2011. OK, let’s look at other projects that can be delayed. Let’s look at waste throughout government-run operations. Let’s look at efficiencies that can be implemented.

I have experience with budgets, big budgets. I honestly don’t know if my opponent has any experience with budgets of the magnitude we’re talking about.

Are we going to turn over a $25 million city budget and “hope” it gets balanced properly with someone who espouses the easy way out with tax increases or with someone who has a proven record of success?

I don’t have all the answers right now, but let’s not rule anything out. I want to hear ideas from the citizens to help develop our next budget.

There were three other names on the general election ballot for Post 1 on Nov. 3. They constituted about 45 percent of the votes not given to my opponent or me. When I look back at the issues and positions, especially on taxes and the budget, I find myself well aligned with these other candidates.

My opponent seems to be on the fringe, especially based on her letter to the editor last week about taxes and the SPLOST.

I am as conservative as they come and believe we really are taxed enough already.

Finally, I admire Mr. Haddix’s voting record in support of the city village concept. I believe we’ll have some disagreement over how to handle the budget, but you need those types of viewpoints to get a City Council that represents all the citizens.

Let’s not take the defeatist attitude and surrender to the tax increase so easily when we haven’t begun to examine all the options.

Eric Imker

Candidate, Peachtree City Council Post 1

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