Haddix: No PTC personnel cuts

Tue, 12/29/2009 - 4:51pm
By: John Munford

New mayor-elect says city needs to improve its tax base by attracting more employers to PTC

Haddix: No PTC personnel cuts

When the New Year rings in, Peachtree City will have three new rookies on the City Council and a familiar face as mayor.

Incoming Mayor Don Haddix, giving a preview of what to expect in the early going, is already ruling out one thing: further job cuts.

“To be honest, when it comes to employees we are actually understaffed, undermanned,” Haddix said. “We actually need two or three more in code enforcement, several more police, staff for the Emergency Operations Center command and operations for the fire department. The administrative staff is always buried and our employees out in the field are always buried.”

But with declining revenue as the city’s sales tax revenues remain stagnant make it impossible to add employees now, Haddix said.

“But contrary to rumor, cuts are not on the horizon,” Haddix said.

In early spring of this year, council eliminated 23 landscaping and maintenance positions in the public works department along with four more jobs in the city’s building department to save a projected $1.34 million in the 2009-2010 budget.

Haddix and new council members Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard will be sworn in after Jan. 1. New councilman Eric Imker has already taken office as there were slightly more than two years remaining on the Post 1 seat following the election. The Post 1 seat was vacated by Haddix in early fall when qualifying began and he declared to run for mayor.

The new council will have to grapple with finding additional efficiencies to save money, particularly since the previous council declined to enact a property tax increase and county voters shot down a special purpose local option sales tax that would have helped ease budget concerns.

“There’s an old expression, ‘Kick the can down the road,’” Haddix said, referring to the previous council’s vote to use cash reserves to balance the budget instead of raising property taxes. “That can got dented, squashed and finally got kicked over the cliff, and I don’t have any intention of following it.”

A big financial priority for council is improving the city’s tax base by attracting more employers, Haddix said. That will help improve the tax base, he said.

Citizens can expect some changes in the way meetings are conducted, if only because the new council members are of like mind on many issues, Haddix noted.

Haddix also wants to change how public input is gathered on controversial issues. He wants the public to have its say in special workshop meetings on such issues, such as the proposal to locate cellphone towers on city-owned parks.

Haddix said he doesn’t want controversial issues “to drag out forever” so he thinks workshop meetings “are the time for public input, not the council meeting” in which council is to make its decision.

Haddix clarified that council will not “shut down” public hearings which are required by law to give citizen input, such as those required preceding adoption of the city budget.

Haddix said city staff has already been tasked with preparing to eliminate the special use permit process that allows developers to apply for special permission from council for stores over the city’s 32,000-square-foot size limit. There is not a pressing concern for that to happen quickly as council will have the ability to vote down each request that comes before it, he added.

City staff is also working on preparing ordinances to create additional buffers along commercial projects to add berms, foliage for screening and setbacks to prevent situations that have occurred with the McIntosh Village and Shoppes at the Village Piazza shopping centers on Ga. Highway 54 West, Haddix said.

City staff is also researching how to proceed with creation of an online forum for citizens to interact with elected officials and city staff. Haddix is hopeful such a forum would become a major conduit of information for the city to the point where it would eliminate multiple phone calls from city residents on the same topic.

It is unclear at this point whether citizens would be allowed to post information and questions directly to the site immediately or whether the information would be moderated or whether the information/questions would be summarized by staff as staff responds to the concerns.

“If we get it in the proper format, it will encourage interaction with citizens and allows them to put ideas to us in a more collective format,” Haddix said. “It’s so much easier than handling everything by email.”

One of the concerns staff must address is how the forum must be handled due to Georgia open records laws.

Haddix said staff’s presentation about the online forum will likely occur at the council retreat scheduled for March.

Staff is also researching the possibility of televising city council meetings, Haddix said.

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Submitted by Save Fayette on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:02am.

The first big savings that Mr. Haddix needs to
do is to combined Fire and EMS with the County.
The city of Fayetteville also needs to do the same.
This will save the tax payers millions of dollars.
It has been proven out. Fayette County is not to
Big to have one Public Safety entity for fire and EMS
for all Fayette Citizens.

Submitted by intheknow on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:50pm.

Save Fayette
You obviously haven't a clue as to what your talking about, and what exactly "has been proven out", other than your ignorance to the subject of Fire and EMS delivery services. One would only have to talk to city officials at Sandy Springs, Milton, Palmetto, Fairburn, Johns Creek and Chattahoochee Hills to find out why they broke off from their County Fire Department, and formed their own Fire Departments the last few years, and these are just a few local agencies whom have done so.
Maybe it might be a "little" more cost effective for some unincorporated Fayette County residents and those in Tyrone, once the city's would eventually be disproportionately subsidizing and funding Fire and EMS for everyone else in the county, as would occur.
One would only have to research a comparison of tax millage on what County residents pay for Fire and EMS, to what Peachtree City residents pay (taken as a percentage of the overall PTC tax millage) to see that Peachtree City residents pay dramatically less in millage for their Fire & EMS services. They are also superiorly covered in fire station distribution and effective this February 1st will also have a better ISO insurance classification (I.S.O. Class 3), which relates to lower homeowner premiums for many Peachtree City residents (additional savings). These savings to Peachtree City residents, the superior distribution of Fire Companies and Ambulances and better insurance rating would all be lost with any combined agency.
Your posting reads like something Bonkers would write, maybe he's talking to himself again (Save Fayette a/k/a Bonkers)

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 7:32am.

Hey, that is not going to happen. People would lose jobs! We could do with half as many corporals (or equivalent) and up!
Same goes for the Police department.
The Sheriff would survive due to it being protected by the state.
It ain't gonna happen! Too political.

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 7:12am.

I have always thought this. The only thing that concerns me is that the commissioners would also try to justify and take over the powers of the sheriff's office by creating a county police force which would be under their control. Then by defunding the sheriff's office they would relegate them to mere jailers and armed couriers for the judges and other gumament agencies.

Just Like Welfare and Socialized Medicine - You Don't Have To Work For It.... THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 7:34am.

By golly you are absolutely correct! I am surprised.

opustv's picture
Submitted by opustv on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:01pm.

Great idea...but you are about 20 years behind the curve. Webcast the meetings live AND make past meetings available to stream to users so that citizens can watch them when they have time or refer back to older meetings. Make the technology and ongoing costs part of Comcast's franchise fee (since we didn't get public access TV in the current contract). Comcast has everything we need to provide streaming video/audio for the city. In addition to providing webcasts of council meetings, video addresses from the Mayor and other officials, coverage of events like the 7/4 parade, new resident info and training (golf cart safety videos) can be part of the service. Lets use this technology to improve communications and save money.

Submitted by Bonkers on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 7:35am.

Won't happen. All we would get would be actors and hidden agendas!

yellowjax1212's picture
Submitted by yellowjax1212 on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:24am.

"A big financial priority for council is improving the city’s tax base by attracting more employers, Haddix said. That will help improve the tax base, he said." - Well that's a big, huge, honkin' DUH!
That's some original, forward thinkin' right there. I can believe the previous group never thought about that.
So how ya gonna do it?
Can't wait for the tax increase Don.
And you thought Obama's favor-ability numbers have plummeted?

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:56am.

You, sir/madame take the cake. The man has yet to take office and you are already criticizing. Talk about sore losers!

yellowjax1212's picture
Submitted by yellowjax1212 on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:14pm.

No sir Mike,
I live in PTC and hope that Don and the new council are tremendously successful.
You people never cease to amaze me.
If Logsdon would have been quoted that the solution to our problem is to attract more employers to the city - be honest - you guys would have put a dunce cap on him and strung him from the highest yardarm.
AND - Read the article. Don pretty much spells out that we have a tax increase.
“There’s an old expression, ‘Kick the can down the road,’” Haddix said, referring to the previous council’s vote to use cash reserves to balance the budget instead of raising property taxes. “That can got dented, squashed and finally got kicked over the cliff, and I don’t have any intention of following it.”
Sounds like Tax Increase to me.
You are right Mike - I did not vote for Don (although I did place a vote for you at one point - something I now regret) but I did vote for the SPLOST (a plan supported by Don but not most of the bloggers here) and I understand that the Mayor's back is against the wall on how to raise revenue. BUT - an again be honest - when everyone's taxes go up Don will no longer be considered the knight on the white horse.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:34pm.

Thanks for being forthright as we share the hope for the success of our new city administration. Whether or not we'd have had to place a dunce cap on Harold is up for debate as it is my opinion that he has worn one proudly for quite awhile already.

I did vote for Don but I voted against the SPLOST for I believe that government at each level must be placed on a 'forced diet' lest they find it convenient to keep delaying the inevitable. I agree with you 100% about the white horse scenario. What I cannot understand is that for a city with in excess of $21M in revenue why is balancing the budget so difficult? Last I looked that would equate to roughly $650.00 per person in Peachtree City-I'll gladly pay that now if we eliminate all the other crap. What say you?

Submitted by wdd5885 on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:12pm.

Please explain how removing the SUP process will change developers desires to locate in PTC? Wal Mart, Home Depot, and Target were all placed here before a SUP process was in place.

David Downing

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:39pm.

Glad to have you aboard Cal Beverly's Bonker$ Express.
We both know market projections bring them in. I will reiterate my point of wishing government entities would all go on a 'forced diet' to balance their budgets and remove existing debt. There is no good reason for our city to be mired in a financial crisis other than mismanagement on the part of others for as long as I have lived here.

I'll go one further: The city keeps a certain debt load so as to maintain the level of staff within the Resource Management Office. We can not play golf today, so why not banter a bit?

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 5:25pm.

Send me a email sometime when you're going to play golf. Would enjoy losing a few balls on your favorite course.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by wdd5885 on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 4:34pm.

Market projections do bring them in, but how is Mayor Haddix and the "like minded" city council going to stop them without the SUP process?

To continue with your "forced diet" euphemism, fed, local and state governments can't stay on a diet. It's too easy for them to raise taxes. How can anyone lose weight when the lid to the cookie jar can be opened with 3 votes? Voting down the SPLOST won't force them not too eat, they'll just eat ONLY in PTC.

David Downing

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:11pm.

OK maybe for you but households with 6 people wouldn't be happy!

Schools (County) get half + of the general property taxes---not in the city budget.

Haddix isn't in yet but he started it with his announcement of NO LAYOFFS no matter what happens to home values and unemployment!

There simply isn't enough money in the budget except for salaries with which to cut expenses.

Plus we do have bonds to pay and tennis centers to fund and maybe even Amphitheaters maybe to fund! We used to get good shows: Glen Campbell, REO, Little Anthony and group, Joan Collins, and the King of Vegas, plus many others----that is until the tennis center took the money! Now we get Clem and the Blairsville pluckers, and Floppin Susy and her mangy entourage.

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:26pm.

I so wanted to see Clem and the Blairsville Pluckers. I just don't know how we will manage 2010 without Floppin Susy, perhaps you would offer us a substitute.

Submitted by Bonkers on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:19pm.

Would you and Don favor charging someone with inappropriate illegal
moves about the tennis center? Yes, even now? Or is it better to cover up such stuff as does most governmental organizations due to embarrassment---as Reagan wanted to about the Admiral and the LTC?

The amphitheater needs Willy, Dolly, Stones, Simon (we had Garfunkel once), George, Put Me In Coach $ Rollin on the river bunch, Oh, the country is still full of talent---old as it is!
They will come for 50 K just as they used to do and will sell out. Even now!

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:23pm.

You think you can get the Stones to play for 50k? You been bonging again?

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 01/01/2010 - 7:55am.

You see, that attitude is the same as those who get nothing done!

Two nights, two shows tickets $100, and sponsorships ought to do it!

Twice that many would pay a $100. Theater makes their dough off Mixed drinks and wine, along with a $50 meal in a box. I could go on.

How about a special section down front with Mik for $350?

No box office sales, just reserved advance seats, ad in AJC. Entertain the $350 guys at the Hotel with Mik and the boys!

Should I go on?

You'd never make a good public relations advance man.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:41am.

the minority sore loser crowd crying out in pain now.

Submitted by PTC Observer on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:32am.

My recommendation is that you keep our opitions open and not make promises that you may not be able to keep.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:01am.

Did you just read the same article I did? Tell me, where did Mayor Haddix make ANY promises?
And what are opitions? Kind of a cross between option and opinion, maybe?

Submitted by PTC Observer on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:57pm.

Yes, I did.

Unless Mr. Haddix is omniscient, I would suggest that he not make any promises that he may not be able to keep.

No need to make mistakes this early; he needs to acknowledge to himself that he has won the election. Leading the city will be more than making potentially hollow promises and using hyperbole.

If he needs lessons he simply can confer with Mr. Obama.

Cute comeback on the typo!

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:28pm.

Omniscient....?? Gesundheit! Your vocabulary is expanding as the day goes on! Is that like clairvoyant? Or omnipotent?

Hey, I wouldn't underestimate ANYONE who pulled off what Mayor Haddix did in this election. The national political parties(as sorry as they are right now)should be beating down his door to get him to write a how-to book on how to win a campaign with no money and no party backing. Someone with these skills should be given all the continued support we gave him in the election to carry out his vision for the near term future of PTC in a very tough environment.

Submitted by PTC Observer on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 10:26am.

Look it up.

I promised Mr. Haddix my vote and gave it to him. As a supporter in the run off I would expect him to reduce government outlays to match income. If he wants to keep current service levels, with a shortfall in income, he will need to raise taxes. Alternatively, he will have to reduce expenses.

He along with the new council will have to be a lot more fiscally conservative than past councils. The way city government is set up, he doesn't really run the show, but he will be out in front and take the blame if things go south.

As I said earlier, he needs to avoid making promises that he potentially can't keep. The size of city staff is dependent on the economy and he doesn't control that. If we have a double dip "recession" then there will undoubtedly be more staff cuts.

Hope my position is clear to you?

As far as his campaign is concerned, his win says a lot more about the lack of participation by the city's citizens than his ability to win using the internet.

Still he is the mayor elect and we should give him and the new council our support. We should also give them our ideas.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:24pm.

You just suddenly ventured into territory that few here will be able to comprehend: basic math. They still think that you don't have to raise taxes, use reserves, or cut personnel. Govt expenses however can be further reduced with some magic wand waving instead without any cut in service.

Another thing: everyone here besides you apparently knows that when a small business or mid-size company decides to move or open in PTC, the job creation and economic impact is INSTANT! Duh! Company ABC announces they are heading to PTC and suddenly 100 new high-paying jobs are filled the next day and everything is up and running. Geez, get with the program already.

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 01/01/2010 - 8:09am.

Didn't we give the Chinese heavy equipment factory free tax obligations for umpteen years? How does that help pay the property taxes anytime soon?

Submitted by PTC Observer on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 10:11pm.

I am afraid that I miss your point concerning business moving to PTC.

However, I agree that nothing in economics is instant.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:13am.

The title of the article itself is a good indication

"Haddix: No PTC personnel cuts"

Followed by:
"Incoming Mayor Don Haddix, giving a preview of what to expect in the early going, is already ruling out one thing: further job cuts."

Yes it's the author of the article saying that an not Mr. Haddix being quoted.

As for:
“But contrary to rumor, cuts are not on the horizon,” Haddix said.

Granted that's not 'promising' anything but I would have liked to here that nothing is sacred and any and all possibilities’ for the future are still open for discussion.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:32am.

Do you think maybe Mr. Haddix might be privy to certain facts that you and I are not privy to? Maybe, since he has been working on this issue for, what, almost a year now, that he has found alternatives to job cuts in the short term, at least? Isn't it a positive sign that we now have a mayor who can find other ways of running our little city than using firings and cash reserves and council meetings where citizens are yelled at for wanting to voice their opinion?

For crying out loud, give the man a chance, will you? He is familiar with our city operations.

bad_ptc's picture
Submitted by bad_ptc on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:42pm.

of information that I an not. That's why I voted for him.

However, I do agree with PTC Observer when they said, "...keep our options open and not make promises that you may not be able to keep."

The old adage of "history repeating itself" comes to mind when ever I hear an elected official telling me, with certainty, that they ‘will’ or ‘will not' do something.

Remember “we will adhere to the land use plan” or "No new taxes" or "Read my lips" or the all time greatest, "I know what best for PTC, better than the citizens".

Like I said, I would prefer to hear that all options are open for discussion rather than some are not.

Once politicians have to start reneging on what they’ve said, their credibility take a nose dive.

I would very much like this new council to not repeat the sins of the past.

Submitted by PTCGOIL on Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:08pm.

You are sooo underestimating this new mayor and council. AND what they will accomplish. And please stop with the new tax threat. Mayor Haddix has addressed this repeatedly.

This mentality you are carrying forward only gives credibility to this past council regime of "Oooh, if we scare 'em enough, they will let us do whatever we want." And that's exactly what they did. Screwed all of us.

Do you really think Haddix, Sturbaum, Fleiss, Imker and Learnard are so short sighted? Give 'em a break, they know what's ahead.

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