‘Keeping PTC green while lowering your taxes’

Tue, 11/01/2005 - 6:28pm
By: Letters to the ...

Mr. Rothley, thank you very much for your letter to the editor, “Thompson plans to tax every PTC home sale,” which was posted in The Citizen on Wednesday Oct. 12, 2005.

First, I’ll address your closing paragraph where you state, “Doubt we’ll see many Realtors for Dar signs in this election cycle,” and “Note to Dar Thompson, Peachtree City is not an island.”

The fact is that over 30 percent of my campaign contributions have come from those who are involved in residential real estate. Why? Because they are smart enough to see the long term benefits of a “Real Estate Transfer Fee” to be paid by those who move into Peachtree City.

They know and understand that charging such a fee will offer much greater assurance that Peachtree City will remain Peachtree City, with its parks, recreation, greenbelts, and golf cart paths, thus retaining home values.

Real estate agents know and understand that future increases in taxes are a much greater deterrent for buying a home versus a one-time fee. Increased taxes are an ongoing burden, year after year, whereas your return on investment of a one-time fee is paid back to the homeowner in approximately the first 30 months after which point the homeowner is now making money as there is no increase in taxes which relate to the specific areas for which this fee is designed: parks, recreation, green belts, and golf cart paths.

Mr. Rothley, you are correct, “Peachtree City is not an island,” but it is one of the only places on this planet that is a planned community which has a pre-determined plan for limiting its population.

With the city’s population creeping ever closer to reaching this projected number, it will become more and more evident that only one of two things can and will happen: an increase in tax to our citizens or a decrease in our amenities as a city, which in turn will mean a decrease in property values. Anyone who can add and subtract can easily figure this one out; it’s a matter of simple economics.

Mr. Rothley, furthermore your letter states that my tax plan will impact current residents who are moving within the city by either upgrading or downgrading. That is not what my plan states.

I am the only candidate who has come up with a variety of thoughts, ideas, and tax plans. I also have proposed a “Deferred Tax Plan for Seniors” which would allow the deferral of city property taxes to seniors that are 65 years and older with an annual income of $20,000 or less.

Dar Thompson, mayoral candidate
Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by rob rothley on Fri, 11/04/2005 - 12:29am.

Dar -- Unlike so many others letters to the editor, your letter was very polite and diplomatic. I appreciate that. You're campaign quality, style, decency, and budget was that fitting of a much higher office. It is too bad that you fail to really focus on the key issues that I have articulated regarding your tax proposal.

You state that I misstated your tax proposal. I took it right off of your website verbatim. Did I miss somewhere where you are only going to tax new residents ... as you stated in this weeks letter? That fact is nowhere within your stated recommendation on your website. How do you plan on discriminating between current and new residents in the tax law? Is that sort of discrimination legal or doable? My concern stands as written in my previous letter.

You missed my whole point on Peachtree City is not an island. Certainly, Peachtree City will ultimately have a population limit... as does Hilton Head Island. The point you miss is that there are tons of opportunity to develop all around our city... unlike Hilton Head Island. Hence, your tax proposal puts our property at a price disadvantage to our surrounding communities.

Hilton Head Island, in addition to cart paths, and strict zoning ordinances has a very big attraction... called a beach with ocean views. Also note, that HHI is a very large investor market, unlike PTC with largely owner-occupied residents. Peachtree City resients will pay an indirect tax due to your proposal. You fail to refute that. You also fail to refute that current PTC citizens that rent, will pay significantly more with your proposal.

So, on a typical house in Peachtree City, all residents buying property will pay approximately 1 years total property tax for the priveledge of buying a home. I could absorb a lot of regular property tax increases for a long time before I would receive a payback on that.

You also do not let us know how much it will cost our real estate professionals to comply with your ordinance. Is an entirely new tax vehicle really needed? If you ask me, I think you hung your hat on the wrong hook with this tax proposal.

You criticize Steve Brown for the tax increases of 22% over four years. Like you, I don't like seeing property taxes increase. But you fail to mention that when Steve Brown took office, the city reserves were depleted, Mayor Lenox and the City Council added new positions and unfunded expense items in the 2001 budget, 9/11 took a significant bite out of revenues, and the city was left with new votor mandates for an expensive library. I think you articulated the inherent increases in costs that cities face as they build out.

The city is now in very good financial shape, reserves have been rebuilt, all key city services have been maintained and expanded, and the city has absorbed the costs of the library from the current city budget. New equipment has already been purchased to improve the cart path system, and many recreational investments and improvements are in the works under our current city budget.

As far as there being a base of realtor's for Dar... I'm not really sure you addressed that point either. From your letter: "The fact is that over 30 percent of my campaign contributions have come from those who are involved in residential real estate."... Interesting. I have a couple of questions. Does that 30% include your own $10,000 contribution? How many different real contributors make up that 30% dollar contribution? Some could interpret that statement to be disingenuous.

Despite your critism the City has done well under Mayor Brown's leadership. I am confident that the city would do just fine under your leadership. Unfortunately, I'd have to give the nod to Steve, as he is certainly worthy of another term in office. I again complement you on your campaign and appreciate your letter as well.

Rob Rothley

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