Monday, April 27, 2009

April Update

It has been awhile since I placed anything in the paper. Seemed like a
good time to bring some issues up to date.

Outsourcing landscaping shaved about $940,000.00 off the budget with no
reduction in services. That translates to about .52 mil in property tax.

Changes I have been pushing for, not without resistance, in The Fred,
Tennis Center and Kedron Center Management should realize savings in the
hundreds of thousands of dollars.

While not popular with candidates, I cannot guarantee there will not be
a .25 to .375 tax increase. You have seen no tax increase pledges turn
quickly into tax increases after elections.

Some savings are postponed expenditures, not eliminated costs.

I oppose a proposed across the board pay cut. That is just too damaging
to the lives or our workers and the economy of Peachtree City.

Taxes, fees and such are how cities receive income. So, the key to our
bottom line is getting more good paying jobs here to fill homes that
fill retail spaces which sell to residents, along with streamlined
budgets, not massive pay cuts and tax increases.

One time income from one time fees on development and other sources are
good when the development is needed and fits Peachtree City. Otherwise
they add more empty space which increases long term infrastructure and
service costs more than they generate income and damage the Peachtree
City Vision, Village Concept and quality of life.

The Cullala Hills development, in example, has great one time fees. But,
putting homes next to Industry and the Airport, with access through the
Industrial Park, is not in keeping with the Peachtree City Vision,
Village Concept or the Land Use and Comprehensive Plans. Nor is it
wanted by the Airport, is discouraged by the FAA and not supported by
the citizens of Peachtree City.

There is no news on the 54 W Light Application. That may take months.

Currently, retail chains are rarely signing leases on new spaces. The
Auto Zone at the new Wilshire shopping center is an exception because it
is a business that thrives in economic bad times.

We can see the fruits of continually building retail space by journeying
to Newnan.

Fayette has the second highest retail square footage in the Metro area,
just behind Coweta. Peachtree City has an over 9% vacancy rate based on
square footage, which skews the real impact of when you look around and
see so many empty store fronts.

Same on the residential front. Why annex, rezone and build when we have
hundreds for sale and hundreds more off the market because they will not
sell or cannot be sold at the current depressed prices?

Jobs first is the key. Don't further discourage people from buying here
by seeing so many empty stores, large lists of homes for sale and
building what detracts from our Vision. Protect home values and
saleability as much as we can.

We recently voted to deny a sign variance for World Airways. When some
seemed to be looking for compromise I made the motion to deny.

While on signs, our Sign Ordinance does not cover increasingly seen
walking signs. Those need to be added next to animated signs in our list
of prohibited signs.

On the mailbox and newspaper issue. One proposal was to mandate
containers be added by mailboxes. I proposed requiring residents to
remove such materials within a fixed length of time or Code Enforcement
can cite them.

As for the Hip Pocket septic tanks discussion, the purpose was to offer
facts, alternatives and solutions. While no problem discussing the
issue, the cost and responsibility resides with the home owners, in my
opinion, as it always has.

On trash and recycling, I strongly opposed mandating recycling and a
single provider for a lot of reasons. I proposed requiring providers to
offer recycling with trash pick up at the same pricing, which at least
three providers now voluntarily do, and adding protections from trash
trucks spillage and leaking on the streets.

With the passage of the requirement to offer recycling your bill does
not increase, you choose to get a recycling container and recycle or
not, there are increased liability requirements to protect your and City
property against damage and there are mandated clean ups for any
spillage and leakage from trucks.

As for the $1.00 charge, litter is an increasing problem. The costs of
clean up have been increasing, one Tru-Green employee is being paid to
do nothing but pick up litter all week and litter and recycling are
related issues. The disappearing landfills are an expense to all of use
as providers have to haul farther and farther to get rid of trash.

I am hoping making at least some of the costs and impacts of litter
visible on every bill will aid in stopping this expensive and easily
curable problem. Stop littering and a lot of expenses will go away. It
costs us all.

When Rockaway Road is redirected, we will loose that big recycling
center as well.

There is a lot to think about on many fronts. Realities are changing and
we need to change with them. We need to preserve and protect our
uniqueness by finding new ways to keep what makes us special and great a
part of our homes and city. We do not need to become Riverdale, the
Northside or everywhere else.

They went the route of Malls, Big Boxes, Big Shopping Centers, high
rises, high density and allowing whatever made the immediate buck. Those
are proving failures. We do not want to now go there ourselves.

People now want to work where they live, not commute. Growth stats
decline from 2000 to date show that. About 38% of Fayette residents now
work within Fayette County. People from Fayette County using Marta has
fallen from around 2,000 to a little more than 700. There are others
that do not commute due to being retired, etc.

Who is elected to the next Council, Mayor and Posts, will have a huge
impact on our future. Build it and They Will Come or Smart Growth
thinking? Deference to developers or the citizens? Village Concept or
something else? More Big Boxes and Big Shopping Centers or restore our
Village Shopping Centers?

We are truly at a fork in the road on many fronts. Time to choose which
fork we will take.

Don Haddix
Mayoral Candidate

No comments: