Fleisch: Despite national economy, PTC finances are in good shape

The city of Peachtree City recently received yet another AAA bond rating from Standard and Poor’s. This is a huge achievement for the city given the economic climate in which we find ourselves.

Roswell and Alpharetta are the only other cities in the state of Georgia that share in this achievement. Even our country can no longer boast of such an achievement since it was downgraded a couple of years ago.

Peachtree City has been rated twice within two years and both times has ended up with the same high rating.

This country is in the worst economy in recent memory, and the finances of this city have been found to be sound and stable by two independent rating companies.

Despite claims to the contrary, the finances of the city are strong and we should be very proud of that moving forward.

In 2005, when the economy was significantly different than today, the city received a AA+ rating by Standard & Poor’s. Our total budget in 2005 was $27,018,673.

The budget for 2013 is $28,608,355. In 8 years our budget has grown an average of .74 percent a year or a total of 5.8 percent in that time period.

Given the economic times in which we live that too is an amazing feat by our city financial staff who presents the budgets to the mayor and council.

The city of Roswell has an entire webpage dedicated to touting this accomplishment and we should be touting our accomplishment as well. We are fortunate that years of prudent financial planning has allowed us to borrow money at an interest rate of under 2 percent.

Standard & Poor’s cites the following contributing factors as reasons for the AAA Rating:

“Since fiscal 2010, the tax base has declined by 10.3 percent to $1.8 billion in 2013; this equates to a per capita market value of $133,631, which we consider extremely strong. Leading taxpayers account for a very diverse 6.4 percent of the total tax digest. Millage rates were increased in fiscal 2013 to offset declines in the tax digest; however, they remain revenue neutral.”

“The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor’s opinion of the city’s primarily residential nature with direct access to the diverse greater Atlanta metropolitan employment base. The city’s consistently strong finances despite recent past draw-downs for one-time purposes, guided by conservative fiscal management, and low debt provide rating stability. The outlook also reflects our expectation that management will maintain, what we consider, strong finances and the financial flexibility resulting from high reserve levels and forward-looking and conservative budgeting. As such, we do not expect to change the rating within the outlook’s two-year period.”

As we move into another budgeting cycle I think it is important for all of us to note exactly what is going on with the finances of Peachtree City.

Vanessa Fleisch

Post 4, City Council

Peachtree City, Ga.

[Fleisch is an announced candidate for mayor in this fall’s election.]