Imker outlines mayoral positions

The 2017 Peachtree City mayoral election is about four months away and this will be the first time in many years when there is a clear difference between the candidates. It is more important than ever that voters have a chance to see those differences before aligning themselves with a candidate.

Please do not vote for someone just because you know them or by the number of yard signs you see. Presented below are facts about the voting record on file at City Hall. Vote for the candidate you find is more in line with the interests of the citizens of Peachtree City.

The mayor voted in 2014 for an unsustainable, nearly $1 million pay raise requiring higher taxes and using the city’s emergency cash reserves the next two years to pay for it.

The mayor voted to add yet another traffic light on Ga. Highway 54 that has only increased traffic congestion.

I voted against those things.

I voted against accepting the empty assurance from the developer that the MacDuff Parkway extension would be completed by September 2015 in exchange for allowing more homes to be built and occupied.

The parkway is still not complete. The latest target date is now fall of 2017. The mayor voted for the developer breaking the promise to our citizens not to allow more occupied homes.

I did not support the outrageous Great Wolf water amusement park.

I voted against changing zoning from Industrial to Residential near the railroad tracks along MacDuff Parkway. Why did the mayor support this change knowing Residential is a drain on our General Fund while Industrial adds to our General Fund?

The mayor voted to require the taxpayers to fund the now $700,000+ cost of the MacDuff/Hwy. 54 intersection improvement, a cost the developer had agreed to pay. Of course I voted against this. There has yet to be any explanation of why this vote went the way it did.

The mayor voted to use $2.5 million of SPLOST money for an Arts Center without all the financial data being provided and understood. Fortunately, the County Commission realized there was no legitimate information on the project and voted it off the SPLOST list.

I will not pretend that traffic problems on Hwy. 54 can be solved by re-timing the lights or spending more money on traffic studies. The mayor voted for yet another expensive traffic study that already has been shown to have irrelevant cost estimate data.

A $2 million high-speed internet project run by the city government was proposed. I was the only council member to challenge the financials, which didn’t make sense. The project was dismissed.

Here are some of the things that, unlike the mayor, I will do:

• Appoint WASA board members who will work with City Council to bring the sewer system under the city’s Public Works department and lower our sewer rates.

• Reduce stormwater bills and return to once-a-year billing.

• Reduce the millage rate to account for increased fair market valuations.

• Change the city employee retirement plan from a defined benefit (an open-ended drain on taxpayers) to a defined contribution plan, while keeping our promise to current employees by grandfathering them in their existing plan.

• Change the elections of City Council members to even numbered years, saving thousands of dollars and ensure a much greater voter turnout, i.e, less than 20 percent to over 70 percent.

• Implement solutions to cut-through neighborhoods like Planterra Way and Wynnmeade Parkway.

Notice I did not say, “work to.” I will do these things.

Finally, I do NOT accept campaign contributions, unlike the mayor who got 60 percent of campaign contributions from Realtors four years ago.

Weak excuses may be given for the votes taken by the mayor above and you may not agree with all my positions (no one will ever agree with any politician on all votes), but given all the significant differences between the candidates, it’s obvious who the best choice is for mayor of Peachtree City.

I clearly have supported the good things that have happened over the years. Getting our budget back under control (only to have it undone by reckless salary increases supported by the mayor), enhancing Drake Field, extra funding for Public Works for cart paths, etc. — I voted for these things. Don’t think they were only the mayor’s doing.

I want to challenge city staff instead of seeing a council just going along to get along. This will return city staff to their full capability and potential.

Eric Imker
Candidate for mayor
Peachtree City, Ga.