Two articles in The Citizen July 26 edition warrant comment.
On the tax bill, Mayor Fleisch and Council member Learnard, since taking office in 2010 have never voted for a tax cut. They have always voted for tax, fee and other increases for us. This year they’re talking as if we will get a tax cut, but, in fact it is still a tax increase. Smaller than it could have been, but still an increase.
The other issue is WASA. Fleisch said, “”Because of some of the recent developments, I think it’s time now that we look at WASA as well, and its relationship with the city.”
Recent? There’s nothing new with WASA trying to get out from under council control. It’s been going on for decades. In example, in 2007/2008 WASA wanting to take sewer outside Peachtree City was an election issue. Election speak, as if she has been on top if the issue all along, which she never has.
WASA absolutely cannot take sewer outside of Peachtree City on its own authority. It would harm Peachtree City and Fayette County for them to do so. Currently, there’s a lot of undeveloped county land that does not perk, so septic tanks cannot be used on that land. There are a lot of buildings on county land where septic tanks are failing or on the verge of failing. There are legal and financial reasons it is a bad idea.
Developers would love to get their hands on sewer. They could build anywhere. Build at very high density and build in other counties. This removes personal risk, so, don’t want to be in a city or even Fayette? Go ahead and build, WASA will rescue you.
This makes WASA far too powerful in deciding what Fayette will be in the future.
So, let us take a look at the four options offered:
“Option 1 would be to consider petitioning the local legislative delegation to amend WASA’s enabling legislation to expressly require City Council approval of extra-territorial expansion.”
This is the best of the four. They might even look at disbanding WASA and creating a new authority with the exact legal requirements needed. It also would allow picking a totally new board of directors.
“Option 2 could be to amend the enabling legislation to reconstitute the WASA board with a majority or all of its members constituting the membership of the City Council.”
And “Option 3 would be to amend the WASA enabling legislation so as to fold WASA into Peachtree City as a department.”
Horrible ideas. No one on council or staff has any idea how to run a sewer utility. You would have a new board every two years with possibly new agendas that give no ongoing consistency.
Look at Fayetteville. Remember them wanting the county to take over their water? How about the current issue of wanting to extend sewer to a development in the county? Or county water? There are still water quality issues. Large numbers of people are still installing water filters and buying bottled water.
Look at stormwater. Be aware that the current Peachtree City bond is running out so there will be yet another stormwater fee increase and more taxes. Just a question of how soon, not if.
Via the SPLOST, we’re paying for the county stormwater that does not serve us while still paying for Peachtree City stormwater on top of it.
“Option 4, according to Welch and Tillery, is the least durable option. It is one that would have the city enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with WASA. IGAs, the attorneys noted, can be terminated.” Not even worth considering.
Note mayoral candidate Imker has been supporting Option 3.
A lot of very important issues to consider here, especially in an election year.
Peachtree City, Ga.
[Haddix is a former councilman and mayor of Peachtree City.]