Mayor, Council need to do more to grow new business revenue


Since the beginning of 2010 with new Mayor Don Haddix and City Council members coming on board, I have been listening to and reading their statements, as well as observing their actions.

Peachtree City’s budget continues to shrink as existing revenue sources decline or are eliminated completely (i.e., SPLOST). It appears that Mayor Haddix’s and the City Council’s efforts to date have been primarily focused on how to cut expenses (mainly services) and possibly raise taxes to balance Peachtree City’s budget.

City Councilman Eric Imker has been extremely vocal with his opinions on this subject and has even added in deriding Peachtree City’s employees. What poor leadership that is.

Back to my point, working to balance Peachtree City’s budget is certainly an important and necessary exercise that needs to be done; however, if this is all that is done, it will not solve the underlying cause of this problem: declining revenues.

I work for a private sector company and we focus our time and efforts equally between new sales revenue growth activities and internal operations/administration cost improvement activities.

Without new sales revenue growth, businesses decline. Without new revenue growth, Peachtree City’s services and quality of life will decline. This, of course, will have a direct effect on our property values, which are already depressed because of the economy, causing them to decline even further.

How important is new business revenue growth for Mayor Haddix and the City Council? Well, at this past March 12 and 13 two-day [council] retreat, the “Economic Development Update” was given 15 minutes out of a total two-day meeting time of 660 minutes. This 15 minutes represented about 2 percent of the total meeting time for this retreat. That is a very telling statistic.

Mayor Haddix and the City Council, who are supposed to be Peachtree City’s top salespeople, should be able to answer these questions. I read through the Economic Development Update to find the new business revenue development information in the plan and found the following:

• “Mission statement: To achieve and to maintain the most reasonable, dynamic and robust business climate in the city by aggressively pursing all avenues of growth for new and existing businesses towards the goal of maximizing employment opportunities, tax base, and quality of life.” Have we accomplished this? How do we know if we have, or have not, accomplished this?

• “Attract high quality new development to Peachtree City.

• “Work cooperatively with partners on the city, county, and state level to attract and retain quality business development.”

I’m glad that these items are in the plan and, I’ll bet they are in the economic development plans of most, if not all, cities and towns throughout our state as it relates to attracting new business. Are these items key differentiators for Peachtree City compared to other cities and towns that we are in competition with for new businesses?

• “Meetings with Realtors/real estate brokers – … update them on the status of developments and to identify what citizens/businesses are looking for and where. Give them a contact name and face within the city as well as an awareness of the city’s commitment to delivering quality economic development.”

Are the entire new business revenue generating activities to rely on Realtors to identify what citizens/businesses are looking for and where? Am I understanding this statement correctly?

To Mayor Haddix and the City Council, I suggest that you manage this issue as a business would manage it. To start with:

• What is your new business revenue goal for Peachtree City for this year — $100,000, $500,000, $1,000,000?

• What are your new business development strategies and activities for Peachtree City to generate new business leads and get new business clients this year?

• What business or industry sectors are you targeting for Peachtree City and why?

• How much time are you spending talking to potential new business clients about moving to Peachtree City?

• What new business revenues do you expect to have closed for Peachtree City within 90 days? Within six months? How about by the end of this year?

Balancing Peachtree City’s budget and performing various administrative tasks, no matter how deeply you immerse yourself in them, will not grow Peachtree City’s revenues. Only new business revenues will.

Unless you have a mindset of focusing on, and spending time on, new business revenue growth every day, it will not happen. The time to really get started on this is now.

Stephen Allen

Peachtree City, Ga.