Unanswered questions about PTC remaining in ARC

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Was the recent vote by Peachtree City Council members Imker, Fleisch and Learnard to ask for a new representative to the Regional Transportation Roundtable, (in effect voting to remove Mayor Haddix from that position) in Peachtree City’s best interest?

Mayor Haddix had floated the idea of moving Fayette County from the Atlanta Regional Commission to the Three Rivers Regional Commission. Had Mayor Haddix’s idea been properly and publicly debated with all the facts known ahead of time so an informed decision could have been made?

When our county becomes part of a larger governmental entity, it is very important that we step back and take a hard look at what the pros and cons of that government entity are. Has this been done for the Atlanta Regional Commission?

Within this regional commission government entity each county will be operating in their own best interests. What will determine the hierarchy of any county’s influence and strength within a regional commission?

Let’s be honest, some counties will be “more equal” than others. And what makes some counties more equal than others? Population, specifically, voting population.

As a hypothetical exercise; which county within a regional commission will have more influence and strength to get what is in their best interest, the county with a population of two million or the county with a population of half a million?

Which Georgia regional commission is best for Peachtree City and Fayette County, to be part of, the Atlanta Regional Commission or the Three Rivers Regional Commission?

Question 1: Which regional commission will have higher taxes for Peachtree City and Fayette County, Atlanta or Three Rivers? When it comes to any tax, lower taxes are preferable to higher taxes. The Atlanta Regional Commission will have much higher taxes.

Question 2: For the taxes that we will have to pay, which regional commission will provide Peachtree City and Fayette County the best return on our tax dollars? If Peachtree City and Fayette County end up losers by having a net loss on the taxes we pay into any regional commission, then that is a bad deal for Peachtree City and Fayette County.

Will the Atlanta or Three Rivers regional commission end up taking more tax dollars from Peachtree City and Fayette County than we will get back from them? It is looking like Peachtree City and Fayette County will be net tax revenue losers in the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Question 3: Which regional commission will provide Peachtree City and Fayette County with the best position of influence and strength from which to negotiate and control our own destiny?

The Atlanta Regional Commission is composed of Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton, Henry, Douglas, Cherokee, Rockdale and Fayette counties. Which of these counties within the Atlanta Regional Commission will have the most influence and strength? Which counties will have least?

The Three Rivers Regional Commission is composed of Coweta, Carroll, Spalding, Butts, Pike, Heard, Troup, Meriwether, Lamar and Upson counties. If Fayette County was in this regional commission, would be our position of influence and strength be better than what it currently is within the Atlanta Regional Commission?

Within the Atlanta Regional Commission, look at what has happened to the likes of DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb and Gwinnett counties. Are they unique communities to live in or, are they part of a very large, densely populated and continuous population growth emanating from Atlanta and Fulton County?

Did being a part of the Atlanta Regional Commission help this urban sprawl develop? If these counties had it to do over again, would they do things differently?

Given the above history of DeKalb, Clayton, Cobb and Gwinnett counties’ development and growth pattern being located so close to Atlanta, what do we think will happen to the other “close to Atlanta” counties of Henry, Douglas, Cherokee, Rockdale and Fayette counties over the next five or ten years?

If you believe lots of housing development and population growth are good things, especially if you profit from them, you will want this same type of massive development to happen in Fayette County. If you do not want this massive housing development and population growth, then something very different needs to be done for Fayette County.

Question 4: Which regional commission will help to maintain and protect Peachtree City’s and Fayette County’s quality of life?

Our quality of life is based upon safe and stable communities; low population density and traffic; open spaces, an idyllic environment; good schools and family friendly activities. Does the Atlanta Regional Commission have a strong history of protecting and maintaining the quality of life of their counties, or do they have a track record of doing the opposite? How will massive housing development, population growth and urban sprawl change our quality of life?

Question 5: Which regional commission will be the best for Peachtree City’s and Fayette County’s property values? Will higher Fayette County taxes or lower Fayette County taxes be better for our property values? Will operating at a net loss from our regional commission taxes have a positive effect or a negative effect on our property values?

Will operating from a position of weakness within a regional commission have a negative effect on our property values?

Conversely, will operating from a position of strength within a regional commission have a positive effect on our property values? Will massive urban sprawl have a positive effect or a negative effect on our property values? Will lowering our quality of life also lower our property values?

Being so close to a large city like Atlanta creates a tremendous momentum for housing development, population growth and urban sprawl on its own without any assistance from other entities, like the Atlanta Regional Commission.

There are many benefits to our location [near] Atlanta. There are also many pitfalls that are easy to fall into, and, once we have fallen into these pits, we cannot get out.

We will not be able to undo mass transit once it has been built in Fayette County. We will not be able to undo massive housing development and population growth once it has been done here. We will not be able to undo urban sprawl, traffic congestion and crime once it has been established here.

What we need is a very strong bulwark to stand up to this strong momentum from Atlanta and Fulton County to properly control our own destiny, quality of life and help protect our property values.

So, is being part of the Atlanta Regional Commission the best way to achieve this control over our own destiny, quality of life and protection of our property values? Or, is membership in another regional commission, the Three Rivers Regional Commission, a better way to achieve this?

We in Peachtree City and Fayette County are at a serious inflection point in our evolution as a rather unique and distinct place to live. The urban sprawl and housing development momentum from Atlanta and Fulton County is banging on our door. The quality of life reasons many of us chose to live here and pay the prices for our properties that we paid is in the balance.

What will we be saying five or ten years from now when we are asked what life used to be like in Peachtree City and Fayette County? Will we say that it is still a great place to live, work and play, or that it used to be?

The vote by Peachtree City Council Members Imker, Fleisch and Learnard to make a motion asking to have a new Fayette County representative for the Regional Transportation Roundtable was one of the catalysts needed by those who want to keep Fayette County locked into the Atlanta Regional Commission and not consider another such as the Three Rivers Regional Commission.

Was this vote cast after all the facts had been properly discussed and publicly debated, or was it done using the same “ready, fire, aim” approach as was used with this year’s DAPC funding votes by these same three City Council members?

Stephen Allen

Peachtree City, Ga.