Peachtree City will spend nearly $45,000 from its ample cash reserves to beef up its mowing schedule for secondary roads, and add two “color” plantings to City Hall for the rest of the calendar year.
The additional mowing will restore the mowing frequency on secondary roads, such as Hip Pocket and Golf View, to the same levels the city used prior to the 2009 switchover to the private contractor TruGreen. That change allowed the city to save a projected $840,000 by laying off 23 public works employees as the city faced a pending budget deficit upwards of $3 million.
The reduced mowing schedule has been one of the top citizen complaints about landscaping, said Public Works Director Mark Caspar.
The additional mowing of secondary roads will increase from eight to 13 times for the rest of the year, Caspar said. The cost for the additional mowing was just under $41,000.
Also approved by council was the addition of two herbicide sprayings of grass adjacent to curb and gutter areas.
Council declined to add other proposed enhancements to the landscaping contract with TruGreen, including $35,000 for “subdivision enhancements” along with $16,189 for additional servicing of subdivision landscaped areas.
Also dumped was just over $7,000 to mow the city’s four fire stations, meaning that firefighters will continue to handle that chore in-house.
The city also declined to spend an additional $11,471 under the proposal from TruGreen. Instead, the city is reorganizing its cart path maintenance team to handle the extra work in-house, Caspar said.
The additions to the city’s landscaping contract will last through the remainder of the calendar year.
The curb and gutter herbicide spraying will occur twice over the rest of the growing season.
The funding will come from the city’s reserve fund, and that was reason enough for Mayor Don Haddix to vote against the proposal in a 4-1 vote. In favor of the expenditure were council members Doug Sturbaum, Vanessa Fleisch, Eric Imker and Kim Learnard.
Haddix said he is concerned about the city’s budget for next year since the property tax digest is slated to take another hit with the sluggish economy.
“And I’m worried about all the new spending that’s being proposed and how we pay for it,” Haddix added.
Fleisch asked if the new plantings at City Hall for spring could be done by May 12 for the beginning of the spring conference for the Georgia Planning Association, which the city is hosting. Caspar said he felt confident TruGreen could make that happen.
The additional plantings, once in the spring and once in the fall, will cost $1,157.
Sturbaum said he saw the need for the plantings at City Hall, especially since it is the backdrop to a number of photos taken to promote the city.
In addition to funding the cost from the city reserves, council also voted to use leftover money in the budget line item for City Council training, about $4,500.