PTC Councilman Imker draws cheers for budget stands

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I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to Eric Imker for his positive leadership as Peachtree City Council member. In his council role, through personal commitment and self-sacrifice, he brought focus and energy to the task of ensuring efficient and transparent PTC government operations.

Until Mr. Imker arrived on council, citizens had no meaningful means of addressing budget concerns in a constructive way (two minute sound bites by citizens at public meetings do not allow meaningful input).

Before Eric Imker, citizens were limited in their understanding the PTC budget proposals by vague budget documents and tight-lipped staff.

Starting with his first of many citizen budget workshops in January of 2010, Mr. Imker shocked us all (pleasantly) with two things we had not seen before in PTC: clarity of budget assumptions, and a willingness to hear in-depth ideas. I believe that this is exactly how good government should operate, with transparency and attentiveness to citizen input.

The budget workshops of 2010 led to Mr. Imker’s now famous list of $2 million in budget reductions (all legal, feasible and well-thought-out, by the way). Had his reduction recommendations been adopted by council, they would have prevented the 24 percent increase in property taxes for Fiscal Year 2011.

The point I wish to emphasize, however, is that Eric Imker followed through on his word to citizens and his own, personal desire to improve PTC.

In this year’s budget process, he did it again. He held citizen meetings, discussed the PTC budget openly and honestly, and combined citizen input with his own ideas and analysis to bring forth a new set of cost growth containment recommendations to the council (for the FY 2012 budget).

This time, the PTC Council is listening. Based upon Mr. Imker’s recommendations, they agreed to consider a revised PTC budget. His revised budget would improve the efficiency of PTC operations and reduce the necessity for future tax increases.

There are rumors that Mr. Imker will run again in the upcoming PTC election for council. I sure hope that he does; PTC needs his continued leadership, especially now.

Scott Austensen

Peachtree City, Ga.