Budget crunch looms for new PTC mayor


Last week’s runoff election for the mayor’s post in Peachtree City ended with current Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch wrapping up the win with 72 percent of the vote over challenger and former Mayor Harold Logsdon.

Fleisch earlier on election day had arranged to meet with city staff the next day on the offhand chance she might win, and thus her unofficial work as mayor had begun.

Fleisch will be the city’s first female mayor. The city has not yet certified the election results and Fleisch won’t be installed as mayor until Jan. 1.

The election results have sent two mayors into political retirement: Logsdon, who was mayor from 2005 to 2009, and the man he sued for libel two years ago, current Mayor Don Haddix, who came in last in a field of five mayoral contenders in November.

A grinning and hugging Fleisch was giddy at the outcome of the election at her election party at the Grazing Here restaurant.

Fleisch said she was excited for the city and glad to be “moving forward.” She also said she was looking forward to working with her other council members including new councilmen Terry Ernst and Mike King, re-elected Councilwoman Kim Learnard and holdover Councilman Eric Imker.

One of the biggest challenges facing the council in the upcoming year will be finding about $1.5 million a year in funding to cover the city’s road and cart path maintenance needs. A special sales tax that would have done so failed at the polls countywide, and thus council must come up with a “Plan B” for the work.

Council can look into options including a property tax increase, a general obligation bond that would need voter approval, cuts to the city budget, waiting for revenue increases or a combination of some or all of those options.

Meanwhile the city is poised to benefit this calendar year from a significant amount of sales tax revenue from its share of the county sales tax on activity at the about-to-open Pinewood Atlanta Studios which is located in the city of Fayetteville. While that revenue won’t cover the full $1.5 million road and cart path tab, it could turn out to a sizable enough chunk to make a difference.

The city is also eyeing another facilities bond to rehabilitate older buildings and infrastructure, having spent nearly all of the $3 million facilities authority bond authorized last year by council.

Another potential issue for the near or medium-range future of the city is whether property owners will be able to proceed with development of the annexed area in Wilksmoor Village. If so, that would allow for MacDuff Parkway to be extended further northward with access to Ga. Highway 74.

The catch is that extension is required to be constructed before a certificate of occupancy is issued for any lot in the development, and the new road will require a bridge to be built over the CSX railroad track.