Mayor’s Annual State of the City Address: PTC faces challenges for growth

Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch on Jan. 5 delivered the annual State of the City address, highlighting the city’s accomplishments during 2016. Fleisch in her in-depth comments referenced city finances, street and cart path issues, Lake Peachtree, MacDuff Parkway, intersection improvements, economic development and other topics.
Fleisch provided a look-back at the state of city finances during the Great Recession and through the subsequent years.
Referencing the time since the recession caused financial issues and diminished home values, Fleisch said, “In 2016, the average fair market value of a home had risen to $289,000. According to Atlanta Regional Commission statistics, the median home value in Peachtree City last year was $305,000. From 2010 to 2016 the tax digest increased about 8 percent.
“If Peachtree City stayed on its path of disrepair and lack of maintenance it is safe to assume that the tax digest would not have gone up as it has over the past three years. Costs to maintain the green spaces and parks across the city will continue to rise as the city gets older, and staying on top of the maintenance issue needs to be a priority,” she said.
Fleisch noted the importance of keeping up with the maintenance and resurfacing of streets and cart paths.
“While some roads were resurfaced last year, at least 64 miles have degraded to the point where they will need to be redone. The estimated price on resurfacing 64 miles of road is $30 million. To put that in perspective, the total budget for Peachtree City is $34 million for 2017,” Fleisch said. “Our public works crews resurfaced nine miles of cart paths last year which is a record and a benchmark for what can be done in the future.”
Turning her comments to Lake Peachtree, Fleisch reviewed the history of the recent dredging activities and upcoming plans to install a new spillway.
“Getting information to citizens about the spillway construction and dam enhancements will be a top priority for the city staff for the duration of the project,” said Fleisch.
Also included in the address was MacDuff Parkway. The parkway extension is complete and only the bridge at Senoia Road remains to be completed later this year. She noted the improvements for the intersections of MacDuff and Planterra Way with Ga. Highway 54 West.
“The city is now in possession of engineered plans for both of those intersections and construction for both of these areas can be completed once we have the money to pay for them. However, there is a sense of urgency given to these projects because the state is planning on repaving all of 54 this year. Like the spillway, these two projects are on the SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) list for Peachtree City (to go before voters in March)” said Fleisch.
Fleisch also remarked on industrial expansions in the city.
“We need to be business friendly so that we can retain and recruit quality businesses,” said Fleisch. “Our partnership with the Fayette County Development Authority has been key to recent business expansions.”
Fleisch also commented on the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority’s recent bond upgrade, the Falcon Field airport and recreation.
Noting the respect of the police and fire departments throughout the community, Fleisch that the starting pay for officers and firefighters is $38,000.
“Many of our police and firefighters work two and three jobs to provide for their families. It is time that we all realize that times have changed. In order to have the quality of life that we demand, we must pay our employees better than they are being paid,” Fleisch said. “We need to be vigilant and consistent in assessing our pay scale to be sure that we pay competitively to retain and recruit quality personnel, in all departments, to serve our citizens.”
Fleisch near the end of the address noted the upcoming construction of Pinewood Forrest and the reshaping of Fayetteville.
“A significant amount of money is going into rebuilding Fayetteville and we need to stay competitive while not losing the community that we cherish,” said Fleisch. “Very shortly, new homes will be built in Pinewood Forrest and those homes will be competing with 27 year-old homes in Peachtree City.”
Closing out the address, Fleisch said, “We have made a lot of progress, but time does not stand still, and there are more challenges ahead.”