What are we getting for our money, Peachtree City asks FCDA

FCDA Chairman Darryl Hicks. Photo/Ben Nelms.
FCDA Chairman Darryl Hicks. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Representatives of the Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA) on July 10 gave the Peachtree City Council an overview of revenue rationale set to begin its third year. Peachtree City’s contribution previously increased to $146,000 from $80,000, and with it came a switch from a business retention staff to a full-service development authority.

Above, FCDA Chairman Darryl Hicks. Photo/Ben Nelms.

Though the revenue methodology has been in place since the 2016-2017 budget year, council members wanted to hear that they are getting their money’s worth.

Prior to 2016, the city contributed $80,000 for an FCDA business retention staff. The increase beginning its third year means the city is paying $146,047 per year. That increase, said FCDA CEO Joan Young, gives Peachtree City a full-service development authority.

FCDA Chairman Darryl Hicks in commenting on the contributions from the county and municipalities said the FCDA budget formula employed for the past couple of years was based on what was being done by other development authorities in metro Atlanta and beyond. Those authorities often use a per capita formula to arrive at revenues.

Hicks said the FCDA formula includes a $4.25 per capita amount, adding that Fayette is next to the lowest funding level compared to the authorities in metro Atlanta.

Based on a countywide per capita formula, FCDA’s $471,943 budget breaks down as follows:

• Fayette County – $225,696

• Brooks – $2,227

• Fayetteville – $67,766

• Peachtree City – $146,047

• Tyrone – $29,235

• Woolsey – $672

Responding to a funding question by Councilman Mike King, Hicks said, “FCDA is focused on having all stakeholders engaged. It takes this budget to target and recuit and get the companies to come here. We have an obligation to create revenue and have asked the cities and county to give us that latitude over the next few years.”

Present at the meeting, County Administrator Steve Rapson said the projects facilitated by FCDA are all inside city limits.

Commission Chairman Eric Maxwell reiterated that point, saying that, “Projects don’t locate in the unincorporated areas. They go into cities.”

Beyond that, Young after the meeting said that, in recent years, all the projects coming into the county were in either Peachtree City or Fayetteville.

Commenting on the approach used by FCDA, Young said the organization does not use incentives unless it is necessary.

Young and Hicks referenced the six target areas used by FCDA to attract and retain preferred industry. Those target industries include corporate headquarters, film and new media, information technology, advanced manufacturing, aerospace and life sciences.

Hicks during the conversation cited the expansion of Rinnai in Peachtree City. Prior to the company’s announcement to expand, Rinnai had been seriously courted by a neighboring county, including the offer to provide the company with free land.

Young during the discussion dealing with FCDA activities during 2017-2018 said Peachtree City had three “wins” that resulted in $47 million in investments and the creation of 264 jobs.