This is a good news/bad news letter, mostly to point out why we need Peachtree City Council members who should be taking better care of our tax money.
Did you know we are getting an extra $1 million dollars each year from what was planned from SPLOST (the 1 cent extra sales tax)? This is fantastic news. Our city is getting an extra $9 million dollars every year (since 2017) instead of only $8 million dollars planned and expected because of the wildly successful SPLOST.
Unfortunately, nobody knows this because council has not said a thing about it. Why? Maybe it’s because our extra tax money is being used to cover mismanagement and cost overruns for projects. To wit …
Remember the $1.25 million dollar overrun for the new spillway? Probably not.
Remember the complete and total giveaway of $1 million dollars to the county every ten years for future Lake Peachtree dredging? Again you probably don’t.
Remember the budgeted $280,000 cost for the splash pad at Glenlock. Do you know the final cost? Guess again. Try $524,000. That’s right! Holy cost overrun.
Remember the $250,000 cost for a 2,000 sq. ft. open air pavilion with no water, no electricity at Drake Field that should have cost $50,000? Bet you don’t. It’s a cement pad with a roof over it. Yes, it’s a very nice pavilion and I like it too but we should not have paid a quarter million dollars for it.
Remember the Community Gardens? No more. They moved it to make room for more homes. Good grief. It was perfect where it was. I’m so sad about this.
Remember how they wanted to sue you if you said anything bad about them? Surly you remember. It was just earlier this year.
Remember all the solutions to the traffic problems they created? Neither do I.
Remember how they voted to add yet another traffic light on Ga. Highway 54 West and then wonder why traffic continues to get worse?
Looking into the future, remember the $9 million that will be wasted on the redesign of the intersection of 74/54. How many times must we tell council, that is not the problem! The problem is all the traffic lights west of that intersection … that they allowed to be installed.
Council needs to tell GDOT and our county commissioners, RIGHT NOW, not to waste that $9 million there but instead invest it in a bypass/alternate route between Fayetteville and Coweta. Why am I the only one preaching a solution? Where are our council members? Oh, that’s right, they just got reelected for four more years so they are on easy street now. This is so putrid.
Remember all the industrial land that was going to bring in taxes so we could lower our property taxes on our homes? Do you remember they rezoned nearly all of it to residential? Industry brings money into the city. Residential costs us money. Can anybody figure out why they rezoned? Realtors must be having a bonanza.
Remember how they almost got their way and inserted Great Wolf Lodge in the middle of one Aberdeen village which would have destroyed it with traffic and noise?
Remember how they warned that if Great Wolf Lodge didn’t go in, the area would have turned into a crime infested slum? How come you don’t remember this? They said it. The area is now a thriving world class hotel/conference center.
Remember, you are still paying your stormwater bill twice each year. This should have been returned to once a year, i.e., half the cost to you by now. This is so infuriating.
Remember this for the future: the current budgeted cost of the new cart path bridge over Hwy. 54 near MacDuff Parkway is $1.675 million. Who wants to bet council busts this budget by at least double the budgeted cost? One buck will get you two if it comes in than less than $3 million.
Looking into the future again, council insists on a cart path “Replacement Bridge” along Hwy. 54 at Lake Peachtree for “only” $458,000. The problem though is this bridge was evaluated several years ago by an engineering firm and certified to be good for another 30 years, as is. Plus, chances this project comes in at the budgeted price is virtually nil.
The current cart path bridge is one lane so you have to wait a few seconds for someone coming the other direction. This is Peachtree City. We’re neighborly, we wait our turn and we say hello when we pass each other. That half million dollars could be used for more needed cart path or street repaving.
This project is being done with SPLOST money and it is absolutely 100% legal to move the money to another SPLOST project like repaving. Experienced council members would know this.
But remember, you recently let 7% of the voting population reelect the incumbents a few weeks ago. This is what you get when you keep reelecting the same politicians over and over again. You keep getting the same mismanagement over and over again.
Next time, get yourself to the polling place and actually vote. No excuses like, “I didn’t know we had an election.” We need professionals in city council, not amateurs. I’m tempted, really really tempted, to run for mayor in two years.
I served on council during the city’s most financially stressful time, 2009-2015. You cannot name a single vote I took during those six years that was not in the best interest of the citizens. I am extremely proud of that.
Plus we got our budget back under control after starting $25 million in the hole in 2009. What a horrible starting point. We had a $24 million annual budget at the time and we were already $25 million in the hole on day one when I started on council. It was a financial disaster but we finally got our budget balanced again in 2014 without needing a future tax increase nor using city reserves in the future.
Now the current council is taking credit for the good times. Their collective backsides have been saved only because the SPLOST passed giving the city an extra $9 million a year to blow on cost overrun mismanaged projects. Remember, if SPLOST had not passed two years ago we would be in so much trouble the state would likely have had to take over our city finances. We need better representation than what we’ve had over the last 4 years.
Should it be Mayor Imker in 2021? I.e., back to proper financial management of our tax dollars, real solutions to our traffics issues and finally decisions made in the best interest of the citizens, not individual council members. Maybe. If no one else steps up with the proper ideas, experience, and willingness to manage the city correctly, I may have no choice but to try.
Peachtree City, Ga.