Councilman Terry Ernst announces for mayor

9
2056

My name is Terry Ernst and I am running for Peachtree City Mayor.

I love our beautiful city. I have lived here for 32 years. My wife, Joan, and I raised our family here and there is not another place we would rather be.

I am retired from the Army, retired from a 20-year career with the Peachtree City Police department, and I will be finishing my second four-year term on our City Council in January.

I would be honored to be the Mayor of Peachtree City. When I initially ran for Council, I promised to do my best to contribute to maximizing the solidarity of the Council for the betterment of our city. Over the past eight years we have done just that.

I am not saying we agree on every issue. What I am saying is that once a decision is reached, and a vote is taken, we as a Council support that decision 100%. That is how effective leadership works.

I am here for the people of this community. As a public servant of Peachtree City, I am committed to fulfilling my duties to you by listening to the citizens and creating a partnership between City Council, citizens, and staff to make the best possible decisions.

My foremost concerns, not necessarily in the order of importance, are as follows:

• The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has allocated Peachtree City $10 million for improvements to the Highways 54 and 74 intersection. I encourage you to watch the video on the city website to see how GDOT plans to make these improvements. This will not include a $60 million overpass. Besides the cost, the necessary space needed to do that would mean losing parts of the Avenue, Westpark, and Longhorn.

I am not in favor of time extended green lights on Highway 54 West, making Peachtree City residents wait at connector roads such as Planterra Way and McDuff so Coweta County drivers can move more quickly through our city.

• Public Safety is always a priority. We need to do everything necessary to maintain a quality police department and fire department. This is accomplished by employing the best qualified police and fire personnel by providing market-based salaries and benefits.

• Promote redevelopment in our city. Improving our infrastructure is key to our city’s future. As stated in the Athenian Oath, “…we will transmit this City not only, not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

• No more apartments! I have never voted for apartments in my eight years on City Council and I never will.

• We obviously need to continue to allocate funds to maintain our city roads and cart path system, city facilities, and infrastructure. We cannot fall behind like it did several years ago.

• A sewer system needs to be installed on Huddleston Road as well as other parts of the city.

• Taxes are necessary for a city to operate. You pay taxes based on your property value. If your property value goes up, you pay higher property taxes. Our city is in the best financial shape it has been in for years. We were able to maintain our millage rate and increase our reserve funds, all the while recovering from a recession and dealing with the monetary repercussions of a pandemic. We are in this shape because your City Council planned. That is what forward thinking leaders do.

• Our city’s uniqueness is largely based on its green space and village concept. We need to preserve these.

I feel confident that I have served Peachtree City faithfully on City Council for the past eight years and I would be honored to continue to serve the citizens of Peachtree City as your next Mayor.

Vote Terry Ernst for Mayor

Better for Peachtree City

Terry Ernst

Peachtree City, Ga.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Terry as far as I can tell you’re a fine person and a humble servant who doesn’t beat his chest with his fist like two other former loudmouth mayors. Plus you’re a fellow Hawkeye, so you got my vote. Unless you say you pull for Iowa State….:then we need to talk.

  2. Terry, I would disagree with you that PTC is in great financial shape. If PTC is in such great financial shape, then why is PTC placing an unfair tax burden on the backs of its youth? In PTC, children who participated in PTC recreational sports programs (soccer, baseball, lacrosse, softball, etc.), are being taxed to use PTC recreational facilities. Each child pays to the city an impact fee, each season, they participate in a PTC recreational sports program. That impact fee is supposed to be used to sustain PTC recreational sports facilities (indoor and outdoor). This impact fee is in addition to the portion of their parents’ property taxes, that are allocated to PTC, to sustain PTC parks and recreational assets. Now, the youth of PTC are being forced to pay for the electricity, that their recreational sports programs use, at PTC recreational sports facilities. Soccer, baseball, lacrosse, and softball recreational sports programs are being forced to pay upwards of $10,000 a season, to use the lights at PTC outdoor facilities. That is over $20,000 a year, from each and every recreational sports program. So why, are the children carrying this tax burden, when PTC is in such great financial shape? I would think that between the PTC specific impact fee, that each child pays, for each season they play recreational sports and the property taxes their parents pay; that PTC would have more than enough money to sustain PTC’s recreational sports facilities.

      • All players pay an impact fee. Residents of PTC pay less, than a resident from Fayette County or a resident from outside of Fayette County. No other City – Senoia, Sharpsburg, Newnan, Tyrone, Fayetteville, Brooks either charge their residents or non-residents an impact fee. I know of NO OTHER municipality in Georgia that charges their recreational sports team the costs associated with electricity used to light their fields, to light City installed security lights, or the electricity used by a recreational program’s concession stand.

    • What Ernst actually said is that Peachtree City “is in the best financial shape it has been in for years”, and that is objectively true. However, I think that has less to do with Ernst specifically or the Council in general. I think most of the credit for that should go to City Manager John Rorie.

      The private sports groups, which aren’t always non-profit, and often include non-resident players, get exclusive use of the facilities that were paid for by taxpayer funds. Their activities often prevent taxpaying citizens from being able to enjoy these facilities at reasonable hours. It is appropriate to charge a fee based on activity level. In 2019, PTC Girls Softball Association paid $13,820 for occupancy, rent, and utilities which comes to just 14% of revenue. PTC Lazers paid $71,460 in field use fees, which is also 14% of revenue. This seems very reasonable, and has minimal impact on registration fees that the children’s parents have to pay, particularly compared with some of the other expenses.

      • There are zero private sports groups who have access to PTC owned/operated recreational asset. All of them have permission from PTC to operated, as non-profit organizations, recreational sports, solely under the oversight of PTC’s Park and Recreations Department. Registration fees for all recreational sports have increased every year, solely due to PTC’s demands to have more and more of their operating expenses reimbursed. The actual costs associated with uniforms, umpires/officials, and field prep have increase very little in the over 10 years I have been involved in youth recreational sports.

        • Most of the activities conducted at rec facilities are hosted by private individuals and businesses who receive a form 1099-MISC from the city. (This is good, and is part of the reason why we have such diverse offerings for all ages. A dance or karate class at the rec is a fraction of what local businesses charge, and sometimes its the same teachers. Some are even free.)

          There are actually only a handful of non-profit sports teams in the area, but they almost entirely dominate the use of these facilities. 70% of the costs of maintaining these fields are born by taxpayers. The (FY20 Budget called for $2M to fund rec, but only $606k in program fees to support it.) Yet nearly all of the use of the fields comes from those handful of organized sports teams. And it crowds out residents who want to have unorganized pickup games with friends and neighbors.

          I’m fully aware of your long history of supporting youth sports in this area, and I appreciate what you’ve done for this community. But “rec” isn’t all about “organized youth sports”. It’s about maximizing the benefit to the entire community of facilities that support an active lifestyle. And these days the balance is tipped too far towards these organized quasi-professional sports teams.

    • Good grief. If private sports groups are using public facilities why shouldn’t they help fund the maintenance of those facilities?? The city has zero obligation to provide fields that are used by a small minority of the city population. Suck it up and pay the cost of the sport, if you want your kid to participate.

      • Private sports groups, negotiates with PTC to use their facilities; I am talking about recreational sports programs, that operate youth recreational sports leagues using PTC owned/operated recreational facilities (indoors and outdoors). All of these programs operate under the direct oversight of PTC Park and Rec Department. They all sign facility use agreements on a annual basis and collect a tax, on behalf of PTC, from players, to participate in these programs. This tax is in addition to the taxes, that PTC received from the property tax, that all homeowners pay on an annual basis. No other city Tyrone, Brooks, and Fayetteville charge their residents a tax to use either their City or Fayette County Park and Rec facilities. In addition to this tax, PTC is know charging players the costs associated with using the electricity, a program may use, as part of their sport (indoor and outdoor).