Post 3 candidate Mark D. Gelhardt, Sr. answers The Citizen’s questions

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Mark Gelhardt, Post 3 candidate
Mark Gelhardt, Post 3 candidate

Mark Gelhardt moved to Peachtree City in 1999 after 22 years in the U.S. Army, which included a stint serving in the Clinton White House. Describing himself as “a Republican with conservative values,” Gelhardt has also been a volunteer firefighter in Peachtree City for 10 years and is a member of Post 50 The American Legion and the Post 9949 Veterans of Foreign Wars.

In his first run at local political office, Gelhardt responded to The Citizen questions with this comment: “NOTE: I find many of the questions asked by the Citizen Newspaper to be leading and slanted questions. However I have tried my best to answer with as direct a response possible. I am more then glad to explain in great depth my answers to all these issues if anyone reading these short answers would like more information from me. Contact me at MarkDGelhardt@gmail.com or see my website at www.gelhardt.org.”

Below are questions from The Citizen and the candidate’s answers following each question.

QUESTION 1: The City Council this year declined to roll back the millage rate for city property taxes even though we are experiencing the worst inflation in the last 40 years. The resulting surplus will be 50% of yearly expenditures rather than the required 31%. Do you agree with their vote? Why or why not?

ANSWER: Yes I agree with keeping the millage rate flat at this time. No one knows were the economy is going and no one knows if the SPOLT will be re-voted in again. The city must think strategic for the long term. Just like the citizens, the city will also have to deal with inflation; inflation in all our contracts, and in everything they have to do, the city will need funds to deal with inflation.

QUESTION 2: The previous City Council voted to abolish a popular decades-long moratorium on constructing more multifamily housing, despite the fact that — without rezoning — the city is considered by many to be “built-out.” Give your position on the council eliminating the moratorium and explain your position on building more multifamily housing. Specifically, will you vote to build multi-story apartments in the city? Why or why not?

ANSWER: I am not in favor of building multi-story apartments in the city.

QUESTION 3: The City Council has voted for land zoned commercial, industrial, and office/institutional to be rezoned for residential zoning. Do you agree with that strategy? Why or why not?

ANSWER: I am not in favor of changing commercial zoned area to residential. We need the commercial zoned areas to help the city with its tax base, as industry pays higher taxes then residential.

QUESTION 4: A majority of the City Council recently approved changes to the city’s comprehensive plan that would allow developers an avenue to build more multifamily housing in mixed-use and stand-alone formats across the city. Do you agree with the changes to the comprehensive plan allowing more multifamily housing and why? If you do not agree, would you vote to remove the recent changes to the comprehensive plan? Why or why not?

ANSWER: The city “Comprehensive Plan” is only s strategic guide for the city. This document is not a law, it does not change ordnances, it does not change zoning. As needed the city can change this strategic guide any time it wants. Any strategic plan or guide will change over time just like I am sure our city plan will.

QUESTION 5: Many residents have spoken out against the concept of “mixed use” developments — defined as multi-story buildings with retail on the ground floor and multi-family or condos on second- and even third-story buildings. Would you vote for that concept? Why or why not?

ANSWER: I am not in favor of “mix use” development for PTC. Peachtree City was not built and envisioned to have mix-use development, that is not who we are as a city. Our village concept has served this city well and is why many people have moved here.

QUESTION 6: Do you foresee the need to build any new government facilities in the city? If yes, what would you like to see built, and explain how you would fund the construction and the annual maintenance and operations?

ANSWER: Yes, there is a need for new city facilities – the Fire Department has discussed the needs for a south of city station (old animal shelter area) and maybe a west of city station (off MacDuff Pkwy). Both of these stations have been discussed to provide timely service to our citizens in these areas of the city. Moneys have already been set aside for the outyears for the Fire Department. As a life member of the fire department I understand the needs to respond within certain time frames to keep our ISO 1 rating and lower tax rates for our citizens.

QUESTION 7: Will you support annexations to increase the size of the city? Why or why not?

ANSWER: Annexation should not be used by the city just to make the city larger. However, annexation is a necessary tool to be used when needed, to assist the city in addressing issues. I have an open mind on any annexation request and will address each request on a case by case basis.

QUESTION 8: The City Council has been criticized for restricting citizen comments in council public meetings, both the limited time allowed for each speaker (twice less than 55 seconds per speaker) and the limited number of people allowed to speak. The council divided the allotted 20 minutes by the number of speakers, rather than extending the 20-minute limit. Where exactly do you stand on allowing citizens who make an effort to attend a public meeting to be able to comment? Would you vote to extend the time allotted for the public to speak rather than cut each speaker’s time to fit within the limit? Why or why not?

ANSWER: No I would not vote to extend past 20 min citizens comment time at the scheduled city council meeting. A scheduled city council meeting has specific items that must be addressed and accomplish during the meeting time frame. Citizens input is very important and is a must for the city council to do their job, the problem is most issues are complex, written comment with suggestions prior to the council meeting is a much better way to address complex issues. I would look forward to receiving information before the city council meeting, via email, letter, or petition, stating issues and the suggested solutions.

QUESTION 9: Have you read the city charter and ordinances for Peachtree City? Why or why not?

ANSWER: Yes I have reviewed city information, but by no means am I an expert on all the city ordinances. However, I do know where to go to get information when needed.

QUESTION 10: Have you read the Georgia Open Records law and the Georgia Open Meetings law? Why or why not?

ANSWER: Yes I am very formulary with the Georgia Open Records & Open Meeting Laws. I have worked in National and State positions both in my military roles to include working at The White House for over four years and in my civilian career working in banking that has many regulations on information. I have had to deal with these types of laws and regulations my whole working career.

QUESTION 11: Do you have any comments on your positions on issues facing the city?

ANSWER: Comments on other city items/questions/my platform can be found on my website https://www.gelhardt.org/the-to-do-list-for-ptc-my-position/

Mark D. Gelhardt, Sr.

Candidate for Post #3, PTC City Council

www.gelhardt.org

8 COMMENTS

  1. Nothing delivers more satisfaction than triggering Democrats!

    You people make me laugh….normally I wouldn’t do this…but to help your small brains understand….

    The candidate said “SPOLT” instead of SPLOST”. See, he switched the L and the O. So in my mocking of the candidate I said “PeachCity Tree”. I switched the City and Tree. Like he switched the L and O. I’ll find an elementary student to explain if you still require further clarification.

    You people are pathetic. And yes, I assumed the candidate’s gender and assumed the fellow commenters identify as people. I’m sure this is gonna infuriate The Left even more!

    I DO NOT trust anyone with my money or the welfare of my city if said person can’t correctly identify the name of a major instrument used to collect and spend revenue.

    I DO trust that if Mr. Beverly made a typo he would correct it.

    I DO NOT trust either of you (Biloxipro or Patti S). The emotional magnitude of your response suggests you have a personal connection with the candidate. I commend you rushing to his defense…but perhaps instead you should encourage your friend to, well, be more than a lack luster candidate.

  2. BUFFDriver, just exactly WHERE is this “PeachCity Tree” that you speak of?? 🤔

    See, those who live in glass houses in “Peachtree City”, shouldn’t throw stones. But maybe you don’t even live ‘here’ since you don’t know the correct name of our city! 😳

    Regardless, if YOU can’t say anything nice, maybe you shouldn’t say anything!

    • PeachCity Tree is a municipality in Georgia that uses Special Purpose Option Local Tax (SPOLT) to collect revenue for various projects.

      Everywhere else in Georgia uses the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

  3. BTW…. he would be spending “Peachtree City’s tax dollars buddy!” Gotta at least know the city is called that you live in, if you’re going to have any say towards those that choose to represent us, buddy!!!

  4. BTW…. he would be spending “Peachtree City’s tax dollars buddy!” Gotta at least know the city is called that you live in, if you’re going to have any say towards those that choose to represent us!!!

  5. Seriously? Never even considered it was a typo, eh….. Never even considered it huh? Just went straight to assuming he doesn’t have a clue what SPLOST is. Even though, anyone that can tie their own shoes is well aware of what SPLOST is! Nope… your first assumption is that you’re so much smarter than this man and you needed to quickly jump on here and point out that “he doesn’t even know what SPLOST is. ” Did you get beat up a lot as a child? I’m guessing yes, a lot! Any normal, higher thinking person, would have assumed it was a typo by the writer/editor of this piece, Cal Beverly, as he does sometimes make mistakes just like the rest of us and if his hands are anything like mine, those tiny keys can be menacing at times and typos happen. You really should think, before you comment, it would serve you well in the future. Just a little advice from someone that rolled his eyes as soon as I read your first sentence. Bless your heart.

  6. Can’t get past his answer for the first question…what exactly is a SPOLT?

    If he is referring to the SPLOST, then he loses a lot of credibility in my eyes. Gotta at least know what the program is called if you are going to have any say over spending PeachCity Tree tax dollars buddy…