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Imker goes after WASA

The appointment of volunteers to Peachtree City’s various boards, commissions and authorities — although vetted through an interview process — usually is rubber-stamped by council.

But that was not so Thursday night, as council voted to reject one of the candidates: Tim Meredith, who was to be reappointed to his position on the city’s Water and Sewer Authority.

Councilman Eric Imker put the brakes on Meredith’s reappointment, saying he was seriously concerned about the direction of WASA, specifically citing Meredith’s support for a refinancing of WASA bonds without using the city’s credit rating, which wouldn’t have saved as much money for city ratepayers.

In the end WASA and the City Council agreed to join forces to use the city’s credit rating for an even lower interest rate on the bonds, saving an additional $500,000 over the life of the bonds. That brings the total estimated savings to $1.8 million.

Imker said he was also troubled by WASA “spending a lot of money on public relations and trying to win the hearts of citizens” in what Imker called an attempt to get residents to forget rate increases enacted more than a year ago.

Councilman George Dienhart said he agreed it was not in the city’s best interest to reappoint Meredith, who was not at the council meeting to provide any response to Imker’s criticism.

Because of a quirk in WASA’s bylaws, Meredith will retain his seat for the time being until the city can appoint a replacement. Which will mean reopening the process of seeking interviews, which will take more than a month at the very least.

Mayor Don Haddix cast the sole vote against the rejection of Meredith for the position, saying it will make it more difficult to convince other residents to help the city by volunteering for the sewer board.

WASA is a separate financial arm of the city that operates the city’s sewer system.

Council also held off on naming a second volunteer to another opening on the WASA board, though it appeared that volunteer would be approved handily.

Imker said he is hoping to get the public’s ire focused on the WASA board, which consists of five volunteers. Imker added that he hoped to start a public discussion on the issue, including the rate hike.

Dienhart added that he felt while it wasn’t intentional on the part of WASA’s board, he was “not sold” the board is running it with the citizens’ best interest at heart.

Part of council’s hard feelings when it comes to WASA can be traced to the refinancing deal, as the WASA board initially sought to shake a contractual clause that gives council the final say on any extension of sewer lines beyond the city limits. WASA ultimately dropped that ultimatum.

The rate increase Imker derisively spoke of happened back in October 2010 as most residential customers saw an increase of $20 a month or more, as WASA’s revenue had dropped to the point where it once had to take $400,000 from its reserves to pay its annual debt service. Prior to the refinancing, WASA had to meet an annual debt service of $3.24 million to cover the previous expansion of the city’s sewage treatment capacity.

The drought leading into late 2010 was blamed for much of WASA’s revenue drop, though part of it was related to the loss of one of the city’s largest sewer customers, Photocircuits, which closed in 2006.



So as the mayor, and leader of PTC, did it cross your mind that you should call Council member Dienhart to discuss this in PRIVATE?

Of course not! That's LEADERSHIP in action.

And, did you review your PRIVATE WASA meeting with each member of council...1 at a time? Probably not! That's LEADERSHIP too.

No Leadership - No Policy - No Progress

Troublemaker. Get off your rump and run or do something. You keep stirring it up yet you never take action, you just throw out hurt and hate and the day goes on for you. You need help, you need love in your life; if you call your ranting a life.

Pumpkin - I have done public service, I own a local PTC business (in PTC, not Fayette, Coweta, Clayton where its less expensve to operate but here IN PTC!).

Also, as stated eariler, I plan to do something by investing money to educate people on what has been happening in PTC over the past 4 years so they vote on the issues, not on popularity, lies, half truths and nonsense in November.

It's your turn, what PTC office and/or public service serving on volunteer board or commission have you done?
Are you planning to run for office to support your issues?

If you re-read my post and in conjunction with the surrounding posts including Councilman Dienhart you will see that the Mayor had a meeting with WASA and didn't inform council on a 1 by 1 basis or in executive session prior to the council meeting as to what was discussed. As a result, a WASA board volunteer was not well treated which was wrong. I suggest you re-read it. The only troublemaker here is you with your name calling and caps.

I suppose you now believe Councilman Dienhart who serves on city council is a bully and troublemaker too for challenging the mayor on a situation he created by not reporting back to council. In fact, if you go back over the past 4 years, you might actually find that the mayor does little of that.

How about you get off your rump and get involved! Learn the issues. Your name calling is not accomplishing much, and if you believe strongly in the mayor, focus on the issues and try using your real name.

Thank you

The more I read about our mayor and council the more disappointed I become.

This should never have made it to the paper. I don't have a problem with mayor or council removing anyone from the WASA board if there is a legitimate reason.

What I do expect is that Mr. Imker, the mayor, and fellow council members contact the person to discuss the matter beforehand. Determine why he may have voted a certain way and if necessary, ask him to resign in lieu of publishing this trash in the paper for political posturing. If the gentleman would rather this play out in the paper, then he should have been advised about the vote and offered a chance to discuss this at the council meeting.

I would have more respect had the mayor reject this because council chose to embarass the gentleman who has volunteered since 2002 instead of asking him to resign if there was cause.

Mr. Mayor and councilmen, can you elaborate please.

Don Haddix's picture

Chairman Harman and I sat down and had a meeting, last year, when the arguments about taking over WASA (Imker's long standing desire) the bond issue and their going solo were the big issues. I also had discussions prior on the fee increase.

We had a closed door, very open discussion, where it was all laid on the table with the understanding it was private. We reached understandings and agreements on how things had to proceed for the future, from both sides.

After that meeting, WASA voted to do the bond deal with us and make some changes internally. I made it clear I would not vote to take over WASA, which killed the want of others to do so because the legislature would not vote on it unless it was a 5-0.

Things calmed down, we were moving forward, I called a Special Call meeting for January 30th to finalize the bond. Looking good, I thought.

Also, when these other things settled, I authorized placing the advertising for the vacant positions. We received 3 applicants for four total vacancies. Not even enough to fill the needs. Tim Meredith was continued in his seat until it was filled.

Right now we have two seats filled, one filled temporarily by carry over, two vacant because the one nominee was not seated yet and a vacant alternate position. If one does not show, they have no quorum. If Meredith resigns, they have no quorum and I will do either do a Special Call to fill it with the nominee or add it to the 30th Meeting.

Sewer had never been the easiest to get people to volunteer for. Not a glamorous area, but one that does need good people.

As chair of the interview panel, composed of the City Manager, Chairman, one Councilmember and myself, we did a serious discussion on this issue. I brought up areas of concerns and got commitments. We voted 3 (City Manager, Chair, Mayor) - 1(not Imker) to add Time Meredith to an unfinished 4 year term, and 4-0 to add the other person to the five year term.

The current status now is the same as before, except we have a stalled nominee for the 5 year position.

Taking it over is not the answer. The 20% Reserve requirement is still there, so the rates are not going to decrease. The requirements on a City are tougher than on an Authority, creating other issues. Taking GMA classes on Utilities and talking to cities who own their own, this is a tough area with many facing major challenges. Just look at Senoia.

So, yes, I have done my homework and have done my job.

If people are unhappy with WASA, some need to volunteer to give us new faces. But taking over WASA as the answser? No.

The interview committee kept it out of the Agenda packet. Councilman Imker and others made it an issue.

The only way to remove is for attendance by the Mayor, or voting not to re-seat.

I cannot reject an Agenda Item. This was a complete surprise to me having heard not a single word this was going to happen ahead of time. Talk to Councilman Imker why he did this as he did it.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

<cite>We had a closed door, very open discussion, where it was all laid on the table with the understanding it was private. We reached understandings and agreements on how things had to proceed for the future, from both sides.</cite>

So you had a secret, closed door meeting on council's behalf, without councils involvement, consent or input? This is a huge example of the leadership problems we are enduring. This is my only comment on the subject- I just wanted to clarify what you said...

Don Haddix's picture

No, I had a meeting to determine what my actions would be. I never said I spoke for you or anyone else on Council. Nor did or do I need your consent anymore than you need mine to meet with anyone in matters like this. Plus I said, on the Dais, we had met.

Maybe you also forgot some others spoke with WASA without informing me of their meetings or what resulted? I found that out from someone else. Or that a member of Council emailed a legislator declaring a non factual result we would be sending to them for action?

So, indeed let us clarify matters.

Indeed, enough said.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

I appreciate you clarification. These bullies either cant read or truly cannot comprehend english. You know frankly i think most make comments based on the "he said / she said" gossips. Worse than the women in this town, more like the children.

Keep up the good work.

Every single one of you.

Each of you share blame.

Did any of you ever talk to this man one on one to let him know why you were going to crucify him in public?

It's not the fact that you want him replaced. It's the fact that non of you showed any leadership here, except when you want to play big shot when the microphone is on.

Mike King's picture

Perhaps the two of you need to start a dialog about what is best for the city in which you supposedly represent. Neither of you to date have demonstrated a modicum of restraint pertaining to issues that many perceive to be beyond your comprehension.

A tidbit of advice: Think before you engage in verbal altercations on a public blog.

yellowjax1212's picture

So, tough guy Imker leads a headhunting expedition against Meridith for thinking outside the box and proposing an alternate financing plan (which was abandoned when it turned out to not save money)?
How, so ever will Meridith cope with the loss of his job and salary? Oh, that's right, he was a VOLUNTEER citizen worker.
How juvenile. Invite people to volunteer for positions and do their part in supporting our city - then trash them in the newspaper and in an open meeting.
For shame.

Who is going to run for Mayor? I don't see an acceptable choice among this lot.

You're right

I wonder if the mayor or any of the councilman ever picked up the telephone to talk to the gentleman before they all made this political play. If all of them failed to call they should all be ashamed of themselves

You mouth a lot but nothing comes out.

Not that anyone would expect it.

NUK_1's picture

You damn sure deserved better than THIS.

Oh, I will also agree with Hadddix, actions like this will make it harder to find volunteers!

Cal Beverly's picture

... is not only impolite (like shouting in a small space) but also is a violation of terms of service.

Stop posting in ALL-CAPS or get banned.

— The webmaster

Cal Beverly
The Citizen
Fayetteville, Ga. 30214

yellowjax1212's picture

Mayor Haddix keeps yelling the word WASA - whatever that means.

At least 2-3 of them don't seem to understand any type of decorum.

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