Imker raps PTC mayor over tax comments, says projected annual hike is .213 mills, not .5
At Thursday night’s City Council meeting, Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker blasted Mayor Don Haddix for getting his facts wrong on the level of a projected tax increase for each of the next several years.
As the city’s millage rate model used in last year’s budget discussions was displayed on the projector, Imker noted the projected tax increase is .213 mills each year for the next several years, not the .5 mill annual increase that Haddix has referred to on several occasions.
“It upsets me greatly to see this misrepresented and mischaracterized,” Imker said. “... I take great exception to seeing this over and over again, written multiple times.”
Imker was so bold as to tell the mayor: “I want to make sure I don’t ever hear” references to .5 mill increases in future years.
“I can’t tell you what you can say any more than you can tell me, so let’s move on past that point,” the mayor said.
Earlier in the discussion, Imker said action council took Friday night to add $130,000 in hotel-motel tax money to the general fund will shrink the projected tax increase from .213 mills to somewhere around .1 mills instead.
That action included raising the city’s hotel-motel tax from 6 to 7 percent, which Imker pointed out was simply bringing it back to where it was prior to a rollback last year done at the behest of the local hotel-motel industry.
The hotel-motel tax increase was approved 3-2 with Haddix and Fleisch voting against. Imker added that he personally is aiming to avoid a property tax increase this year at the very least, although he is hoping to enact a tax decrease if possible.
Last year a divided council voted 3-2 to enact the 1.25 mill tax increase, with Haddix joining fellow councilman Doug Sturbaum on the losing end of the vote. Haddix and Sturbaum both favored a .5 mill tax increase instead, while the 1.25 mill increase was approved by Imker and councilwomen Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard.
Last year’s budget talks also illustrated a rift on council during a lengthy and often repetitive debate over how to handle the assignment of a new economic development coordinator to the city. Haddix and Sturbaum again came out on the short end of a 3-2 vote which assigned the coordinator to work under the city’s community development department.
Haddix and Sturbaum favored the coordinator reporting directly to the Development Authority of Peachtree City, a group of volunteers that is working to improve the city’s retail presence and also maintain existing industry while also recruiting new businesses.