Haddix decries August censure in Rotary address
The mayor’s annual State of the City address is a political tradition in Peachtree City, routinely chocked with the city’s various accomplishments over the previous years and a look at the upcoming year.
And while he managed to cover that ground capably, Mayor Don Haddix also took aim at his fellow council members for formally reprimanding him with a censure earlier this year.
Haddix said the maneuver was an attempt by three council members to censor his viewpoint. The censure, approved in August on a 3-2 vote, took issue with Haddix criticizing several governmental agencies “which damaged the city’s relationship with those and other agencies” and hurt the city’s ability to recruit new companies here.
The censure also accused Haddix of “creating an untenable work environment” and “publicly belittling and criticizing city employees.”
Haddix said he was able to work with the state Department of Transportation to get three projects on the final regional transportation sales tax list.
“Yet I was accused of being negative and unable to work with GDOT. The facts speak for themselves and the position is false,” Haddix said.
Haddix further contended that his addressing of the censure was “not about sour grapes,” but a recognition that the action was a significant news item for the city last year.
“It was a big news item that distracted from important business,” Haddix said. “It was not a resolution of censure, but a resolution of censor, meaning silence, an attempt to deny my first amendment right to free speech.”
Haddix said he will continue to “tell it to you straight, keep my promises, and fight for what was needed.”
“Good, bad and ugly, we have to face reality before we can move forward,” Haddix said. “So, I can be censured, but I will not be silenced. No one is elected to be silent.”
In other remarks, Haddix said one of the challenges the city continues to face is decreased revenue.
“Reality is, we cannot fund everything at our current income levels,” Haddix said. “Priority and choices are going to have to be made. With people complaining our taxes are too high, leaving the city or refusing to move here, more tax increases will only make things worse.”
Haddix said he understood that the city’s millage rate is low compared to other cities of similar size, but he feels that comparison is deceptive because it fails to take into account the property values of those homes.
Haddix also complimented City Manager Jim Pennington, City Attorney Ted Meeker and Fayette County Development Authority President Matt Forshee for hammering out a deal that will provide additional economic development services to Peachtree City.
The mayor said his main goal for the coming two years is to “go whole hog on creating more jobs here.”
Haddix said doing so will help sell more homes in the city, improve city commerce and also increase tax revenue for the city.