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Tree fee talk tabled to retreat

A proposal to institute a new $25 fee for tree removal permits in Peachtree City has been postponed yet again.

Thursday night the City Council punted the proposal to its retreat next month. Several council members wanted the fee to be discussed in light of the entire city budget instead of considering it on its own.

The fee was proposed to help compensate for the amount of staff time spent on each individual permit, said Interim Community Development Director David Rast.

A city staff member visits each proposed site, although the city has no power to forbid any trees from being cut down whether they are fully healthy or not, Rast has said. If a tree is healthy and is not threatening a home or other structure, staff will try and convince residents to save them, he added.

Councilman Eric Imker has said he opposes the fee because he thinks the city needs to reduce spending instead of increasing revenue with a new fee.

Imker’s motion to postpone the discussion was approved 3-2 with Mayor Don Haddix and Councilman Doug Sturbaum opposed.

Haddix said he felt it was a fairness issue that fees should be assessed to help offset the full cost of the service on property owners.

Haddix also took umbrage to a comment from Imker that the city hadn’t appropriately cut the budget.

“When you say we aren’t controlling spending, we cut over $4 million from the budget in the last two years so that is not an accurate statement,” Haddix said.

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