PTC borrows $9.4M for stormwater projects; rates going up

The Peachtree City Council has authorized the issuance of $9.48 million in bonds to fund several large-scale capital stormwater projects and refinance the 2007 stormwater bonds at a lower interest rate.

To cover the financing payments, all city property owners will see a 137 percent increase in their annual stormwater bill. The new rates go into effect April 1.

Because the increase is so significant, the city plans to implement a billing system that will bill residents twice a year instead of once; the rate increase was approved by council Feb. 7.

By refinancing the 2007 bonds, the city achieved a savings of approximately $525,000 over the remaining 14 years on the payout schedule, according to Finance Director Paul Salvatore. The city got an effective interest rate of 3 percent on the bonds, officials said.

Council determined the $7.45 million in repairs under the bond were necessary for the protection of life and property. The projects include:
• $1.5 million to line stormwater pipes that run beneath city streets and roads, along with other miscellaneous projects;
• $1.8 million to replace the drain system in the Harbor Loop area;
• $1.3 million to replace the drain system in the Golfview Drive area;
• $1.2 million to rehabilitate the two Kedron ponds;
• $911,000 for rehabilitation of the Rockspray pond;
• $450,000 for pipe lining in the area of Woodsdale and Lenox Road; and
• $120,000 for repairs to the stilling basin at the BCS Pond.

The Kedron and Rockspray ponds are significant because they impound a tremendous amount of stormwater, and if their dams were breached it could result in the loss of life and property downstream, according to city staff.

The city projects these to be the only remaining significant capital projects, with no others anticipated in the future.

Because of the low interest rate, there will be more money available for other stormwater projects in future years, Salvatore said. Stormwater manager Mark Caspar said he doesn’t anticipate any more significant stormwater repairs in the city’s future, as the projects funded by this new bond will take care of all the large-scale problems with the stormwater system.

As for the increase on homeowners’ stormwater bills, it will depend on which of the three tiers their home is in based on the total impervious surface on the parcel.

Those in Tier I will see their bill rise from $32.28 to $76.68; Tier II rises from $47.40 to $112.69 and Tier III would rise from $72 to $171.24 a year. The fourth tier, for attached residential (AR) would rise from $22.20 to $52.68 a year.

The same 137 percent increase will be applied to businesses, schools and churches, many of whom will pay far more than the average homeowner because parking lots are included in the calculation of impervious space that ultimately determines the final bill charged to a given parcel.

Mayor Don Haddix, who voted against the stormwater rate increase two weeks ago, also voted against the bond refinancing. He has said previously that while he agrees the projects needed to be done, he couldn’t support the increase because of a lack of a comprehensive approach to reducing city taxes.

Larry.Sussberg
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Stormwater vote 4 to 1

Of course it's a 4 to 1 vote.

No comprehensive plan bull crap, it's an election year.

Of course, no alternative offered just the same BS and the campaign speeches will be "I never voted for any tax increase" and Ms Fleisch is a tax and spend" candidate.... Here it comes. And anyone else who declares will be attacked. That's what you do when you have no positive accomplishments.

Funny thing, had the city raised taxes per his tax proposal of 0.5 mil with no future increase 3 years ago PTC would be bankrupt the following year and under state control! Especially since he believes a multi year financial budget can't be done or its illegal.

FYI, I know 3 council members who carry the multi year financial plan around most of the time! Thank goodness we have 4 responsible elected officials on council.

John Mrosek
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Mr. Sussberg---- your stormwater complaint

Mr. Sussberg---- your stormwater complaint ("...no comprehensive plan...") would apply equally to all five (5) members of council and not just the mayor, wouldn't it ?

This is a huge tax increase with a number of projects admittedly deferred despite past engineering requests for work and a number of projects simply ignored. The only future planning evident at any of the meetings regarding stormwater was the question "Do we have any million projects that we are aware of ?" Answer: " Not that we are aware of. "

However, that admits the problem--- much is being ignored and the numbers are pure speculation. How then can the City even contend that it complies with the Clean Water Act. It doesn't.

Would you not agree that on this one issue that it is all 5 members that have done no planning and not just the Mayor ? Or is your vision simply that myopic ?

pumpkin
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John M

I think I may just finally found someone else to respect. Thank you for your comments.

Husband and Fat...
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Pumkin, baby, Were you aware

Were you aware that Mr. Mrosek is suing your favorite diety, Mr. Mayor (and the other council members)?

Of course not. I believe that Mr. Mrosek is 100% in the right with his case and has been stonewalled by the city for quite some time.

What has the mayor done to assist Mr. Mrosek or the other families affected by the Federal Stormwater Act of 1993? Nothing. Perhaps he has been preoccupied dealing with his personal $12K problems.

The other council members passed a tax increase to assist in helping fund this grossly underbudgeted problem that has been in effect since 1993. The mayor in my opinion chose not to vote for the tax increase for purely personal polical reasons. (So, he can brag, that he never voted for a tax increase). Is this someone looking out for the people?

This whole stormwater issue has been kicked down the road by many council. The mayor included for the past 7 years.

The city needs to address this issue now or it will face further lawsuits when additional damage occurs.

Just my opinion.

pumpkin
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I Appreciate Your Interpretation And Actually Somewhat Agree

stated many times I have not always agreed with our current Mayor. This has been on the table for years and decisions made by the Mayors and Councils dating back to the late 70's were set aside.... 7 years?.... no much longer Mr. Husband, when prep decisions could have been made. Back in those days the politics of today are easy breezy. It's been right here... out front... of the citizens and city government, yet more important issues always get challenged first. I am telling you Right Out Front For Years. Finally, or unfortunately it has hit home hard and like it or not it's hit Mr. Mrosek's front door and he is faced with starting the discussion "for real" now. Because 'you' and 'other' citizens take notice when you see dollar signs is that part of your comments and issue? Perhaps you and Lary could meet with Mr. Mrosek and help him.

o.....and by the way.....yes sweetheart i knew/know of the suit. Have been around long enough, although unqualified to completely understand the totality.

It would be nice if some of you concerned citizens could say something nice, helpful instead of always pointing out whats wrong without getting involved.

NUK_1
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Blah blah blah
pumpkin wrote:

stated many times I have not always agreed with our current Mayor.

So....what have you ever disagreed with the Mayor about considering that all you do here is defend him 24/7? Be specific about what and why you disagree with him since all you ever post is 100% defense of the Mayor and calling everyone else "haters" and other slurs. You LOVE to attack the person and not the argument and that's the tactic of a very weak-minded individual.

You know, if you don't like the commentary on this site, you can ignore it instead of posting ad nausea about how you can't stand everyone else that criticizes the Mayor. Why subject yourself to this since you aren't mentally and emotionally capable of dealing with justified criticisms that you will never respond to except with the "haters" comments?

Husband and Fat...
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Gullywasher- Tonight

We are expecting rain again tonight. Lakes seem to be quite full now and the ground is still saturated from earlier rainstorms. Where will this rain go tonight? Will we find additional silt in the creeks and lakes? Will a roadway collapse somewhere because the known problem has not been addressed in the past? Will it cost more now to fix than had it been repaired 5 years ago?

4 of the 5 council members finally decided to do something about it. Am I happy about a raise in taxes. Heck no. But I see that it is needed and understand that is the cost of being a homeowner and taxpayer.

Your buddy the mayor seems to think that this can wait until he has the results of a survey not approved by the other 4 councilmen. Then he needs to get 2 out of the 4 councilmen to all of sudden agree with him and switch positions. Not an easy task after he badmouths all of them in the papers and didn't care about thier input when they did not agree with him.

So, while Mr. Mayor plays politics (I never voted for a tax increase), the rest of the city has to suffer from his inablility to manage. A good mayor (leader), would have been willing to listen to the concerns of fellow council members and come up with a compromise in order to gain approval.

Now I think the survey is a good thing if done properly. By properly, I believe he needed to gain council support, followed by better timing of the survey, since last week was a vacation holiday for school aged families.

We all pray that there will be no damage from tonights storm. My bet is that the rain tonight will result in some financial burden to clean up the mess. Care to take me up on this?

Larry.Sussberg
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Husband & Father 2

Can you further explain to Pumpkin the difference between a class action lawsuit, a pro bono lawsuit and private lawsuit seeking financial damages and/or expenses and what those expenses might be if you represent yourself but bill at let's say $400 per hour.

Larry.Sussberg
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Husband & Father 2**

Let's just leave it at that and drop this for now.

As I said, I will answer Mr. Mrosek's question if he wants me too when he answers if he is donating the money he seeks from the city for his billable hours and/or damages are donated back to the city to cover the stormwater repair costs, or a charity or doing this work pro bono on behalf of all citizens of Peachtree City. That way I will understand his context.

I was "not attacking the messenger", and apologize if he fees that way. Finaly I feel my orginial comment was not myopic since hee is focused on 1 issue. My orginial comment and your following comments had to do with broader issues.

thanks

Husband and Fat...
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Mr. Sussberg - my opinion

Mr. Mrosek has every right to be annoyed with the situation. From what I have read, he and his neighbors have actual damages due to ongoing stormwater issues the city first tried to pawn off on the residents. And from what I understand, these people have not been given a time frame when the issue will be resolved. If this happened to you with the city delaying, altering the plan, ect, I am sure you and everyone else would seek damages for all the time and money spent resolving.

I recently completed a project in another fast growing Georgia county whose stormwater program makes Fayette County and PTC look like we are from the Stone Age. Yet they are able to bring high tech jobs to their community. The stormwater management is going on 10 years, so this isn't an unknown mandate the Feds just dropped on us. Our leaders, past and present dropped the ball on specifying good products, failed to budget maintenance costs and instead kicked the can down the road.

Tonight's storm should prove my point. Lakes and streams are high, the ground is already saturated. Where do you think the groundwater is going to go? It's going to wash away soil, bring trash into our reservoirs and pollute our drinking water.

I am actually glad we have someone fighting for this and respect Mr. Mrosek for this endeavor.

NUK_1
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H&F: Agreed

This is a real issue and one that has been ignored for quite a while and simply put-off in FC.

I think most of the folks in FC are upset(legitimately) about the methodology or lack there of used to determine their bills or even what the hell FC is trying to accomplish or what the govt' was thinking.

Stormwater isn't a one size fits all issue and trying to simply tax property owners based on the size of their land is asinine. Sorry, but for a solution, you have to put some effort into it instead of a blanket "you have this much acreage so this is how much you pay." That's just lazy and not a solution whatsoever.

Husband and Fat...
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Nuk

This is a tricky tax because you have private property and shared responsibility such as storm sewerage in roadways, city or county property, ect...

Every property and homeowner is unique and I provide some instances:

Some people complain that they own a farm with a retention pond and rainwater from thier property does not fow into a storm sewer. However, some of these farms also host animals (horses, cows, ect..) and while they may contain stormwater from leaving their property, they do not contain the excrement that decomposes into the soil and flows into our underground aquafers that also serve our clean water needs. While manure may be considered natural and organic by some, when it washes into local creeks and rivers its bacteria can cause health problems for swimmers and its fertilizing action can harm marine life. Lets say one of the homeowner that surrounds Lake Peachtree has two dogs. After a hard rain, the excrement could possibly flow into the lake where many young kids swim.

Some homeowners are very good about conserving water, use rainbarrels and water plants and gardens from these methods. Should these folks be charged the same as the folks who water thier lawns, empty chemicals, oil or paint onto the property, wash cars or empty swimming pools? Can we even police this?

My personal property slopes down from street level. Rainwater hitting my driveway is directed to both sides of the house and into the back yard where I have built a drypond out of stone to keep the mud down. Very little rainwater goes up an incline to the street. Should I pay the same as someone whose driveway slopes toward the street?

There is not cut and dried method to tax this fairly and you will never satisfy everyone. I would hope our local officials have researched how similar counties and cities tax thier residents. However, we are behind the eight ball in that instead of taxing us years ago for this, residents are being hit with a large increase which never sits well.

NUK_1
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husband: I totally agree with you

Stormwater assessments will never please 100% of the people and the way FC has suddenly tried to implement this after years of ignoring the problem/reality is going to also PO a lot of people.

I think the main gripe right now with FC is the methodology used to assess this fee or the lack there of. They didn't spend much time or effort into researching this issue whatsoever in the past and ignored federal mandates basically, but at least the present commissioners seem to be trying to get this right and acknowledge that it's a serious issue that has been ignored for far too long.

Husband and Fat...
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I think they are trying

I didn't go to the recent FC meeting because I live in PTC, but I also didn't read where the commission or city compared how other municipalities may have attempted to make the tax fair. One can learn a lot from others success and failures.

It's a difficult challenge for them. Maybe one of our commissioners can pray for devine intervention.

tortugaocho
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Larry, "getting even" with

Larry, "getting even" with the Mayor seems to be your only goal. Here's a problem; you haven't contributed any solution. So that includes you, the Mayor and those on council you do adore. It is a serious problem they swept under the carpet like so many other issues.

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Getting Even and History

You are right. What Larry Sussberg is saying bears no resemblance to reality on any of his claims. He is campaigning for Vanessa Fleisch because he shares her tax and spend thinking. He also has never gotten over being caught out on his false accusations while on the Planning Commission and resigning.

This is not the first Council to take on Stormwater. Fact is we formed and voted to fund Stormwater in 2008. That was two Councils ago, not this Council. Five Councils ago work on creating a Utility began.

In 2008 there were a number of serious flooding issues that were fixed. They were undeniably the highest priority. There was only the start of a list of projects to follow up on plus a lot of the Stormwater infrastructure was not even on record. It has to first be found, recorded and inspected. That continues today.

The list has grown to $62 million in repairs. Problem is for every funding the projects have to be done within three years. So count on every 3-5 years there being a request for another bond amount for a 15-20 year period.

There is also a problem with private property issues demanding to be fixed by the City. We only do City property and City easements. We do not fix private property.

Regarding Mr. Mrosek's lawsuit, I will limit my comments and not make any statement on the case itself as that is a legal action.

Again, playing politics, the Councilmembers asked me to recuse for his case since he was once my lawyer. That is a totally unjustifiable request, by I agreed. On one vote in this area abstained. So I am not nor will have a participant in his case.

I am not sweeping anything under the carpet. It takes a three vote to do anything. We need a comprehensive strategic plan to set goals, caps, etc. That has been a priority for me since 2008 but no Council majority supports it. They all want to make political choices, not choices where we actually do the right thing, set limits and listen to the citizens.

There are times I do go directly to the citizens on issues, which does get things done at times, like the Tennis Center, Fred and Kedron Center in 2008 and 2009. It would have never gotten done if I listened to those demanding I go along with the Council Majority.

The majority has no need to compromise with the minority unless they are willing to listen and understand what is being said. I was elected by the citizens to keep my promises. I was not elected by the Council Majority to be their mouth piece.

Robert W. Morgan
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Campaign ads that write themselves

I hope one of the many mayoral candidates out there is cutting and pasting some of these gems and saving them for campaign ads, Here's today's best (IMHO):

"The majority has no need to compromise with the minority unless they are willing to listen and understand what is being said. I was elected by the citizens to keep my promises. I was not elected by the Council Majority to be their mouth piece."

Actually, you were elected by mistake. Our mistake.

No, wait, I found another:
"There are times I do go directly to the citizens on issues, which does get things done at times, like the Tennis Center, Fred and Kedron Center in 2008 and 2009. It would have never gotten done if I listened to those demanding I go along with the Council Majority."

So, you accomplished all that single-handedly while being in the minority by going directly to the citizens that somehow voted for those changes bypassing the rest of city council. That's some trick. Maybe you are a magician.

Larry.Sussberg
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Kill & Dismantle Rec

The only reason he can take credit for these is because he has complained to many people that he hates rec because its unfair that he should have to pay since his kid(s) doesn't use it. Kill and dismantle rec, council members who disagree with him and all economic development unless brought in by DAPC.
And anything involving tax increase or bonds, vote no even if its needed offer no alternatives and call everyone a tax and spend person.
Sad it's becoming funny.

Mike King
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Getting Even-Another Approach

When one repeatedly uses the term 'leader' they must realize that the word does not contain the letter 'I'. For all this bluster, and the demonetization of a private citizen the terms obstinate, headstrong, and dictatorial come to mind since our mayor appears incapable of attaining consensus or cooperation among his peers. Additionally, in the same breath he cites his own accomplishments as if he were the only factor responsible for anything getting done.
Come November, Peachtree City will have the opportunity to put this man out of office, and in so doing will initiate the healing process that our city direly needs. Let's end the bickering on the dais, the censures, the personal lawsuits, and above all the embarrassment this man has caused our community.

Husband and Fat...
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Mr. King - Would Insanity be a better description?

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."

Maybe if the mayor learned to compromise, he would get a result in lieu of wiffing all the time.

Mike King
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Husband

One would think that someone with the least bit of intelligence would have realized just that after nearly six years in office.
My take on his mental condition is that he resides in a constant state of delusion.

Larry.Sussberg
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Don Haddix

Mr Haddix
Let me clarify that I am not campaigning for Ms. Fleisch. I actually don't know her with the exception of 2 or 3 emails. So your comment is not correct. Also who said I was a "tax and spend" person. Did you pick up that new phrase from the Washington DC battles? I'm not running for office so it's a weird label to throw around. Should I call you a liar? Well, let's just say you are once again inaccurate which as an elected official is not a good quality providing further proof of your lack of qualification.

As for the stormwater issue actions speak louder than words. You voted "no", and you continue to offer no alternatives which is an insult. You are well aware that the city is suffering maintenance and infrastructure issues and you continue to vote "no" on taxes and bonds offering no solutions except a few rec projects. In addition your website offers no real practical solutions since you are unable to quantify due to your financial ineptness.

Maybe you had the right idea 3 years ago. Raise taxes by only 0.5 mil and that's all. Remember that!
With your inability to forecast more than a year's budget, PTC would have been bankrupt, the State would have taken over then they could have fixed everything for us.....the ultimate outsource!

I'll let you know when I pick my candidate but I assure you it will be for someone who shows real leadership, intelligence, ability to work with others, doesn't disgrace the city, does take tax payer money to cover personal lawsuits, understands and can promote economic development....that's just a few qualities I'm seeking that you lack.

It's not about getting even, it's about getting right! Getting Peachtree City on the right track.

Sorry to be so brutal, but that's the reality and PTC has suffered. You have had 6 years, 4 as mayor and all you can do is blame 2 councils with the exception of Doug.

Husband and Fat...
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Majority - Minority

The majority has no need to compromise. Correct..

So instead of the minority banging its head against a wall going nowhere, wouldn't it be wise for the minority to simply ask why the majority doesn't agree and then offer a compromise?

Seems like that the minority would get something out of this method besides a headache. It takes TWO sides to compromise.

Just a thought.

Don Haddix
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Haddix; Valid Question

First, going nowhere is not always factual, as proven with the Tennis Center, Fred, Kedron, etc. Sometimes public pressure is required to change votes.

Offering a compromise only works if others are willing to listen and compromise. That has not been the case when most the time the minority never sees their proposals until it is time to vote. That includes Agenda Items added on the Friday before a Meeting and even 24 hours before the Council Meeting.

The majority has repeatedly made it clear they have the three vote and will win. End of story.

Larry.Sussberg
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Don Haddix

You have been in office for 6 years, 2 years on council under Mayor Harold who you later called "part drunk".
You blamed the council back then and now there's a new council and you blame them too.

Did your kindergarten teacher report that "you don't play well with the other children"
I think so.

Spyglass
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Who on the Council do you get along with? Or ever agree with?

I'm curious...

Have you ever thought that this so called "minority" you find yourself in constantly is for a reason?

I now know why you didn't resign back when you were sued, you flat out just don't get it.

Robert W. Morgan
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Well, there was Doug, until there wasn't

Doug was in lockstep with Haddix for a couple of years until the weirdness got worse. Doug bailed after one term when he thought about what his second term in the minority would be like - under Haddix as mayor or Cyndi as mayor. No one thought Scott had a chance. It is a shame the voters didn't pay attention and got all caught up in that "friend of developers" crap that was attached to Cyndi. Seems to me that happened before when we got our second-worst mayor - remember? Brown ran against Lenox (and the Old Guard) like Obama ran against Bush - voters thought Brown's opponent was flawed because he was a pilot and many voters just didn't vote.

We do this to ourselves, people. But like Brown's 6 opponents, good voter turnout from the dissatisfied city residents and his ouster - Haddix will end up the same way. Just don't replace him with someone worse. I predict at least 4 opponents and that Haddix won't even make it to the inevitable runoff.

Larry.Sussberg
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Tortugaocho

Actually, this council is the first one to address the problems, they're not sweeping it under the carpet. Maintenance has been a big and growing problem for years, not just stormwater.

As for a long term solution, that lies in who runs for mayor. Citizens need to encourage those interested to run, while keeping our current mayor from attacking with half truths and lies as he did to Ms. Plunkett and is doing to Ms. Fleisch. Calling Ms Fleisch a "tax and spend" candidate because she, along with the other members are addressing these issues is a 1/2 truth. Voting no on bonds and required tax increases to balance the budget then hiding behind "comprehensive plan talk" is sweeping under the carpet for the sake of getting re-elected.

As for "getting even", if caring about this community, being a local business owner within the city limits and seeing the impact of limited economic development due to years he wasted fighting with council over DAPC then chasing off the economic development manager, compounded by Low Temp, bowling alley, Racetrac and Southern Pines,I guess you are right, I'm trying "to get even".

Husband and Fat...
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Your asking the wrong guy

All lawsuits cost money and everyone loses, in my humble opinion.

Larry.Sussberg
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Mr. Mrosek

"Mrosek et al v. City of Peachtree City et al"?
Are you trying your lawsuit against the city in the court of public opinion or are you just frustrated?

In all due respect,the citizens of Peachtree City (including myself) ultimately paid you for the mayor's libel defense (which had nothing to do with you)but now the citizens may have to pay again.

Your statement of me being myopic could be highly biased since your suit is filed against the city and all 5 on council, not just the 4. Lets be fair here, it's all about the lawsuit and possible financial gain (for you)? Otherwise why not file suit on behalf of the citizens with the only recourse of complying with The Clean Water Act for all of us?

I suggest we take the legal advice that many lawyers give which is not to publicly comment especially since you are the complainant and, indirectly, I am one of 35,000 Peachtree City residents who is a defendant.

Thank you.
Larry

John Mrosek
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Have you read any of the

Have you read any of the material in our case, Mr. Sussberg ? I suspect from your answer that you have not.

I answer most questions posed although I see that you choose to attack the messenger rather than answer the question posed to you: Is it not true that this council has not done a sufficient job of stormwater planning to comply with the Clean Water Act ? Attacking me does not answer the question, Mr. Sussberg. My point is that your single criticism of Mayor Haddix is misplaced. This entire council and previous councils have ignored many of their duties under the City stormwater MS4 discharge permit.

Allow me to answer your question, since I assume you have read absolutely nothing in the case. We comment publiclly because this is a public interest case. It involves clean water overall, and not just our facts in our case. A federal Clean Water Act requires an exacting, detailed demand letter before filing. It usually requires the retention of expert witnesses. We did. We are profiting? Quite the opposite, Mr. Sussberg. The only responses for mediation from City Hall have been threats. Our contention is that the City has not complied. We await the judge's ruling (motions submitted August) on whether our current notice letter was sufficient.

Had you read any of the material in the case or walked the site, you would see that this case is about the stormwater in particular on our property (and adjacent properties) but focused on the City system overall. Again, we love living here. It is a great place. We simply want to make it better and we want the City to comply with the Clean Water Act. That's not a lot to ask, is it ?

Now, will you kindly answer my question, Mr. Sussberg ?

Larry.Sussberg
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Mr Mrosek

Actually I have read through some but not all of the materials and I am clearly not well versed on the total issue so your assumptions are wrong. Clearly you are highly versed on this topic.

I was not on the attack but let's remember who approached first with the self serving myopic comment. Nice attempt on the flip though.

Remember, I am not on trial here and I'll respond once you confirm that you are not seeking financial damages from the city or that you are donating all financial proceeds to your favorite charity. Placing the funds in trust for stormwater repairs including your legal fees is also another wonderful suggestion too.

So feel free to answer my question... Clean water or financial gain?

Otherwise, lets leave it at that, but let's be clear on who attacked first. Lets not be myopic on that, counselor!

pumpkin
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Larry, Larry, Larry-37 Years I've Been Here

it started out wrong and as always you never know what you are talking about. So funny,,,,, of all people who absolutely love name calling. You always crouch in a corner when you are called out, but manage to barf out more of the same "mommie he called me a name" after you look up the definition. Take a deep breath, and if you really want to know more check back to around 1978 or maybe 1980. poor thing.

Larry.Sussberg
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Pumpkin

What the heck are you talking about?

Have you missed the point surrounding this situation?
Re-read the thread and focus on Husband &Father 2 post. This has absolutely nothing to due with Mr. Haddix or His vote!

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