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PTC fire, police escape cuts to balance current budget

Saturday by the Peachtree City Council at the final day of its annual planning retreat.

The police cut would have left the department one person short in the patrol division, according to Police Chief Skip Clark. The fire cuts would have meant that at the end of the year shifts would be reduced from 19 personnel to 18 personnel when employees took sick leave or vacation time, said Fire Chief Ed Eiswerth.

The city is facing a $621,000 shortfall in this year’s budget and the staff proposal added another layer of cuts totaling $424,000 from departmental budgets, including a $5,000 reduction in the city’s Fourth of July fireworks, a $20,000 cut in the library’s book purchasing fund, recreation cuts for field maintenance and improvements and others.

Leaving in the police officer and fire funds will cost the city $43,000 in savings that won’t be realized and must be made up elsewhere. But other positions in the city will remain vacant to provide a good portion of the savings.

The matter was discussed at the council's retreat meeting, which ended abruptly Saturday afternoon after Councilman Eric Imker suggested that if city employees didn’t like pay cuts such as his suggestion in furlough days, he felt there were plenty of people in the job market who would gladly take their job.

After that comment drew quick criticism from Councilman Doug Sturbaum, a 4-1 motion was authored to end the meeting with Imker voting against.

Other savings for the city beyond the $424,000 in departmental cuts included:

• $100,000 in cash savings (from the lower bid price for the cart path bridge completion along Ga. Highway 54 West

• $100,000 in debt service savings; and

• Use of an additional $86,000 in cash reserves to be used on top of the $451,000 already budgeted use from cash reserves.



I have watched and listened to you for 2 days and I truly feel you and some other citizens take this city's services and amenities for granted. You expect and demand services but when its time to pay for them you turn away. Reminds me of a book I read my children.
The employees continue to do there share and have forfeited thousands with increased benefits, loss of c.o.l.a, loss of merit increases,ect..and now you expect more from them and you don't expect us taxpaying citizens to pony up $26.90 a year for increase taxes. I moved my family into this city for its special differences and amenities it offered. I would gladly pay a little more to help continue the great quality of life my family come to enjoy. I see NO compromise in your suggestions. Tax payers need to take some of the responsibility for services and the extras this city offers. Its not cost money to maintain......
Finally why do you and others ignore the citizen survey that overwhelmingly stated 70% of the citizen would be in favor of a slight tax increase to maintain services offered. The argument that it was skewed is lacking ,,,just because it listed the services the city offered first and then asked for if we would be interested in a slight tax increase.....All the facts it listed were to give the citizens a bit of reality to what the city offers and all of its services in which many like you take for granted. I am appalled by your final statement of if "the employees don't like it they can quit"... it shows your complete lack of touch with reality and what and who (the employees) truly make PTC a wonderful place to call home.

I saw that they estimate a 38 percent increase in property taxes. Is that a slight increase. NO. Imker at least has the guts to tell it like it is. If the employees dont like it get the hell out. At least he is not a whimp like the rest. And as far as being out of touch with reality. You people that dont think this country, states and counties are BROKE are totally out of touch. Everyone has to work harder and for less to get back this country of ours before its to late. Wake up

squonk's picture

Eric Imker is just a thug. He's got a bully mentality like Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. Thank goodness we have 4 other council members that are sensible and understand what it means to live in Peachtree City. We have a jewel of a city. To maintain this beautiful place takes money. You get what you pay for.

Maybe he'll share some of his kool aid with you.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Imker told us he would be like this during his campaign. He is acting as promised. We put him in office instead of the flower child who wanted to spend on greenspace. Not much of a choice when you think about it.

Imker is annoying, but he is a one trick pony who has yet to learn about his responsibilities as a leader. Almost everyone with some intellect that is elected to office has an elightenment moment when they learn that governing is a lot different that campaigning. There is even a course (in Athens, I think) for newly elected people. And of course the reality of having to solve problems as opposed to simply being critical of those who came before you is a huge adjustment for even well-adjusted and intelligent people.

I am certain Mr. Haddix will meet with him privately and try to calm him down. Attacking staff is very poor form and we will see whether Mr. Haddix was successful or not based upon the depth of his apology to staff at the next city council meeting. If Imker does not apologize or Haddix has to do it for him, then we have bully (not a thug) taking up a seat on council. That's a shame, but at least the other 4 know what they are doing and can run the city.

Live free or die!

Don't know the man but he speaks true!

It is obvious that all that was done about the budget was to put off the tough stuff one more year which will be worse now!

Maybe, Mr Imker knows that! Nothing is going to be better next year.

A bad cooperative attitude from the staff about cuts is worse than a councilman wanting to hire someone who won't complain unnecessarily.

The obvious plan the "four" has is to raise taxes quite liberally next year on a citizenry who by that time will be worse off than now!

The city will operate with or without the "4" or Mr. Imker!

"If the employees dont like it get the hell out." Thats a wonderful idea, tell the city workers who work hard to make this a better city than any other to get the hell out and hire the people who are just looking for a pay check, and who dont give a crap about the city.

If a $26 a year tax increase is going to break you than maybe you should get the hell out. Ill gladly tax a take increase of $26 to help keep good people then not pay $26 and get the get others who dont care.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

He ran for office and got elected by contrasting himself to Beth who openly said the city should spend even more money to acquire green space. He's still campaigning and while he is there will be a lot more 4-1 votes. He will eventually settle down and realize that he has responsibilities to manage the entire city and represent all its citizens. And when he does end the showboating, city council will be great. From what I have seen so far, the other 4 really get it. Best group in many years.

Live free or die!

Just a few random thoughts after listening to Saturday's retreat. While it is fair to say that Mr. Imker is looking for ways to improve the financial crisis within the city, did he bump his head with his approach?? Honestly, after listening to this guy I had to go get some more kool-aid...While we can appreciate your dialect it is apparent that you are not in touch with the service's provided within your city. It is reasonable to assume that while your methods may work in the private sector, the drawing board may have to be rolled back out for you to look at?...ONCE again we will have to educate an educated man...It is NOT advantageous or politically savy to make such hostile statements as you have were dead on the money about one are not a career politician and I for one wish you well when you step back into your comfort zone....RETIREMENT

That's right, "not politically saavy" will be worn as a badge of honor in the coming years.

Yeah, go get some more kool aid, that solves everything, doesn't it? Go smoke some weed and take a few pills and have a coupla stiff ones while you're at it.
"We have to educate an educated man"?? I think you are just the one to do that for all of us, don't you?

While you're at it, listen to Kim Learnard in her little fantasy land, who more than once went on about ARTIFICIAL TURF BALLFIELDS for the kiddies.....let's spend another half a million for 3 or 4 of those so the Rec. Dept. doesn't have to cancel the rainout game that will make the city a couple hundred bucks. Let's see, figure the logic there for us, oh educated one. So politically correct there, right?

Turn up your volume and listen the the endgame here from Sturbaum....this city is at risk of becoming unable to meet it's financial obligations and is at risk of the State Of Georgia taking it over. PTC WILL CEASE TO EXIST. How's that for politically correct?

Take Mr. Sturbaum's words and consider yourself educated by an educated man who is ALSO a politician. Do HIS words put you right back in YOUR comfort zone?

Honestly, are you alright..??? Maybe you should dial 911 as I am sure your chest is have got to be out of breath by now...geeez!! Oh, wait there aren't enough personnel to respond today..they are on furlough...let's not talk about wearing badges with honor..unless you want to get out of the recliner and make your way to the nearest fire station..Yeah, I thought so!! Now let's address the other ramblings that you implied...I never wrote a word about ballfields with artificial turf..are you smokin that turf....???? Logically speaking get your facts straight before your mouth outruns your hind parts. As for the city being unable to meet it's financial obligations, we can say one thing for sure...the employee's are doing there part..where is your 26.00 invested??? Finally, if you ever have to make a call for help consider yourself live in the most protected comfort zone in the metropolitan area....this ends the lesson!!

already budgeted for use from the cash reserves. End quote -last line from the article above.

Read it over and over till it sinks in, PTC taxpayers. This is for THIS year, not for FY2011!

FY2011 will be the year where they will polish it off AND raise the millage rate AND cut every dept. budget to the bone and beyond.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Can't see any other outcome the way they are going about it.

What would I do, you ask? Oh well, let me tell you.

1. Raise taxes now to keep the city safe, looking good and operating efficiently.
2. Cut out some expenses that are not directly related to #1
3. Focus on economic development and not tourism.

How hard is that?

Did they ever talk about economic development at the retreat? I tried to listen in on the website, but they must have been off schedule.

Live free or die!

Yes, there was talk. It consisted of "we have 35k to work with. Can't even afford to hire a full time person to do the work needed." Tourism has 350k to work with. Those figures are backwards and need to be changed. Not much else right now, but I think the Mayor has said he is working on getting more money shifted to Dev. Authority.
I heard mostly talk of the village shopping centers, but nothing really about the Industrial Park. Maybe I missed that, too. Did you see the money the airport gets from the FAA and feds? There was a chart. Big buckaroos there...then, shortly after, the mayor asked Ray Whitely (Head OF Airport Authority) if they have a budget he can see....Ray said it's in the works. Someone is thinking of putting in a restaurant in a hangar at the airport, too. Sany is going to bring in a G5 plane for their CEO instead of Hartsfield..back and forth to China via Alaska. The airport makes it's money right now on fuel sales. This will be a boon to that since the planes need lotsa fuel to go to Alaska.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

I don't think our runway is long enough for that.

Nevertheless, it sounds like Economic Development is not going to get the attention of the new council. Too bad because it is the logical solution to financial recovery.

Live free or die!

Agree with what you said, plus the runway most likely couldn't handle the weight either.

At max gross weight, C-5 needs 4900 ft to land and 8300 to takeoff. KFFC has 5219 ft of runway. Obviously, it would need considerably less to takeoff if empty but I don't know that number.

NUK_1's picture

Sometimes it's better to just shut up and listen instead of jumping in with what you think, regardless of whether you think it's "factual" or not. This whole episode didn't make anyone look good and was more about who looked less like a fool or some crusading zealot who just can't resist the urge to run their mouth.

Imker has an approach that would PO the Pope. Haddix can't shut up or control a meeting effectively. Eiswerth needs to drop the "I'm so upset with everything for many years" attitude that isn't going to win over anybody besides the choir in attendance. I expected better than what happened at the end which was a cluster. McMullen needs to either go away or get sudden enlightenment that he's been very second-rate as a City Manager since taking over for Basinger and it's hardly because the bad 'ol City Council made him do everything he didn't want to do.

Not a great start for this Mayor/council, but I hold out hope that most seem to be pretty reasonable and going forward will be smoother than what some showed during the retreat.

John Munsford captured the essence of that meeting in a single picture.

Councilwoman Fleish looks miserable...
Councilman Sturbaum looks reflective...
Mayor Haddix looks grim....
Councilwoman Learned looks attentive but skeptical...
..and Councilman Imker looks like he wants to slug somebody (some seriously hostile body language there!).

These are tough times and tough choices must be made. I don't envy this council's options.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

It can land with 300 feet to spare and if it is delivering stuff, it will empty when it goes back to China. Worst thing that could happen is they would have to take it apart and put it on a couple of smaller planes.

By now I've forgotten where the C-5 comment came from, but I think it was the the weekend council retreat

Live free or die!

I went back to the tape and listened again. It is a G5. A Gulfstream with long range?? I don't know planes, but I thought a C5 was too big, too. You guys are the experts. The runway is 6000 feet for takeoff and landing thresholds are staying the same (whatever those are). The plane is coming from China to Alaska to Hartsfield right now. But Falcon Field just signed a contract with Sany last month to land here instead of Hartsfield. The CEO of Sany flies it and will now come right here instead of Harstfield.
I just edited my previous post further down here to show G5, not C5. Sorry.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

That's just a corporate jet for people - not cargo and it will be fine at our airport.

It also proves my point about economic development - look at the side benefits we are getting out of the Sany deal. Is anybody on council trying to attract industry here? You can forget retailers - there's nothing the city can do about that.

Live free or die!

will still use most of the runway for takeoff (5150 ft).

Hoosier Fan's picture

Is it true Planterra Ridge just ordered more speed bumps to install OVER their neighborhood???

The budget for firefighters should be the last thing that is cut.

Get rid of the bubble over the pool before you cut anything in the budget for firefighters.

Imker is nuts, there are not many people who want to work here. We are lucky to have the city employees that we have.

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