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Haddix: 4 council members flip-flopping on Hwy. 54

My thanks to the members of the Needs Assessment Committee for their work. They did an excellent job putting together a statistically significant survey. The results conform to the results of One Peachtree City and both will be components of the comprehensive strategic plan I hope to move forward on next year.

In summary, using both findings, the priority of services, in order, are Police, Fire, Public Works, Recreation and Library. No cut or increase in any services are wanted. But, if a cut were needed, it should be in Recreation, which is in stark contrast to what council has been claiming.

User fees need to be raised to cover recreational costs. Tournaments, contrary to what has been claimed by some, cost the taxpayer more than they bring in. Nor is the estimated income to our businesses as much as claimed. People want more of the Recreation budget spent on family, community and similar type events.

The only acceptable tax increase was up to $50 for cart paths. That number has already been surpassed with the 137 percent stormwater increase. The proposed SPLOST is four times that amount per year.

A stunning 90 percent said no more debt increases without their permission.

Peachtree City, having seen what was accomplished by the Development Authority of Peachtree City and how it stopped when council dissolved them, says it wants them back.

On the SPLOST, staff confirmed my figure of about $15 million of city debt with payments of about $2.7 million per year for debt maintenance (for easy understanding, think of paying credit card debt monthly).

For perspective, a SPLOST income of about $6 million a year will cost the average household about $200 a year. The $2.7 million debt payment is about half that amount. We are talking a lot of tax dollars on just two items.

We have to get off of this endless cycle of increasing debt and taxes.

The Line Creek-Hwy. 54 West development is deja vu 2008 and 2009 for me. My votes against the traffic light and connection to Planterra Way are a matter of record.

At the May 9 council meeting Councilman Dienhart pointed out that in the 2009 election council members Vanessa Fleisch, Kim Learnard and Eric Imker strongly opposed the light. He lectured them on keeping promises. It was one big factor in the three getting elected.

Now they have flip-flopped and support the light and connection. The rhetoric of not wanting the light and connection but wanting to get a better development, a traffic study, etc. is just that, rhetoric. If they oppose the light and connection and were actually listening to citizens, a simple “no” would end this here and now.

Councilwoman Fleisch wants a traffic study that has already been done. In example, in 2008 we looked at four engineering studies and plans for the 54/74 intersection and other areas. They didn’t work because they destroyed three shopping centers. We looked for places to put a bypass, but there are none.

I already have gotten GDOT on board with a plan to reduce Coweta traffic coming into Peachtree City with a connection for Fischer Road to Highway 85. It is good for Peachtree City, Tyrone, Fayette, Coweta and the 74/85 intersection. It is a real plan, not a repeated study costing the city $39,000.

Councilwoman Learnard, in turn, held up Councilman Dienhart’s newspaper column from 2009 supporting the CCD development with the light. He chastised me, back then, for not supporting it. He also had an article in January of 2013 repeating the support. Now he opposes the light and connection.

On the study committee for the development itself, there is none. Only I can create a committee and I did not and will not. They can meet on their own with the developer, but not as a committee representing the city.

The last committee came back with recommendations solidly rejected by Peachtree City in 2008 and 2009. Yet, some of the council members praised their work and findings.

Councilwoman Learnard insisted the light be left on the table. She wants a “Quality Development.”

My response was quality was subjective to the individual. Also, she did not control the development or what the developer would build.

If the developer went to “Plan B,” which contains no light, connection to Planterra Way or need for a Special Use Permit, and would make him more money, it would never come before council and could not be stopped by the Planning Commission, as long as it is within ordinance.

It does not matter what Councilwoman Learnard wants if the developer cannot bring those stores here or desires to go the other direction.

She asked what I wanted there. As stated before, offices, schools, IT or some other low impact development. Something that brings better paying jobs.

As for the “Cliff,” the developer said he was not taking out any more granite after doing the front. The estimate to clear the rest of the granite is $2.5 million.

As I stated at the meeting, referencing the 2008 developer study is irrelevant. The addition of the connection to MacDuff Crossing changes everything.

On the U-turns, Councilwoman Fleisch had talked about, with the MacDuff light there is no need. People can use the MacDuff light and turn left to go west or straight across to the secondary road, then proceed to all the shopping areas.

Supposedly Publix is demanding three lights: Planterra Parkway, Line Creek and MacDuff Parkway. That is excessive when they have the right in/right out on 54 and the MacDuff light.

We do not need another traffic light on 54. Nor was there a consensus to do a traffic study for $39,000, which the city manager noted we didn’t have money to pay for anyway. The corridor from Flat Creek to MacDuff is already a traffic disaster during rush hour. A new study isn’t going to provide anything not already seen and rejected or anything we do not already know.

The bottom line here is this should have ended before it began. Councilwoman Learnard meeting with the developer is responsible for us being at this point. The three council members are playing word games that are fooling no one. Promises made are not being promises kept.

Don Haddix, mayor

Peachtree City, Ga.



You were on the Needs Assessment Committee. Now that you are running for council, please tell us if you will be utilizing this report should you win a seat. If so, how?

Josh Bloom's picture

Yes I was on the committee. I believed in the work that the committee did. Our task on the committee was two folds. First was to survey the citizens of PTC on how much they were willing to pay or not pay for the services received. After gathering the data we were then tasked to recommend a millage rate based solely on the data of the survey and not personal opinion.

Our presentation to council is located here.

To answer your question. I believe in using all available information in making decisions. This survey is just one piece and is a "snapshot" not a moving piece that reflected the opinions of the respondents at that particular time. Folks will argue the validity of the survey from how the questions were worded and if the amount of persons taking the survey truly reflects all of PTC as a whole. I can most certainly argue both sides of that coin, but I can tell you the questions we had were scrutinized in depth. We were focused on two things with each question. We wanted the question to glean information AND we did not want the question to be biased. It was a tough task and I can tell you that question 40 is an example of a badly worded question.

Second is the amount of respondents that we used. It is important to note we used the advice from a statistician. The figures we used were as followed. We found that there are approximately 12000 residents in PTC. We surveyed 10% (1200 surveys sent). We wanted 400 respondents to give us a +/- 5% error. What we got was 209 responses back that gave us a +/- 7%. Our statistician told us that those numbers were valid.

It is also important to note that we weighted our survey by age group. The age group of 29 and below had only 2 respondents. We all agreed that weighing 2 people in that age group was just too much so we tossed out those results. That means the age group of 29 and below is not represented in our survey. Take that for what its worth.

Back to answering your question. Yes, I think it is a valid piece of information. To use ONLY the survey on decision making would be unwise as would using only 1 piece of information for any decision making process would be unwise.

The intent of the survey and recommendation was to present council with additional information. Whether or not they choose to use that information is solely up to them.

mudcat's picture

"I already have gotten GDOT on board with a plan to reduce Coweta traffic coming into Peachtree City with a connection for Fischer Road to Highway 85", say the mayor.

So, instead of driving through 54/74, they take Fischer Road to Highway 85 and on to Fayetteville Or are they going to Brooks? What's that going to be called? South PTC Bypass? That just doesn't make any sense.

And who is going to pay for it?

I do believe it is I-85, not Hwy 85. To cut down on Coweta traffic coming east on 54 to go north on 74 to get onto I-85. and vice-versa.

Don Haddix's picture

I-85 is a Highway under the Federal Highway Administration. To Fayetteville is a Georgia State Highway, but still a highway.

Mudcat is dependable on trying to to make an issue where there is none.

You are correct, one ramp north to Atlanta and one ramp south from Atlanta. The State already has the land, it is an easy build, cheap in terms of construction and will be a much easier route for Coweta residents than battling through PTC and the 74 corridor.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

mudcat's picture

That's a federal interstate highway. Besides Fischer Road would be only about 2 miles from both the existing interchanges. Too close for new interchanges. And how does the lame duck mayor of a Fayette County city have any clout getting something done in Coweta County? Same mayor who was tossed from ARC. Does anyone think Coweta County would support a new interchange there?

Why did he even write this letter?

Don Haddix's picture

GDOT and the ARC are over the 74/85 interchange project. They would be over this one as well.

The ARC is the MPO for 18 counties including Coweta.

It is like with widening 74, the didn't as us, they just did it.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

But you are just perfect. Thanks for clearing that up.

Don Haddix's picture

There was also the claim that in January of 2010 this Council voted down a change to the Line Creek agreement that would have eliminated the light.

This is a false claim. It was an amendment to paragraphs 9(b) to increase one 50K building to 65K. The light was never on the table.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

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