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PTC Council debates sales tax for roads, paths

A proposed countywide special sales tax, up for a vote in November, would provide $12.8 million to Peachtree City over a two-year period.

The city is almost certain to earmark much if not all of those proceeds toward road and cart path projects, as the city has no other plan to fund them. Such projects used to be paid for out of the city’s general fund, but that process stopped in 2005 when the transportation sales tax money started coming in.

If for some reason the countywide sales tax is shot down by voters, the city will have to devise another way to fund the necessary road and cart path repairs.

At the May 9 city council meeting, Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch questioned if Peachtree City should be getting more of the proceeds from the proposed sales tax because stores in the city generate more of the sales tax compared to the unincorporated county.

Councilman George Dienhart said that compared to the previous sales tax the city “is in a much more favorable position this time.”

Fleisch noted that city residents are already paying for stormwater repairs in the city, and some residents might consider county sales tax proceeds for stormwater repairs in unincorporated Fayette County double taxation.

“We need to be cognizant when that goes on the ballot, it’s another aspect of this for full disclosure to our citizens,” Fleisch said.

“They also need to know that some of the revenue will come from outside of our borders ... and we do not have a plan B to replace this money,” Dienhart added.

Councilman Eric Imker noted that to raise $12.8 million over two years, the city would need to enact a 3.76 mill increase on taxpayers which would cost the average homeowner $368 a year. Meanwhile each household would contribute about half that in sales tax money over the same period, Imker said.

Imker said it is a worthwhile exercise to see if the city can gain a financial upper hand by paying off some debts early, and he also noted that the city could fix all its worst streets and cart paths with the sales tax proceeds.

Mayor Don Haddix has advocated paying off long-term debt early, which would make room in the budget for the approximately $1.5 million needed each year for road and cart path improvements and repairs.

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