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Imker eyes PTC loan payoffs, calls 54W bridge land deal a stinker

Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker is hopeful that the city can devote some budgetary savings toward paying off a loan or two which have less than favorable terms for the city.

At his citizen budget meeting last weekend, Imker specifically cited a 2002 loan the city council took out to purchase a tract of land at the corner of MacDuff Parkway and Ga. Highway 54 west. The 5.1 acre tract was deemed necessary for the proposed “gateway” cart path bridge over Ga. Highway 54 near the city limit.

The $600,000 loan has an interest rate of 6.12 percent and the city stands to pay another $522,000 on the loan in the next six years, spread out at $87,000 each year. The city has $447,000 in outstanding principal on the loan.

Imker called the loan “a horrible, horrible deal.”

“We got the worst deal in the history of deals,” Imker said of the loan. “... It was swampland and we paid commercial prices for the swampland. It was the worst deal.”

Part of the city council’s rationale at the time for purchasing the property was also to prevent commercial development from occurring near the entrance to the Wynnmeade subdivision. Then-Mayor Steve Brown noted that the developer wanted to build a QuikTrip gas station on the property, which Wynnmeade residents didn’t want.

Ironically, the bridge is seen now in part as being a potential shot in the arm for a shopping center on the south side of Hwy. 54: the Shoppes at the Village Piazza.

The city purchased the property from developer Marvin Isenberg.

The gateway bridge has remained on the drawing board due to lack of funds. It has been put on a list of projects for potential funding through a regional sales tax that will be voted on in July 2012, but even if it makes the funding list, it may go undone if the regional vote is shot down.

The city has also petitioned the Fayette County Commission to release funds from the 2003 countywide transportation sales tax.

Imker also cited a 2006 bond for the tennis center, which the city’s development authority previously entered, as another candidate for potential payoff to save the city interest payments. That bond has an interest rate of 5.93 percent and the city has six years of $140,000 payments remaining on the loan, which has an outstanding principal of $705,000.

As always, whether the loan payoffs have any advantages depends on the penalties for prepayment, so it remains to be seen if either are feasible at this juncture, Imker said.

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Comments

PTC Observer's picture

It's call re-financing at a lower rate, the city should have done this already. Where's the finance departement on this one?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Yes indeed, the deal was "let's buy the land for $845k to prevent the evil developer from doing a Quick Trip". Ok Steve, you got that done. Any news on the land across 54 where the bridge would go? Huh? huh?

Bridge built yet?

So, we still be paying for this wounded puppy aren't we now? Anybody else on council want to speak out against this one? Or is it up to flip flop boy to front this one. Methinks there is a connection between an $845k useless land purchase and the city's budget problems. What say you?

Thanks Steve,good job man. And please thank Murray Weed and Steve Rapson. I know they voted for it. Annie? Did you vote for this? Dan the man Tenant? How about you?
My God, you people are so stupid and clueless. Why do you do what you do - with our money? Huh?

Live free or die!

TinCan's picture

someone is paying attention to Brown's biggest PTC boondoggle.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

$845,000 in total makes it his most expensive misstep, but that's just money and these people on council (past and present) waste more than that every year and then praise their overpaid staff (see Haddix above) for simply doing their job.

Brown's other boondoggles include running off Lindsey, Williams and Basinger and some others which effectively eliminated any institutional memory at city hall and allowed Brown to begin to violate the city charter unopposed. He's where this full-time mayor crap started. Other boondoggles were the illegal development moratorium - sort of an Obama-like campaign promise to tax the rich. That was expensive to defend in court and lose.

Attacking the late Tom Farr was Brown at his very worst - the anti-achievement mentality and his hatred for the "old guard" - you know the ones that created the city Brown moved to after it was mostly built. And of course the gutting of DAPC setting the industrial recruitment efforts back to the stone age was very costly and is at the root of the current economic and budget problems in PTC. Give credit (or blame) where it is actually due.

His enablers Tenant (at first) and Rapson and Weed were every bit as guilty as Brown in destroying the work of what then was almost 50 years of successful growth. I think Haddix has progressed past Brown in terms of irresponsible and immature personal behavior, but with the obvious exception of Dougie he does not have the enablers sitting on council and giving him majority votes. Let's be very careful who we bring on council this fall. Don't need a Brown rerun or an empowered Haddix leading us boldly into the past.

Live free or die!

We are still paying for the Tennis Center mistake by the "old guard."

That goes to show you that a small old guard can build and pay for with taxes what best suits their personal wishes--in this case to waste time playing tennis.

Brown did make a lot of enemies calling attention to this.

I have no need to praise Brown and argue the other stuff, but I suppose he will let you know.

Someday we will learn that public service should be done by servants, not those watching out for themselves and friends.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

It was simply a questionably illegal deal that probably skirted the law - sort of like Obamacare. The mistake was Brown's grandstanding - specifically making a big deal out of the legality for political reasons and then defunding them. If he had just simply let things be, we would all be better off.

Live free or die!

It was illegal.

It was illegal!

Signed by a Tennis Pro---he left here pretty wealthy and got a better job.

The approval by the bank was by aboard member.

A lawyer involved was on the board!

Can't get much worse than that.

And yes, it was just let be due to just who was at stake.
Old Boy's way!

Why is the city still paying the loan for a few users?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Take this simple test. Pick one of the two statements that most reflect your opinion of how Peachtree City government would be functioning at its best.

1. I am very pleased that companies continue to seek out and move their operations and employees to Peachtree City. It is good that we have very few vacant buildings and a stable tax base with a lot of business taxpayers which keep my tax bill lower. There does seem to be something squirrelly about the same people being on DAPC and other boards, but I guess it is just a bunch of good old boys who like to run things. I'm not part of their inner circle, but I don't care. In fact, they seem to know and care more about that stuff than most other people I know - so let them keep doing it. Besides, if something were really wrong, the state or someone would file a complaint, but so far no one important has said anything.

2. I guess we showed them that they can't break the law on our watch. They have had it too good for too long and now thanks to Steve Brown and others we have broken up their illegal cabal. I get up every morning with a smug satisfied feeling about how we have rid the city of those evildoers and that we are now 100% illegal. I don't care that we are losing businesses to other counties. I don't care that we have run off the economic development coordinator. I don't care that DAPC is not funded and losing quality people. I don't care about the vacant buildings and I certainly don't care that my tax bill is much higher than it was 3 short years ago. I don't care about any of that stuff - all I care about is that the good old boys (who never accepted me as part of their club) have been taken down a notch.

Go ahead. Pick one. Don't cop out by saying "None of the above" - that's too easy. In fact, that's the real problem with this place - you have 10% who try to do things and are truly dedicated and creative, another 10% which are complainers, tree-huggers and gadflys and the remaining 80% don't care, don't pay attention, don't vote, although if they did they would vote "None of the above". Sadly we have had mayors and councilpeople from all 3 groups.

Live free or die!

I guess you do qualify as a politician or a Fayette County Sheriff or Judge of the court!

Don Haddix's picture

Staff found and brought forward the recommendation to form the Facilities Authority to Council to do refinancing. All of Council supported it and voted for it. We are all on board and "eyeing" ways to reduce loan costs. Staff has been doing a great job analyzing and recommending.

Compliments and credit go to Staff on this issue.

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

Mike King's picture

Let's see now: The original loan took place in 2002, and the year is now 2011. Would the mayor care to explain why it takes nine years to uncover such a waste? Perhaps it could be that the priority of Council is heavily weighted towards dog leashes, gas carts, and walking signs. All the while the city being threatened with a lawsuit over irresponsible comments by his honor, not to mention a string of e-mails demeaning a previous mayor.

Who's to say that without Imker's digging, this whole mess would still be buried?

Why is it this mayor goes out of his way to compliment staff for merely doing what they're paid to do, albeit nine years late?

PTC Observer's picture

you on the timing issue, who's making the interest money on this deal?

In the last 18 months my firm has refinanced twice on loans that would make this bond trival in comparison. Both times, we have financed at lower rates saving the company millions over the term of the loans.

So, where in the heck is the City financial department? We will never have an opportunity like this again, it's time to get the city out of the mode of forming committees to solve simple problems. The taxpayer deserves better than this.

Let's get on the stick folks before it's too late.

MajorMike's picture

Distrust of "staff" is probably one of the few things we agree on. The Mayor complimenting staff is merely "pro forma". Methinks that if perhaps we downsized a bit more that the remainng "staff" would get a little more serious about doing the job that they are tasked with. That job being: Serving the citizens of PTC to the best of their ability.

As far as the minor legal contest between "Logsdon the lush" and Mayor Haddix - the attorneys will be the only winners. The rest of it is a non starter.

Mike King's picture

You are correct in that a downsize of staff would effect an increase in productivity across the board.

Regarding the 'pro forma' compliment of the staff by the mayor, I would have to assert that he would have to research the meaning of the term.

We do disagree on Mr Logsdon, however, for just because an individual imbibes from time to time does not make that individual a lush. The former mayor and I have had our share of differences over the years, but being a lush is not among his character flaws. Should you believe that anyone who partakes in adult beverages is characterized as such, then there are many of us for you to so name.

MajorMike's picture

I don't have a problem with Logsdon, you, me, or anyone else imbiding to your hearts content as long as others are not endangered. Since there are now witnesses coming forward to testify that the former Mayor was apparently in some state of intoxification at a public venue or meeting, and ...... I got wind of his reputation while he was still Mayor ..... I'd say he has a problem with his/Lindsey's lawsuit.

But if you're buying, I have a penchant for good single malt scotch (I prefer the twelve year). Heck, I might even invite the Mayor. |:)

Mike King's picture

As a fellow scotch drinker, I'll buy the first then you decide on the second. One catch though, leave the mayor out of it.

Regarding Logsdon's reputation, I only speak for the actual time I've spent with him and he's given no indication of such. Those witnesses may very well be experts, but my money would be that they are likely the same type experts that the mayor proposes to be. We both know that reputations seldom reflect fact. If you have something factual, I'm sure the mayor could use you.

mudcat's picture

Anybody who thinks the gateway bridge is a shot in the arm for that shopping center anchored by a Dollar Store is dumber than a box of hammers. Having Wynmeade and apartment people drive their golf carts over to shop at the Dollar Store or eat oriental food is not a quick fix for that center. Of course maybe Munford was just being funny - he can do that sometimes. A fatal overdose of heroin is also a "shot in the arm". Funnyman.

Imker is right. This was a horrible idea under Brown and we are still paying for it years later with no bridge. BTW, I thought there was some rule that city councils could not obligate or bind future city councils to certain things. Guess this isn't one of those things. 6% interest rate for land we don't want and don't need. I'd rather have a convenience store.

Does either one of you realize how many fine homes with money are past the old housing in Wynmeade..and how many more are planned? They will use that bridge. I don't blame those people for not wanting a gas ststion there.
It will have more than a dollar store on the other side.

Do you realize the taxes that will be collected also? We will be out of this recession before 2016 when Obama retires!

The old crooked Development Authority did us in with the Tennis Center. We are still paying for a Tennis Pros signature, a bank board member, and a lawyer board member.

Curious to find out.

As far as golf cart access, believe it or not, I do plan most of my weekend travel around this. No easy access, no go for me. That's a great thing about living pretty much in the center of town.

Yes, they are open. Have gone once, had a great omelette. Large portions on the food, paid almost $30. for 2 of us (with tip), a little pricey. Didn't care for the biscuit, though. When I threw it, it didn't fly, as the next table over found out.

Give it a try, I would go back, not your "usual" menu. Was there for the lunch rush and they were packed.

Anyone tried the Mexican place across hwy 54, with the patio? (the old Maxwells)

that moved from the location on Hwy 74, same center as the Tavern and Grinds and Vines....

Was decent enough there, not sure how much they would have changed.

I'll give the Biscuit a try.

MajorMike's picture

Since you like to dine out.

I understand that there is a new place called Cheers in the Fayetteville Publix shopping center where Mike & C's used to be. I understand that it is a broad menu and the owner is a twenty year jarhead. Intertainment is by Michael Reid who played at el Reposo.

My spousal better half and I will try it out tonight.

If you like Turkey Bacon & Chicken Sausage for bkfst, that's your ticket!

Opening wek and restaurant was less than 50% full.
Got offers for a 3rd ice tea refill before food came out.. Was expensive with 3 adults we spent 35+ including tip. and no one really thought the food was very good.

Why is there such a strong opposition for building a gas station in that area? Especially against a Quicktrip which is the nicest of all the major chains.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

There was no real gas station either. The land was unbuildable for a gas station because of the water table (as Jim Williams told them early on), but the developer played on the anti-achievement attitudes of the rookie mayor and rookie city council in 2002 and suckered them into believing he would build a gas station or maybe a convenience store without gas pumps, if you could believe that - specifically a Quick Trip. Brown and his cronies wanted the gateway bridge as their legacy so they rushed into a dubious land deal that we are still paying for today. They tried to portray it as if they were saving us all from a gas station because the land was zoned GC and that was a permitted use. Also, you will notice there is no bridge - even today - almost 10 years later. Seems our genius mayor forgot that he would need land on the other side of the road to complete the bridge, but that's an entirely different story.

Live free or die!

Why is there such a strong opposition for building a gas station in that area? Especially against a Quicktrip which is the nicest of all the major chains.

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