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Imker: PTC to woo new businesses

At an informal meeting on the Peachtree City budget between citizens and City Councilman Eric Imker last weekend, the talk turned away from budget cuts toward another side of the city fiscal picture: how to increase revenues.

One resident contended that if the city is to be run like a business, it must emulate the most successful companies that focus on revenue constantly, at every turn.

The city’s revenue largely consists of local sales taxes and property taxes. At the beginning of this year the city hired on a new staffer to head up the city’s economic development initiative, but Joey Grisham left after several months due in large part to political uncertainties.

Imker told a group of about a dozen citizens that council thinks they have remedied the problem by making the economic development coordinator report directly to the city manager instead of to a separate department head. The city will be hiring a new economic development coordinator in the future, Imker said.

There was some concern over Grisham earlier this year after a flap in which the wife of Mayor Don Haddix told him in the midst of a store grand opening that she hoped his tenure would be short-lived. Mayor Haddix later clarified that that opinion was the view of his wife, and not his own opinion.

“The task of our new economic development coordinator shouldn’t be political and naturally it became that,” Imker said. “And that’s one of the major reasons Mr. Grisham left. But we hope to make sure it’s not that way in the future.”

The attraction of new business helps not just the city and its property tax base, but it also helps entities such as the city’s water and sewer authority, which drastically raised rates last year due to declining revenues, one resident noted.

Imker also noted that the Fayette County Development Authority also works to pursue large-scale business prospects for the city’s industrial park in particular, and he feels the authority does a great job in its role.

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