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PTC Council to consider new E-911 tax, bond payoff

A move that would result in citizens paying additional property taxes to fund the county’s Emergency-911 system will be considered by the Peachtree City Council Thursday night.

Currently, the city is slated to pay $253,000 as its contribution to E-911 operations in the 2011-2012 fiscal year. After that year, the city would no longer be making those payments, as the monies would come from the tax that would be assessed countywide.

The tax, however, would start this year and will help the county pay off the capital improvements to the system which it has funded in recent years. The plan is for this to be the final year of the city making such payments, which means it won’t have to pay in subsequent years.

The majority of the E-911 center’s budget is funded by revenues from 911 fees placed on land-line and cellular telephone bills. That accounts for $1.8 million of the center’s budget for the coming fiscal year.

The remaining $786,000 in costs has been funded by the county and each municipality, with each paying in a share based on their portion of the county’s entire population.

This year, the county is expected to pay in $364,000, with Peachtree City paying $253,000, Fayetteville paying $117,649 and Tyrone paying $50,756.

Thursday’s council meeting at City Hall starts at 7 p.m.

In other financial business, council is expected to consider using $784,000 in cash reserves to pay off a bond issued in 2006 funding a settlement reached in lawsuits between the city, a bank and two contractors stemming from improvements made to the city’s tennis center.

The refinancing is expected to save the city $53,841 if the loan is paid off by Sept. 1, according to a memo from Finance Director Paul Salvatore.

The lawsuits initially sought $1.7 million in compensation but the settlement chopped that figure down to $920,407.

The 2006 loan to pay the settlement had an interest rate of 5.93 percent, the second highest among all outstanding loans to the city.

In paying off the loan now, the city will not have to make any more of the annual loan payments of approximately $143,000 for the next five fiscal years.

The city also looked at refinancing 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.

But that loan isn’t financially feasible to pay off because of the “costly breakage fees,” Salvatore wrote in the memo.

The city still has scheduled six more years paying off that loan with annual payments of $87,000 and an interest rate of 6.12 percent. Councilman Eric Imker has called it one of the “worst deals” in city history.

Council is also expected to reallocate some $705,000 in unspent funds from the 2003 transportation sales tax to pay for street resurfacing and cart path upgrades in fiscal year 2013.

In doing so, the city will be taking $159,000 earmarked for the cancelled “gateway” cart path bridge over Ga. Highway 54 West. The city is hoping the project is funded by a regional sales tax which will be voted on in June 2012.

The remaining funds being reallocated are coming from the contingency line item.

The city is also using more than $2 million in those SPLOST funds to pay for street resurfacing and cart path system upgrades in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years.

Council also is slated to consider shortening the minimum distance a business must be from a school building or college campus for the purpose of serving wine or malt beverage alcohol. The distance would shrink from 200 feet to 100 feet, but it would not apply to distilled spirits (liquor), which would remain at a minimum distance of 200 feet.

The change is being sought because the city has been unable to approve two such new licenses in the Westpark shopping center because of the recently-moved colleges leasing space in the adjacent office park: Clayton State University and Atlanta Christian College.

The change will also allow council to consider allowing alcohol to be served at the city’s Gathering Place senior/events center.

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