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PTC may disband development authority

Is there room in Peachtree City’s economic development plan for the Development Authority of Peachtree City? That was the question on the minds of DAPC members as they met for the first time since March in light of a funding cut-off by the Peachtree City Council.

Last year, council voted to remove the $35,000 in funding for DAPC from its budget, effectively mothballing its operations in favor of a new city staffer guiding economic development for the city. And now there is talk that council may move to dissolve the all-volunteer group entirely.

DAPC Chairman Todd Strickland hopes that’s not the case. He argues that the authority has had success in helping communicate with existing industries, and there is also headway to be made in recruiting smaller “incubator” type businesses, office-type companies and others that are not on the radar of the Fayette County Development Authority.
FCDA is tasked with working with state economic development officials on larger prospects such as the recently-opened Sany heavy equipment campus in the Peachtree City industrial park.

Prior to its de-funding, DAPC was working not just with existing industries but also with existing small businesses, helping them band together to form merchants associations at several city shopping centers.

DAPC also played a role in the effort to convince Atlanta Christian College to move here, and also hosted a series of meetings with students from Georgia Tech who helped create a potential future vision for what the city will look like.

Strickland sees a pretty big hole in business recruitment with the shuttering of efforts from Pathway Communities, the company which owned much of the land in the city and industrial park.

“There’s a big vacuum that’s left,” Strickland said. “They were probably the most significant player in economic development in Peachtree City for many, many years.”
And that leaves an opportunity for the city to “really revisit how all the different groups work together in Peachtree City to bring in jobs and retain jobs with all the great companies we have here,” Strickland added.

“I sure hope the Peachtree City Development Authority stays in place and stays part of the team, but it may be out of our hands, and we’ll see where it goes,” Strickland said.
He added that the authority would abide by whatever council decides. Council’s responsibility, he noted, was to make decisions it thinks is in the best interest of the citizens, he added.

The council members who voted to de-fund DAPC in favor of the economic development coordinator arrangement did not attend Wednesday’s meeting. Longtime DAPC proponent Don Haddix, however, was in attendance.

Strickland said he understands the concerns of those who want to keep the authority from getting into problems because it legally can seek loans for economic development projects. The authority years ago built and operated the city’s tennis center and also operated the city amphitheater, but it ran into financial trouble which Strickland said was largely due to a full-time staff being overseen by part-time volunteers.

While the city will always be successful to a degree in large part due to its golf cart lifestyle, there is potential for more success if the city is willing to look at economic development as a revenue generator, Strickland added.

“We need to look at development and redevelopment around town to continue our vision for the future as a place that people want to work and play,” Strickland said.



Stick a fork in's done. Shame on one can't take anything away from their desire to help the city. But the reality is without funding and support from Council, there is not much they could do to foster real economic development. The fact is the Fayette County Development Authority is recognized at the state level as the official contact agency for Fayette County. At best, DAPC was never going to be anything but a secondary player supporting the Fayette County Development Authority with industry recruitment and maybe helping with small business growth. And unfortunately having Haddix as their spokesman sure didn't help a bit. But never the less, hats off to the individual Board members for their willingness to give of their time and talents.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Elsewhere I have asked the cooler heads on council to get an independent study group together to find out how other communities operate and fund business recruitment. Mr. Haddix is of course the wrong person to have in their corner and in fact it may be determined that a structure different from DAPC is what is needed. but don't be throwing the baby out with the bath water before you have an idea of how you will replace it. No need to rush, after all DAPC is not costing you anything.

One idea that gets no traction at all is partially funding FCDO so we have a staffer devoted to just PTC or at least a place at the table and a designated staffer to talk to about PTC (instead of the mayor). Simple, cheap, easy. Even if you don't like that idea, there are many others that could be explored. Just be creative and open-minded.

Live free or die!

enough for me. Good grief.

On the surface, it is difficult to see the opposition to a group of people giving their valuable time to further business development in the community at almost no cost. The nominal organizational costs to support the DAPC over the past couple of years were more than justified as the only group really doing the job at hand.

It appears to me that in the devolution of many organizations, leaders begin to close the wagons to wider input. I do not know which is cause and which is effect, but in this case and at least one other I suspect our elected officials are falling into a common trap. It is always easier to shut something down than engage it, especially when another group of leaders is involved. Instead of engaging, groups in power restrict the activities where they can. Instead of guiding, listening, and leading, it is easier to cut it loose. Where volunteers are involved, the challenges are even greater.

In the case at hand, the answer is easy for this week. The council should do what they do best -- assume they were right in the last major decision of hiring a professional to assist in the job. Wait until that professional is up to speed and have him/her engage the DAPC and see where they can leverage each others resources (or determine no benefit exists and could not exist no matter who is appointed). I strongly suspect the DAPC would be seen as a cheap, but quality resource and that person's answer will help save the DAPC. If current members are not the best available resources, the council has the power to appoint.

I don't enjoy agreeing with something closely identified as the Mayor's goal here in light of his recent string of errors in judgment, but the city and the citizens benefit greatly from such groups and when used correctly, with adequate engagement, these resources can be leveraged ten fold, which can seldom be done with city staff. While the current council seems leery of the other powers of the DAPC, there is no evidence of any abuses and extensive evidence of their efforts on our behalf.

As staff and budgets grow, we need to strenghten, not weaken citizen involvement in boards and other organizations as these are the most meaningful channels of continuous influencial input in between elections. We need the DAPC because they represent the strength of citizen involvement, low cost but valuable resources, and specialized expertise beyond that within staff or elected officials. And, when used correctly, these special organizations can accomplish goals with methods not available to staff or council. We need to engage these groups correctly, support them, and thank them for the efforts they make on our behalf for while staff work for salaries and council work for stipends, these groups work for simple pride in our community and that is something that is soon to be in short supply unless we support it.

PTC Observer's picture


PTC Observer's picture

arguments for volunteer efforts to help the city, the only thing that has been cut is $35K from the budget to support DAPC. This too could be funded by citizens that are concerned about the lack of business development in the past few years. This assumes that the city would allow such donations.

" and the citizens benefit greatly from such groups and when used correctly, with adequate engagement, these resources can be leveraged ten fold, which can seldom be done with city staff. While the current council seems leery of the other powers of the DAPC, there is no evidence of any abuses and extensive evidence of their efforts on our behalf."

Just for informational use, can you give us a list of results of DAPC in the past? I am familiar with the "Keep PTC Beautiful" volunteer group and it has done some remarkable things for the city without much fanfare.

Without listing the project list for the DAPC, the real benefit is the process of working toward common goals. From a business perspective, working with insiders who are not politicians and business people who come from a similar perspective give those involved a sense of meaningful input into the future of the city. Maybe they will never bring a SANY, but they are the ones who will make the relationship work long term. Long after the mayor is gone, with a little support, a continuity of board members is very likely. More than one large corp relationship soured due to a lack of attention after the decision to move here (i.e. Cooper / Photocircuits). We need people to maintain those relationships because that referral will bring the next. Haddix and Brown will never sit on a meaningful corporate board that could relocate here, but those on Cooper's board will. We need a link between the short term elected official and the business at hand and it needs to be stronger than realistic with a city employee. On the small business side, we need to group members together with a similar and meaningful voice to reach common goals. PTC has never been particularly "business friendly". We treat businesses like it is a privilege to operate here. While once true, less likely to payoff these days in relationships or profits, but still we bring some here despite the obstacles we pile on. We need to invest in those who invest in us and though the DAPC is not the Chamber of Commerce, they have a meaningful role somewhere in between and if we would trust just a little, the ability to utilize tools unavailable to other parties involved. Small businesses need to know why they should continue to invest and have those who will guide them through growth, as well as help bring new business. Existing motels need a reason to see where the tax on their customers directly come back to them. We prematurely complain about "donor county", but we fail to listen to donor businesses. We need people to make the case for being here, make the case for the future of PTC, and make the case that counters so much of what we see in the papers about our community. The failure of keeping those special members of our community that can make that case over the five to ten year business expansion or move process will make our future much more difficult. We have already significantly limited the role of the DAPC, but now too many try to say they should be disbanded due to the limited role they have left. That role is the most important of all, for in the end we all must realize that the future of so many relies on the relationships built by those who know how to build and maintain them. I have yet to see it in a job description in the city org chart and yet to see it carried out reliably by our elected officials over multiple terms.

Mike King's picture

While in theory, your conclusions are quite plausible. What you're omitting is the fact that it is imperative that the city create an atmosphere of being pro business while maintaining the highest levels in quality of life. The quality of schools could also factor depending on the employee makeup. Face the fact that those businesses that chose to locate here (TDK, Gerisheimer, Sany, etc) did so primarily because of these two factors and did so without any DAPC involvement.

Our current business climate coupled with a poor economy and the ongoing soap opera at city hall have pretty much halted business development here for the foreseeable future.

In short, it is incumbent upon the city to attract business by creating an environment whereby Peachtree City could choose between competing companies.

It wouldn't matter if General Petraeus was the Mayor of PTC, we would get nothing significant in industry here due to the recession.

The APS thing also is too close!

The "soap Opera" at city hall has done nothing to deter industry.

As to local schools, they are broke and worsening as to student care.

If you want big industry, build a large shell building on large acreage with a sewer and water line.

Put in a technical school in PTC. (welders, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, high tech).

Should we give up just because it is a challenging atmosphere? Not only do we need to look to bring more, we need to invest in keeping the businesses we have.

APS is irrelevant as all inner city schools have major issues.

The soap opera at the city clearly has been a direct distraction for those working for our city and a negative when the sale needs to be closed. We need team members who show we have it together and can assist in the success of businesses that have a plan.

We already have large empty buildings. The tech school is a good idea, but students would need to commute to school and that is something that has been a challenge for other communities because students are poor. We would have to directly invest and so far we haven't even invested in Clayton State, the only school that really worked for a presence here.

We have a long way to go and giving up the DAPC is a step backward.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Did you know that in the 70's and 80's there was an informal quota on business relocation? In retail anyway, it was determined that only 1 supermarket, 1 bank, 1 liquor store, etc. would be allowed in each village center. Many were turned away during those years. Even doctors and dentists were gently guided to where the developer and the city thought best. It was either Mike Hyde or Jim Brandon that stood up against that and finally ended that practice, but that's the way it used to be and it was good old boy network at its very best.

No reason in the world that DAPC and a Grisham replacement couldn't co-exist. Of course it would be better to have DAPC funded and the Grisham replacement working on industrial and office growth instead of retail, but with those changes we would be in good shape as the economy recovers. Somebody is going to have to face the fact that we have too much retail - especially since there is no residential growth anymore, nor will there be any in the next 10 years. So, some of that retail needs to be converted to other use or else it will remain empty. Colleges, churches trade schools are the most likely candidates. I'm not a big fan of how the Better Way people tap dance around zoning, but at least they are creative and they certainly fill up empty spaces. Maybe a compromise between that and being openly anti-business like we have been. Need some leadership on that - and not from mayor or council.

Live free or die!

I thought one of the main purposes of a development authority in Georgia is that they are authorizied to issue development bonds that the city is then responsible for. Isn't it an independent agency, with a budget that needs to be funded creating an additional layer of government?

When budgets are tight, shouldn't we be making government smaller?

Does PTC want to issue new bonds to bring businesses here?

Can't an economic development manager working with the FCDA accomplish the same?

Couldn't a well qualified business development manager working for the city manager pull together a committee of citizens to work with to do what the DAPC did?

I think PTC is better off hiring a professional working directly for the city and let that professional pull together volunteers.
Call it the advisory board/commission for the economic development department...reporting to Mr. Pennington!

Someone please tell me...why is this mayor making a fuss over this?
Don't we have bigger issues to worry about!

Don Haddix's picture

That is not correct. A DA does not create bonds the City is then responsible for. Either they remain the DA responsible or most often they sell the bonds to the entity the bond is made for.

The bonds they create also are lower rates than the City can get. No, the Facilities Authority cannot do this.

That is one of the pluses of a DA, meaning no liability to the city. There was no legal demand, in example, the Tennis Center debt be assumed by the City. It actually required several legal moves for that debt to be assumed.

They do redevelopment, which the City cannot do. In example Fayetteville has a very actively Downtown Development Authority.

Additionally they can make profit from bonds, as the FCDA does. In some cities they are virtually self financing via redeveloping and selling or leasing property.

Fairburn is making money from their college complex. That was built by and run by their Authority because the city cannot.

An EDC can do none of the above and the city is fully liable for everything an EDC does.

The FCDA works for the County, not PTC. They do not do what only benefits PTC. So no, they cannot do the same thing.

Getting good jobs in PTC is a top priority to help us deal with a lot of issues facing the City financially and otherwise.

As for what they did on their incredibly limit budget, I think the redevelopment at Crosstown and Glenloch shopping centers was a pretty big deal. As was the creation of business associations. Not to mention having played key roles in some businesses coming here.

We have had years of the idea let the FCDA do it all, when they do not do redevelopment, are reactive, not proactive, do not do retail or office or a lot more. It has not worked well at all.

Matt Forshee, the last FCDA President said PTC needed a fully funded and working DAPC working for PTC because that was not the job of the FCDA. He was right, it isn't.

An EDC does retail and office, which does not create the disposal income needed to make retail viable.

We need a fully funded DAPC with its own Director hired by the City. Penny for penny the same cost as the EDC with a lot more bang for the buck. Move the EDC funding over to DAPC and contact the specialist over to them.

That is why I am making such as fuss over this. It is just plain common sense.

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

We may not always agree, but that show was excellent in my humble opinion.

The sarcasm is dripping off my computer monitor, Spy. Golly.

Don Haddix's picture

We loved it. Second time we have seen the Dirty Roots Band and really enjoyed them as well.

We took a series ticket for the Tribute Bands and tickets for two Concert Series show. One Series and one Tribute down, Bryan Adams and Departure: Journey Tribute Band next.

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

to PTC to keep this authority? Annual insurance pmt.-how much? Any other costs?

Don Haddix's picture

DAPC had been operating on $35,000 a year and getting things done. An EDC costs over twice that mount to even hire.

The EDC was Budgeted at $150,000.00 for one person plus operations cost.

DAPC could have the full Board of experts in their fields in place and working along with an Economic Development Director working for them for $150,000.00 a year.

The math and logic is pretty simple we get more from DAPC at the same cost.

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

Don Haddix's picture

To see how much DAPC could do if funded that an EDC cannot, go to:

http: //

Search: Chapter 62



Click: 36-62-2. Definitions

Click: 36-62-6. Powers of authority generally

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

Sorry, couldn't read yours!

No paragraphs. No sentences, etc.

Made me ill to look at it---couldn't read it.

PTC Observer's picture

Where would one locate the DAPC project list and the results associated with these projects?

Do we have access to this project list on the website? If so, could you provide a link? Clearly, if we have been funding DAPC we should have some type of metric against which we measure success.

Just trying to get some concrete "facts".

Not trying to begrudge anybody but what accomplishments, real, provable, backed up by real data, can the DAPC be credited for in the last ten years?

Try and stay away from the SANY project and alike as most of that work was done at the state and county level.

I'm looking for tangible, show me the money, type projects that have supporting financial data.

Again not trying to 'pick' on anybody I'd just like to know.

If you can, provide clear examples of what I asked for or provide contact information to someone who can.

If you can't do either of the above, then get rid of the DAPC and the expense as it obviously isn't worth the time and money you want to sink into it.

I would expect that the city has records, somewhere, that show the positive tax revenue the DAPC has been providing to PTC for the past several years.

As for the $150,000 you and Doug wanted to invest in the DAPC we should be tripping over its accomplishments on every street within PTC.

Thanks for asking this question (again).

Haddix will not answer you because there is no tangible proof of success of the DAPC. He wants the DAPC because he re-activated it. What's worse is he had his wife attack and scare off the last economic development manager and now he restarts the debate on the DAPC.

Look at all the time that has been wasted. What about representing the best interests of city!

Whatever, my guess is it will be on an upcoming agenda and 3 to 2 says byebye DAPC!

Let's move on city council.

Mr. Haddix
Why would you post something so misleading here.
If you look at the state's documents on Development Authorities and their legal defination as defined by Georgia you will see that their main purpose is for the issuance of development bonds.

Council members who sit with you on PTC council know this too. Ask them at the next council meeting.

I suspect a professional manager reporting to the city manager running economic development is better than a group of volunteers....Just adjust the job description to have him/her report to the city manager and expand the job description to bring in large companies.

Moe,Curly,Larry is asking what is the minimum cost to maintain the DAPC. Can you give the citizens that information? What are the associated costs especially in comparision to a full time employee...These are tough economic times..Since you are working on the budgets right now, can you tell us?

Also, BAD_PTC brings up a very good question. Can you tell us any tangible proof of performance that the DAPC has delivered on (please don't say Fresh Market because we know that's not true). What new businesses have they brought to PTC in the past 10 years?

If there are no concrete examples that you can tell us, then you should not have a problem with going along with the economic development management program. We are wasting time by not filling that job.

Thank you.

Don Haddix's picture

I posted the link to the State Law on Authorities, have taken all the classes on Economic Development, know people who work State level with Authorities and have worked with Authorities on actual projects.

No one else on Council can say the same except Councilman Sturbaum, with whom I agree on this matter.

Read the law in the link. They do a lot more than issue bonds. You and three on Council are wrong on this issue.

As for the others, I answered those questions many times and gave a review in posts below.

I came on to answer some questions. Having done that I will now withdraw and allow the bloggers to discuss/argue the points.

By the way, it is very true they played a key role in Fresh Market coming here.

Add: Almost forgot, the City, meaning the EDC, cannot issue those bonds. Nor can the role simply be expanded to do what DAPC does as it is not legal and one of the biggest reasons Authorities exist.

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

Mayor Haddix

I know you like to show off your knowledge, but sorry you are wrong.

Did you know that Council member Kim Lernard is a contractor for the State of Georgia, economic development? Surprised? Try speaking to the other council members other than Doug instead of fighting with them.

In the State of Georgia, large companies approach the State, from there, the state contacts the county development authorities....not the city authorities except the extremely larger cities which we are not.

Since the state goes to FCDA, we probably do not need FCDA telling the client to go to the DAPC...more layers...but FCDA can call a development manager like the one we had that was run of out town by Cathy Haddix....

The Fayetteville development authority you speak of is a "downtown development authority" which some small cities like Peachtree City have, but since we have no downtown, we do not need a downtown development authority.

Clearly you are reaching here to defend your position. The State of Georgia and Fayette County do not need another development authority operating in the system pursuing large companies. A downtown development authority would be a different thing.

Also, I do not believe that Matt Forshee told you that PTC needs its own development authority. I think you heard what you wanted to hear.

Putting all this aside...when the current bonds get restructured, and the DAPC can then be abolished, what will you do when the DAPC is abolished.
I guess you will have to move on and this time really support the economic development manager when they are hired!

Let's focus on the job, not the politics of the job! Thank you

Don Haddix's picture

Kim works with the employment end of the State, not the Authority end. She has never said anything differently in a meeting or to me. Try again.

Even our City Attorney told them an EDC does not have the powers of an Authority. That is in an email still in my folders.

Wrong on how companies come here as well. Some come via the State, some via the Rural Development Authority, some via the Chamber of Commerce, some directly to counties, some directly to cities and some other routes. There is no such thing as one official route.

We do not have an Downtown Development Authority in PTC. Again you are wrong. I am State certified for a DDA, so I know the difference.

I really don't care if you believe Matt Forshee said it or not. He did to me and a room full of people.

As for when they get dissolved, we will see how the election goes. 3 to dissolve and 3 to recreate, move the EDC funding over and contract the specialist to DAPC to be able to utilize their full power and authority.

I am focusing on the job.

No, I do not support Big Boxes and believe the Village Concept is a way of the future. So does my wife. Others do not, as is their choice.

Read the DA Law link below.


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


Mike King's picture

Having taken all the classes on Economic Development (your words), one might think you knew what you were talking about. Fact is, in your case the classes didn't help, and the people at state level still refer to you as the joke from Fayette County. Remember the ARC?

Please name one business the DAPC has brought to PTC in the last four years.
Point made.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Censuring the mayor is still on the agenda and I repeat my earlier point that a censure vote (4-1 would be great, but 3-2 is sufficient) sends a clear message to county and state government that we have a majority on council that want to preserve relationships and move forward in a positive way. And that the mayor's rantings do not speak for the entire council or Peachtree City.

Live free or die!


Robert W. Morgan's picture

Trust me

Live free or die!


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