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PTC fees kill industry deal, 165 jobs

A Jonesboro company that had intended to relocate to Peachtree City has withdrawn from the effort.

Low Temp Industries Inc., would have brought 165 jobs here but has bowed out because the company would have to pay for the city sewer line to be extended to its proposed site at the intersection of Ga. Highway 74 and Redwine Road.

Low Temp president Ben Casey, in a letter to the city, said the company would be terminating its land purchase agreement immediately.

“Due to the mounting project costs associated with the sewer, tap/impact/permit fees, landscape requirements and overall land cost, we have determined that the project is not feasible today,” Casey wrote. “Therefore we are unwilling to move forward with the project at this time and are disappointed to convey this news.”

Casey in his letter noted that in recent weeks the unresolved issues surrounding the relocation left the company with the impression there was never “a single person in charge of shepherding the project through the various governing authorities towards a successful result.”

“Over the past few weeks, our confidence in the ability to develop the site has diminished,” Casey said. “The inability of the city, the Fayette County Development Authority and the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority to get the sewer issue resolved at no cost to Low Temp coupled with the confusion over fees, buffers and schedules between the county, city and planning commission made the road to relocating extremely difficult to forecast and comprehend at times.”

Low Temp was projected to have to pay $51,000 in sewer tap-in fees but the city’s Water and Sewer Authority was willing to chip in $250,000 of the projected $550,000 cost for the sewer extension project, said WASA General Manager Stephen Hogan. The authority would have later recouped that money from future development, Hogan said.

The authority planned for Low Temp and another developer that would have benefitted from the extension, Dominion Properties, to split the remaining $300,000 cost for the sewer expansion, Hogan said.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

No need to have a professional negotiate with companies relocating to PTC, a low level staffer can do it and we will save $20 per house. Sure ladies, good plan - eco development on the cheap. Way to go girls. Let's keep makin the same mistake over and over again.

Live free or die!

I thought that the City was trying to get a professional economic development person working for the City ... it seems like that surely now seems like a no brainer. Who is blocking it?

“The inability of the city, the Fayette County Development Authority and the Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority to get the sewer issue resolved at no cost to Low Temp coupled with the confusion over fees, buffers and schedules between the county, city and planning commission made the road to relocating extremely difficult to forecast and comprehend at times.” - Ben Casey

If what Mr. Casey says is true and complete, interesting that DAPC apparently was not involved with working with this company in resolving their issues. Wonder why not?

Have to wonder too if the negative comments by bloggers made Mr. Casey realize that maybe he, his company and 165 jobs were not welcome here in PTC.

Don Haddix's picture

Was very much there and Mr. Casey had no criticism of DAPC. In fact Mr. Casey recognized DAPC played a key role and a paid Director would have enhanced negotiations and would be beneficial to PTC.

The fact he was annoyed with the City aspects shows having a city employee Coordinator trying to do development work would have been a negative, not a plus. As well as illegal in several ways.

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


Your posting was not clear if this was the case, but if the mayor and two sitting council members met at the same time with reps from Low Temp, that would be a quorum and unless notice was sent to the press (which I doubt since the meetings were secret), then they would be in violation of the state's Sunshine Laws. Can only assume that Sturbaum would be one of the sitting council members (after all, he and the mayor are joined at the hip) but wonder who the third one would be.

And if what you say is true about the mayor, two sitting council members and DAPC not doing their homework, then it sounds like the Keystone Cops were in charge of this fiasco.

I've been a supporter of increasing the DAPC funding but after this, may be changing my mind.

And yes, can't wait to read the mayor's rebuttal and blaming of others.

Don Haddix's picture

There never was a quorum, I informed Council and Staff I was working with a company interested in coming to PTC, DAPC did its homework, FCDA was brought in immediately and never rejected them and so on. The State Development Rep was brought in as well.

GALtant first appeared when I spoke against the Callulah Hills development proposal. He sent several emails to Council as GALtant, not his real name, so we don't even know if he lives in PTC, claiming I was violating law, telling Logsdon to order me to shut up, etc.

His post, before it disappeared, made a lot of false claims. I have to ask where did he get all these so-called facts? What was his supposed source?

I am not blaming anyone. Simple reality is Low Temp visited several counties and even another State. They found out there was a lot more costs involved in relocating than they expected. The best offers that could be made were made by the FCDA, State, Staff and WASA, but Low Temp decided it was not financially feasible at this time. But they may come back in the future.

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

Mike King's picture

Transparency and open government, this surely has a fishy smell to it.

I wouldn't characterize it quite like the Citizen Steve fiasco with John Wieland, but the Mayor is certainly in the middle of it.

on this one. After all, he is the Council liaison to the Water Authority, is he not?

Wouldn't he be kept informed of these negotiations?

Don Haddix's picture

He was at the WASA Meeting where their board discussed and debated the issue and at prior WASA meetings where I do not know if it was discussed or not. He was the only one from Council present. He heard it all, every bit as much as I heard on that issue.

The point being missed in all of this, I believe, is at this stage negotiations were between Low Temp and Authorities, who are exercising powers outside that of Council, Mayor or Staff. Staff is only information sources.

Neither Council, the City Manager or I are in control. That is how the law is set up, meaning to keep us out.

No point had been reached to bring Council in. I only attended 4 total meetings, one to kick it off and bring in DAPC, one to tour the plant, one to listen to where everyone was in the stalled negotiations and one hear to hear it said no more could be offered. The letter came to me at the same time it went to everyone else, so all of Council was informed by Low Temp at the same time.

Finally, it is the Mayor's job to represent Council and inform them. In this case inform them of what beyond what I did, meaning a company was interested in coming here and they were talking?

That is why we need DAPC funded. Staff cannot do it because it is not legal. Staff, in a case like this, cannot do anything until the Step One is approved.

A DAPC Director is the ideal coordinator for such efforts. We don't have one nor enough funding for DAPC.

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

Sorry but something smells fishy here. Anyone familiar with economic development knows you don't announce a company relocation until all the issues have been addressed and the deal has been signed. Yet you announced the relocation and now you are saying no surprise or big deal...they visited other counties and another state and decided to move elsewhere. If that's the case, why did you announce they were coming here before all the issues had been resolved? This reminds me of Roy Barnes several years ago announcing Daimler-Chrysler was building a facility in Pooler just to gain political points while running for Governor. For someone who brags about being in economic development for many years, I am shocked at the amateurish actions taken by you and DAPC. This is no way to conduct economic development activities.

Don Haddix's picture

When an annexation is involved. That, by law, is required to have public hearings and Staff cannot do the needed work until the Step One is approved, so the name has to come out. So you are wrong in this scenario.

If it was just a business relocation you would be correct. There are some discussions going on with other companies, which I have zero involvement with, but you have are not going to hear any names.

Finally, a lot of details and information came out over time, not immediately.

So, no, you are incorrect. In some cases the names have to be out before the deal is sealed.

Am I disappointed they are not relocating here? Yes.

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

Who deleted your post?

You know I don't remember reading anything about another development benefiting from the sewer as well. What was the other project?

Maybe it was good this thing went away. Who has the information?

Don Haddix's picture

That would be the future Medical Center across the road on 6 acres already in PTC and Dominion, where the Somerby age restricted community is planned in example.

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

TinCan's picture

Isn't there already sewer in the industrial park areas? Seems a pretty expensive proposition for a poverty stricken city to put a factory where it dosen't belong in the first place. OK, it would have short circuited the retail development, but that's a bit like the proverbial cutting off your nose to spite your face. That comment regarding future development for making up the cost was an interesting little tidbit.

Don Haddix's picture

Not in all of it. The Columbia and Dominion parcels, across from the Wilshire Shopping Center, in example, do not have sewer, at least yet. The AutoZone is on septic I believe. Nor does Meade Field.

WASA has a lot of excess capacity. Using up most of it would make sewer cheaper for all of us in the long run.

As of right now your probably looking at another rate increase.

The Southern Pines site is a difficult site. It is very wet so homes is not a good option at all. Especially on septic.

Remember retail in the County would include more than stores. So I am concerned about that scenario.

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

The Southern Pines site is a difficult site is true, but only when you're trying to stuff a bunch of houses or industry on it. What it would make would be an excellent park- an extention of Meade fields, a walking/fitness track, and maybe a multi-use field for junior sports.

Surely the PTC Youth Football Association would like to find somewhere other than the fields behind Starrs Mill so their parents could stop double-parking in no parking zones (though that seems to be one of their hobbies). It would be great if the Starrs Mill lacrosse team didn't have to beg time over in Brooks.

All in all, a park would be the best fit for the area (with it's wetland issues), and would fit the idea of greenspace around the city better. Best of all, the facilities would be able to use a small septic system, and we could stop playing the WASA game there.

The only trick to making it happen is to get the current owner to part with it for less than an unreasonable amount of money, which I grant is highly unlikely.

I too think the area is best suited for recreation. As for the owner parting with it, I believe the tax code allows for a tax write-off in the amount of a donated property's value. Have you checked into this kind of arrangement Mr. Mayor?

Don Haddix's picture

The Southern Pines LLC wants retail value for the property.

The idea of being a park or Rec was discussed two years ago and went no where.

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

If I am not mistaken, the company does get retail value (appraised value) for the property if it donates it to the city/county, so it is the tax implications of any such donation that are the key here. Perhaps time to study up on the tax benefits to the current land owner if they do donate.

Don Haddix's picture

There are legal limits to how much of tax break one can get.

The Husky owners at one time were thinking of donating the building to PTC but the tax break was not enough to justify it.

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

Could be, but there are myriad ways to structure land deals to maximize tax benefits I would think, including conservation trusts, special purpose corporations, slicing the land up into various parcels, etc. A good real estate accounting firm should be able to come up with something.

This Company probably just doesn't realize how lucky they are that the PTC Deal didn't work out. PTC is the most business unfriendly city that I have ever dealt with. Ridiculous rules, incompetent government, all costing businesses a lot of money that is completely unnecessary. Happy I don't work thee any more.... Now there will be somebody who will jump in there and tell me how wrong I am --- but they just haven't lived it and dealt with it regularly.

I'm sorry you had so many problems.

Can you make some suggestions as to how the city could improve? Do you feel a professional Dev. Director might help? What can the city change? Can you provide some specifics on ways we can change things? What rules, who(are) is the incompetent govt. employee(s)? I'm not asking for names, just enough detail so that we can see what can be fixed.

Key to economic growth in a community, preservation of a tax base, and stable increase in property values are simple: Good Schools and Job Growth. Gwinnett saw it's tax base begin to collapse and their growth go flat as they ignored failing school districts that lead to the death spiral of property values in those areas. PTC is unique...not just because of the work life balance and the great recreational environment the paths offer, but the schools continue to excel. If you keep property values growing, first you don't have to increase property taxes and second, lower income, transient people can't afford to live there. With the geographic limitation of new growth in housing, the city has to consider how it will grow its property tax base. Annexation is a costly and unwise option that would dilute the closeness of our community. Thinking toward the future, increasing property taxes is not wise. However, growing the value of the tax base to have a similar effect is...everyone wins. Bring good paying Jobs here and fund the schools sufficiently so they can continue to excel. You will create an environment where people will add onto older homes (like you see happening in Decatur around the Oak Grove school district) just to become a resident of PTC and be within our school districts. Whether the job is in Fayette County or in PTC proper, doesn't really matter, just that folks don't have to drive to Atlanta to work. It is imperative to get the Development Authority glitches worked out and a Development Director funded so we can effectively collaborate with our bigger economic partner, Fayette County, and streamline economic development across the county, keeping PTC interests at the forefront so we can enjoy another 50 years of stable, steady growth.

Karen Rands & Jim Bock Peachtree City Residents

I think it's great the company is not coming. What's wrong with a little green space? There are plenty of empty warehouses in PTC they can move into. Save the trees! I live right by the area these businesses want to come to - the traffic is brutal & we don't need that many more cars coming from out of county to jobs here. I am so happy they changed their minds - yah!

decided their fully depreciated and probably paid for building in the Jonesboro area wasn't so bad at all. :)

And if they had problems with Landscaping Requirements, etc..they are better off in Clayton.

Have we reached the point where any new business is good, regardless of the fine print?

Low Temp is moving out of Clayton County. They assemble institutional kitchens - low skill, low wage jobs. Their 165 employees currently come from Clayton, Spalding and Henry counties. They wouldn't be employing many, if any, Fayette County residents. Most of their existing workforce would just start traveling over here everyday - so very little in the realm of actual new jobs to Fayette.

The Casey family lives in Peachtree City and they just want to get out of Clayton. I can't blame them for that. Some commercial agents I know say that the Casey's have been looking for years at how they can move the business to Fayette, but it never could work financially. Their business is so tight on margin and so tied to the school calendar that there's very little extra cash on hand. They figured that if they could get the community to help fund their development, they'd make it work, but that would require community development of infrastructure, site work and tax abatements. That's dollars out of our pockets to fund their enterprise. I don't necessarily have a problem with that if it's an investment and we see a return. Based on what I've heard, the dollars necessary from the community to make this work would result in the community not seeing a financial return for many, many years, potentially upwards of 30 to 50 years or more!

The two biggest things a company can bring are jobs and investment. This one wasn't bringing much of either. Not sure who Mr. Casey was really mad at here, but if my info is right, I'm proud of those who chose not to give away the farm.

Looks as if we asked them to chip in about $300,000 dollars for sewers and I suppose other fees.

There are plenty of people in Newnan, Fayeteville, south of town, and even Clayton who would and could work there. Maybe even some of the section 8 people here.

I think however the plug was pulled when we found out they didn't pay well.

I saw this article today and thought timing was perfect to validate why PTC needs to fund the Development Authority to have a coordinated effort to collaborate with Fayette County on economic development and job creation. Your points are well taken.... creating more traffic here for commuters outside of Fayette County and Clayton County for that matter doesn't bode well to what our real goals should be for growth in PTC and preservation and growth of property values. Create well paying, skilled jobs so that people who can afford $250K to $400K houses will move to PTC to be close to work AND enroll their children in our superior schools. So maybe it was good then that Low Temp backed out, but the reasons are not and do not bode well for our intention to attract other companies. We cannot afford to act like bumbling country bumpkins when it comes to attracting stellar companies because we don't communicate and collaborate effectively with the county or with the target employer.

Karen Rands & Jim Bock Peachtree City Residents


Low Temp would pay 51k in sewer tap in fees. WASA would pay 250k out of projected 550k cost of sewer extension. So who pays the 250k difference here (less the 51k??)

Don Haddix's picture

Low Temp would have had to pay. But they wanted PTC, WASA or FCDA to pay instead.

But the county and city was already looking at a 50% reduction in property tax on a ten year sliding scale. So adding another 250k on top of that was prohibitive.

As well 500k from WASA was prohibitive. But they were the only ones who would be collecting sewer fees to get any recovery over time at all.

There was also the 250k anticipated cost of the deceleration lane.

When you run the formula it would have been decades to do a recovery of that scale.

There are cities who have gone all out to land all industries. They ended up with a lot of great employers but could not pay their bills.

Maybe some of the approved Dominion and Columbia developments, back in 2007, will move forward and lower the cost where Low Temp can come back, which in turn would encourage the medical center development to build.

Maybe something will change and they will locate in the Industrial Park in an existing building.

Development proposals have a lot of 'maybes' in them. But if we don't try we don't grow our economic base.

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

Dare I ask why/when is a rate increase coming down the pike from WASA?

I am now officially on board for a 150K budget item to fund a new Dev. Authority Director for PTCDA.

And please make one of their goals to be to help bring in some businesses that will generate more sewer fees so us homeowners will not be hit with rate increases!! Within guidelines, of course.

Tell me, will SANY be on WASA's system?

Don Haddix's picture

When, I do not know. That is a WASA decision.

Yes, every new industry reduces the WASA excess capacity and offsets costs, so rate increases are less needed.

Yes, Sany will tap the WASA system.

And absolutely DAPC with a Director is critical to economic growth.

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

Thank you for your time and answers.

I still don't get this need? I still don't get the tourism department. Fayette is 1 of the smallest counties in GA... How does Coweta Co handle all this? Seems to me the answer is to chip in w/ the county. PTC already pays double for fire & ems & recreation.

Don Haddix's picture

Newnan has a Downtown Development Authority and the Coweta a Development Authority.

Coweta has a CVB.

All are very well funded. I believe the DDA was the one with the $510,000 Budget.

The Vadosta-Lowndes Development Authority Budget it about $800,000 year and their DDA Budget is $108,000. They have a Main Street as well.

Fayetteville has a Main Street.

Matt Forshee, the former FCDA Director is now in Athens-Clark, one the counties so small the County is the city as well. His salary is $100,000 a year as their Authority Director.

Depending on the city a DDA or DA is the economic development engine. I know of no city succeeding without an authority.

As for Fire I don't think you would want to be with the County. Their ISO is 9, ours is 3. But if I remember correctly the double taxation on Safety was fully resolved in prior years.

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

There are a dozen sites along Dividend drive where a business that want to locate to PTC can locate. I cannot see why we need new construction and additional infrastructure development when so much sits idle.

I can see making a deal to fill existing idle sites. But this sounds like some outfit trying to play the system to get something for free. Ifthey are serious - thne please work with the city adn county to utilize current idle sites. They can be developed cheaper for a mutual win - win - Assuming that is really the goal.


I wonder what Clayton offered to keep 'em.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

What Clayton did to keep them was to not charge them double for their sewer - 1 charge through normal rates and another charge to extend the sewer lines to their location. Newsflash PTC - those days are over. You can't use something from a 1980's playbook when you are in the uncertain economic times of 2010. At the risk of being repetitive - get a professional to run economic development. Part of his or her job would be to develop timely and relevant strategies to attract and keep industry - as opposed to part-timers and rookies making it up as they go along or clinging to something devised in the 70's, used with great success in the 80's and early 90's because "we have always done it this way"

Live free or die!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

were much more revealing and pertinent in the other newspaper.
It showed beyond any doubt that we need a full-time professional in charge of economic development. It is astounding to me that there is anyone left who has a different view, but apparently there are at least 3 on city council who don't understand something this basic.

This is as simple as "you get what you pay for" as in all endeavors involving volunteers and the famous 80/20 rule. Economic development was fine under Frady, Brown (the real one) and Lenox. The wheels came off the wagon when the other Brown started his purge of the old guard and annoying PCDC, who, like them or not, supported economic development with people and dollars - more than anyone else in this town. Even Group VI, took it's role in economic development seriously until the purge demoralized its management. It is time for the city to shake itself out of the doldrums and malaise still lingering after 10 years of questionable leadership and move on to a teamwork approach - not only within council, but with the county, state and major landowner (that remains PCDC).

Get something done councilpeople. You can stonewall the budget if you want, but try to represent the intelligent majority of voters and taxpayers who know that a coordinated and professional economic development program will do more for the city (long term) that your stupid grandstanding over milage rates and personnel policies.

Live free or die!

jwoo's picture

The 1960's and 70's (and even the 80's)were a lot more fun than this.
I got a bang outa this one Robert, so true.....

PTC Observer's picture

agree more.

We need to have someone in charge of planning and execution at DAPC, and looks like no one is in charge now, including the Mayor.

My only concern is that this position will become yet another city paid "entitlement" position with no goals or objectives. That if objectives do exist the director will not be held accountable. Having the City Council fire the person for not getting the job done will be nearly impossible. Too many close connections to city hall.

So we are left with needing a person to run things and having a council in charge of the accountability part. I don't see this working.

Sorry, Mayor Haddix I just don't see you ever saying that you made the wrong choice.

jwoo's picture

Now you still have nothing and no job base. BRAVO, you couldn't get the deal done. Sometimes the small breaks can lead to greater results. You need creative financing to get some jobs done, especially in this economy. Economics 101 boys, Put the Hero trophy back on the shelf, you blew it. .

There's been a lot of discussion on this board about the merits of increasing funding for DAPC to hire a staff person versus hiring a Development Coordinator on City Staff. Ted Meeker has already ruled that there is no legal conflict with the City Staff option so lets dismiss that argument against the City staff scenario right off the bat. Some have wondered why Haddix is insistent on the DAPC staff person and is unwilling to listen to the other option on the table. Here's my theory as to why. It's all about control. Haddix is the City Council liasion to DAPC. I believe I read that Sturbaum is the City Council liasion to the Tourism Association whose Board now has a sitting member of the DAPC on its Board. If the funding for DAPC is approved, even though the hiree will interview with and report to the DAPC Board in theory and while they have no voting power, both Haddix and Sturbaum will have a great deal of influence and say-so in the hiring of the DAPC staff person as well as the day to day duties of said person. Neither Mark Hollums (who I have a lot respect for) nor the rest of the Board is going to stand up to the Mayor to exert DAPC's true independance as mandated by state law. Make no mistake, the Mayor and Sturbaum will be knee deep in the selection of this person. If the person is hired as a City staff person, the opportunity to control the selection gets a little more difficult. Yes, City Council may have approval to the selection of the person but Haddix and Sturbaum's influence with the selection would be greatly diluted since three other Council members would also be part of that approval process. And that person would report to the City Manager as do other city staff putting some distance between the hiree and the Mayor/Sturbaum influence. So in the end, like most things around here, this boils down to control and surprise there I guess.

Don Haddix's picture


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

Don Haddix's picture

The Liaisons rotate each year. This year we were on the two with the most money and most flux simply because we were the only two with experience. That will change next year.

In my proposal Council will hire a person who will be contracted to DAPC. That gives all of Council the hire and fire power while simplifying payroll etc. and DAPC control of the Director's work, not Staff or Council. That is Attorney reviewed and approved.

Absolutely wrong on what the Attorney said. He made it very clear a Staff person cannot control DAPC nor do DAPC work under the control of the Community Development Director, City Manager or Council.

The objection that what was proposed for a Development Coordinator's role was upheld by our Attorney. My proposal which gives some city control but puts the person totally under DAPC control was upheld as legal.

It is a compromise between positions.

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

Mike King's picture

As tight as revenue currently is, how do you propose paying for this position? Have you prioritized other positions that could be eliminated to make money available? If so, what is being considered? Surely you would not be adding yet more to 'staff'.

You mention Community Development Director, have we hired such a person?


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