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LowTemp explains why it backed out of PTC

Low Temp Industries is a 63-year-old, third-generation family owned and operated business that manufactures custom commercial kitchen food equipment to locations all over the continental United States. We have been at the same location in Jonesboro, Ga., since we began back in 1947. We are thankful for the opportunity we have to seek a possible relocation to a site and facility more suitable to meet our changing needs and growing customer base.

We were planning to invest over $8 million in Peachtree City and bring over 165 jobs to the area. Those jobs include skilled craftsman that we are very proud to say have an average tenure with the company of over 22 years.

Unfortunately, the Fayette County Development Authority, city of Peachtree City, and WASA elected not to provide the necessary financial assistance to deliver sewer to the site, reduce impact, permit and tap fees, all of which would have enabled the company to move forward in its final evaluation of the site and to develop the project.

We have had a difficult time knowing what to expect over the past few weeks as everyone on the City Council and FCDA board supported the project politically but would not commit financially to allow this retail zoned vacant land to be developed into an industrial headquarter facility for a growing Georgia business.

Low Temp remains very disappointed that the project could not be made feasible, as we were looking forward to growing our business and family operation in the Peachtree City community.

My parents have poured their lives into this company and made it the success story it is today. For that the third and even the fourth generation of our family are now committed to finding the best location to meet the needs of providing our customers with superior products coupled with excellent customer service and powered by innovation. While we forge ahead in our search, our mission remains the same. Our next move will be for the long term.

Low Temp Industries remains sincerely grateful for the consideration that was given to this project.

Ben Casey, president

Low Temp Industries, Inc.

Jonesboro, Ga.



I was hoping for better news than we received last week on this subject. In this dismal economy, surely our elected officials and boards would not let a company as classy and reputable as Low Temp slip away. I have known about this family for quite a while and everything I hear about them and their company is stellar. Do we really have the whole story? Why is no one from the Development Authority of Fayette County stepping forward and commenting? Isn't it their job to recruit companies, large and small, into all the cities in Fayette County? Did anyone do the math on what it would take to get sewer to the site they were considering and the payoff to the county and city to make it happen? Mr. Casey states above that they are looking for somewhere for the "long-term." Obviously, they have proved that being corporate citizens of their current location for over 60 years. Wouldn't it be nice to know we had new corporate citizens in PTC and Fayette County that were not running out the door to Mexico or downsizing at the first sign of a downturn? These folks want to SPEND money in a down economy. Way to go Peachtree City and Fayette County. Thanks for letting your inside politics ruin yet another incredible deal. Seems as though you better start communicating and figure out a way to get Low Temp back and other reputable companies like them. Future businesses read the paper too!

Don Haddix's picture

A bit of history here.

Low Temp came first to the County, but Chairman Smith wanted the site to be retail. So they came to me next and I brought in DAPC because this was an authority issue, not a political one at this time.

I worked the political side and the Step 1 Annexation passed 5-0.

There were tax breaks for ten years and trying to get every other break possible. But because this was a move within the State they simply did not qualify for hardly any of them.

The ten year property tax breaks from the County and PTC were not a question at all.

The $250,000.00 WASA offered would take years to recover. So another $250,000 would have meant a rate increase on everyones' bill, which would have not gone over well when there is already a rate increase being considered.

As for the County or PTC absorbing it, we do not get any of the WASA fees collected so it would have had to come via Sales and Property tax to recover the amounts. Running the math your talking decades to recover between this and the Property Tax break. We cannot afford to add to our infrastructure and service costs without paying for the services. Translation, tax increase.

Do we want them here? You bet. Has all conversations been ended? No.

This is an example of a reason we need DAPC funded. We need a local authority able to pursue every opportunity in a full and complete manner.

Just wanting companies to find us and move here without having a full time Director of a funded authority to be here to smooth out the bumps is absurd. Not actively seeking jobs is absurd.

A Staff member cannot do it by law. No Staff member can touch an annexation issue until the Step One is approved.

An elected official cannot do it by law either.

But as of right now funding DAPC is doubtful unless one of the three wanting to hire another Staff member change their mind. Yes, we need another person in Community Development, but that is a separate issue from this.

The supposed five year solution to our economic woes is tax increases that do not end in 2015. We cannot afford a tax and spend mentality.

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

First you correctly state:

"The $250,000.00 WASA offered would take years to recover. So another $250,000 would have meant a rate increase on everyones' bill, which would have not gone over well when there is already a rate increase being considered."

Then the train leaves the tracks when you state:

"This is an example of a reason we need DAPC funded. We need a local authority able to pursue every opportunity in a full and complete manner."

Ok Mr. Mayor, I'll play along for a little more.

What exactly would a $150,000/year DPAC leader done that wasn't already considered or attempted?

Would a fully funded DPAC have been able to magically produce the additional $250,000 to make this deal happen?

The last sacred cow the WASA had left PTC with a with an environmental cleanup problem akin to 3 mile island. The remaining Photocircuits sites will consume tremendous amounts of Federal Tax dollars to clean the sites and they, Photocircuits, received huge breaks on their water rates to boot.

Will spending $150,000 on DPAC make the cleanup costs for Photocircuits vanish?

Tell me Mr. Mayor, is PTC attempting to get federal tax monies for the cleanup effort?

Will spending $150,000 on DPAC prevent another Photocircuits disaster?

I didn’t think so.

Don Haddix's picture

A complaint by Low Temp was there was no central guiding/coordinating figure, so they had to deal with each separately. A funded DAPC with Director would have dealt with that issue right up front. So, not funded means no central figure.

Could a central figure with a State empowered authority maybe have been able to find some more funding or work out a better deal? Maybe, maybe not, but all that happened in the process the way it ran was a lot of upset people. What would not have happened would have been everyone independently contacting everyone else and causing confusion.

Low Temp actually took the position a funded DAPC was essential to PTC and would have greatly enhanced these talks.

I spoke with Mr. Casey on the phone and he had nothing but good things to say about my role and DAPC's.

As far as Photocircuits goes who do you think has taken lead on getting it cleaned up? Who do you think it takes to get them money without putting PTC in a liability position? DAPC.

So the train didn't leave the rail. Funding DAPC would have stopped a number of the complaints by Low Temp from occurring. Would it have found a way to fully fund the sewer? I don't know.

Look around at the cities who are enjoying employment growth. Their Authorities are there, be they Downtown Development Authority or Development Authority. They most assuredly do not consider the funding a waste of money at all.

What I can absolutely tell you is FCDA does not do most of what PTC needs done. They do not do proactive recruitment. They do great with the funds and manpower they have.

As well I can tell you a city Staff member cannot legally do the job.

So, do we sit still and let the world pass us by or do we at least get into the economic battle and try to win?

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

"Would it (DAPC) have found a way to fully fund the sewer?"

Let me answer that for you....nope! I'm sure if there was a way to fund the sewer, between FCDA, WASA and the City, a solution would have been found regardless of whether or not DAPC was at the table.

So "enhanced talks" or not, having the DAPC position would not have made a whit of difference in the outcome of this situation. Bottom line is without the reduction if fees and sewer extensions, this deal was dead from the get-go.

OK, so would somebody pls tell me this--why would either the owner or the city expect ANY development, whether it be retail or light industrial, of this property without sewer access? Ain't gonna happen. While I'm not privy to ANY of the negotiations or details, on the surface, looks like neither WASA nor City Govt is looking at the long-term future for the good of the city, only at "gee whiz, maybe residents will be pissed at another water/sewer fee increase (which they'll probably get anyway). Just seems short-sighted to me, but since I'm not a resident....

There may be some industries where lack of sewer is not a deal breaker but your assessment is correct. Without sewer, you just ruled out the vast majority of industries that may consider PTC Industrial Park as a potential location.

Yes, why couldn't the existing DAPC coordinate between the various parties on the Low Temp deal? Is there no point person at the current DAPC? Seems like it would NOT take another 100 grand or so to fix what seems to be organizational issues.

The current DAPC setup is a board comprised of volunteers who all have "real" jobs. But to your question, yes, the existing DAPC could have and according to Haddix was involved with this. Mark Hollums is the Chair and I'm sure he was the point person with this talking to FCDA, WASA, and the city. In other words carrying out the same function as the proposed staff person. It wouldn't have mattered whether or not a volunteer or a paid person was handling this one though. Without the reduction in fees and sewer extension, this deal was going nowhere even though Haddix would like for you to believe otherwise.

NUK_1's picture

I also don't see in any way how a full-time DPAC person would have helped this situation, except maybe it would have been DOA sooner when that person stated to LowTemp that what they wanted in terms of incentives wasn't possible. Trying to tie LowTemp's decision into the lack of a full-time DPAC staffer......I don't see that at all and it really weakens the argument that before looked fairly reasonable for having that 150K position. Now, I'm definitely having second thoughts.

LowTemp wanted a LOT and the City/DPAC/County/Residents aren't in the position right now to give out a lot for corporate welfare.

Low Temp and any other mid size to large company will always want freebies.
That's why counties and cities set up development authorities - so they can raise BONDS to pay for infrastructure to support the attraction of mid size to large companies.
How do you think the State of Georgia and FCDA got NCR to expand here or SANY to set up incentives and lots of other goodies!

Having the DAPC is like putting an "Ant on an Elephant's Ass"...can't see it and no impact!

PTC needs a development manager not another level of government.
Someone who is paid to be a professional manager at a good salary. Not someone fresh out of college earning a mere $35,000 a year charged with babysitting another authority...more government/just what we need!

Let the State of Georgia and FCDA work on the bigger companies and let a PTC business development manager work with the State and FCDA plus focus on what's important which is to attract retailers and small businesses to fill up our vacant commerical and retail space.

Your post is spot on, GAltant. Nothing to add.

NUK_1's picture

..but with a lot of the industrial park vacant and seemingly suitable "as is" and with sewer, they ain't going to get it, not unless they are really going to have a significant economic impact.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

No company is going to locate here if they have to first pay for a sewer extension to the property and then pay monthly sewer fees after that. A developer of retail property might do that since he will be collecting multiple rents from tenants, but a company who is going to own their own building won't do that.

Solutions? Have the company locate inside the city where the sewer lines are readily available at a modest cost. A professional point person would have guided the company in that direction instead of making a rookie mistake of promising something that was not about to happen. Now we have CYA on the city side and bad feelings on the company side.

Maybe city council can get off their collective butts on Thursday and fix this problem. Kim? I think it is up to you.

Live free or die!

Bobby, I feel certain that FCDA knows the sewer situation and tried to steer them to potential sites in the industrial park that has sewer. And hope that the City and DAPC did as well. Not sure why Low Temp was insistent on that site.

But you raise a good point. Without sewage, this city is going to have a hard time recruiting companies to the industrial park regardless of what kind of tax breaks are given.

December 4, 2009

<a href=" sacks 74S shopping center annex</a>

"WASA Chairman Wade Williams noted that if the annexation was approved, WASA stood to earn a significant amount in one-time sewer connection fees and also $180,000 a year in revenue. Williams also noted that the sewer option was more environmentally friendly than the septic-style system proposed for the development."

If you're implying that the WASA, City Staff and Council all forgot to mention the costs associated with extending the sewer service to that property then we have enabled one of the largest collections of in-component individuals ever to manage a city.

EVERYBODY knew about the costs associated with extending the sewer system. Low Temp was just hoping that they could convince the city to let the citizens eat the expense.

As for Mayor Haddix wanting to pay someone $100,000+ just to explain it to Low Temp in small words is an insult. The notion that some overpriced full time person could have made this deal happen is absurd.

The real problem that I see is that Mayor Haddix might actually believe the garbage he's spewing.

It's unnerving to think the Mayor of PTC is walking around naked and just doesn't realize it.

$150,000 is to fund the entire authority...the manager earns $35,000 a year. That's less than a retail store manager at the GAP! Who we going to hire for $35,000 per year?

Where's the job description for this person? Has anyone analyzed the proper pay structure for a job of this sort?

<a href= Council wrestles with range of proposed tax hikes</a>

“Haddix and Sturbaum want to increase the DAPC budget from $35,000 to $150,000 instead so the authority can hire its own employee.”

Under just that one blog Mayor Haddix responded to seven out of a total of 25 replies and not once did he dispute the quote above.

The last person to head the Tourism Authority made over $95,000/yr when she quit.

I would invite you to attempt to find that salary number on your own in either the PTC budget or the Tourism Association budget.

I’m not trying to be flippant I’m just saying that the salaries for these positions are not represented anywhere. Try and find out what the new director of the Fred makes or the head of the Airport Authority.

Operating expenses:
Salaries, wages and employee benefits $565,047.
Total operating expenses $834,050.
Salaries alone accounted for over 67% of the total operating expenses!

Now that the Development Authority has replaced the Tourism Association why would I expect things to be any better? Council wasn’t watching then so why should I believe Council will do any better now?

Mayor Haddix will tell you it’s not your money rather its money from the HMT. That’s crap. The Tourism Assoc. received over $500,000 from the HMT and spent more than that on salaries alone. Again Mayor Haddix will tell you that he and Council have no authority over how the authorities and associations are operated.

Until the PTC Council and the new and improved Development Authority can “show me the money” in a line by line budget and the PTC Council has ultimate operational control I’m not willing to increase their budget one nickel.

These authorities and associations have been operating like someone’s expensive play toys and it needs to stop.

I totally agree....

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Just last night our new (and slightly shaky) 3-2 alliance on city council came up with the perfect solution. Instead of the $150,000 needed by DAPC, they get nothing, zero, nada and council gets to hire a professional at $50,000 with no support budget in place until after the person is hired and then "it will be determined".

What's not to like about that, guys? Illegal? Ineffective? Idotic? Nah, it will be fine.

Live free or die!

"Unfortunately, the Fayette County Development Authority, city of Peachtree City, and WASA elected not to provide the necessary financial assistance to deliver sewer to the site, reduce impact, permit and tap fees, all of which would have enabled the company to move forward in its final evaluation of the site and to develop the project."

These are the reasons the President of Low Temp cited as the company not moving here. Having a DAPC staff person would not have made a difference here. The problems were lack of sewer as well as permit, tap and impact fees. How would having a DAPC staff person have changed that? Nowhere in his letter did he state that DAPC's not having a staff person was a factor. I know you really want this position funded but fibbing in the blogs is not helping your cause.

Mike King's picture

It's my understanding that the Pres of Low Temps eliminated PTC because of a disjointed response from the Mayor/Council and WASA. For example, should your company be enticed to move its operation to a more favorable locale by incentives in taxes or utilities and then at the last minute those incentives being disallowed due to politicos being unable to back their words with deeds, those who actually make a monetary committment are easily frustrated with governmental incompetence.

Should a full time DAPC been in place, perhaps the frustration or misunderstanding could have been avoided. But, in light of Peachtree City's current Council, it would have made no difference in my opinion for there exists little unity or concensus which would have resulted disparaging or disjointed guidance that could be given to the prospective business. In the case of Low Temps, Peachtree City is fortunate that no substantial amount of funds were invested by the company else we the citizens would be on the losing side of yet another lawsuit because of a politico extending himself beyond his/her capabilities.

In the loss of Low Temps, no one in our city government is to be held accountable nor will any 'staffers' lose any sleep since their paychecks remain guaranteed. Granted, Mayor Haddix will respond by obfuscated the actual events and proclaim that if all were done his way Low Temps would be clearing ground by now.

But, fact is that they are not coming and the entire episode was orchestrated by Mr Mayor and irregardless of his refusal to accept responsibility, it was under his watch.

Perhaps he should consider a wall or moat behind his property instead of a few trees should his performance remain constant.

idk_revisited's picture

irregardless isn't a word, dude. Come on.

Mike King's picture

Neither are others that I use from time to time. But, thanks for pointing it out.

idk_revisited's picture

...continue your Haddixbashing.

secret squirrel's picture

Sorry you wanted the taxpayers of Peachtree City to fund your hand-outs. Most of the fine, upstanding Republicans here are against entitlements and welfare programs so surely they'll all step up and say what a good thing it is that a company didn't get a tax break none of the rest of us get and pass the loss of revenue onto the rest of us.

Many here believe in capitalism and the boot-strap approach to life. If you can't make it on your own, you're out of luck. Perhaps you can come back when you're properly funded through your own revenues to afford to pay for the hook ups and utilities your business requires.

The suggestion I'd make is that if we (the other people who pay taxes) have to fund your site development and improvements, Low Temp sends all taxpayers of PTC a dividend check. No? Okay. Buh-bye.

Thanks to all those who didn't burden taxpayers with yet another tax break for a corporation looking out for itself. If providing jobs and tax revenue was truly an altruistic endeavor for Low Temp, they'd find a way to finance their needs on their own.

It is difficult to imagine or understand what was magical about the site in question. There is too much atention given to new construction of retail, wharehouse and small industrial sites that are note needed and unwanted (except of the person who owns that land) and not enough consideration given to utilization of existing sites that can be reclaimed and utilized - like half of dividend drive. All those site have sewer - don't they.

what is it that was so critical about extention of the sewer?

The fact is that if Low temp wanted to be in PTC, there was and still is ample opportunity to make it happen.

So no, I think that the statements made by low temp president do not ring true.


Find a location in the Industrial Park that is already served with sewer at the location. It couldn't be that hard, and as a plus, you won't be in all the school traffic daily.

Speaking for one PTC resident, I would welcome you to the area.

We should applaud Eric Imker for voting in favor of an economic development coordinator reporting the David Rast.
1-Ted Meeker advised council that it was not illegal to have the position.
Sturbaum and Haddix were stretching the truth to serve their purpose!! How's that!

2-Sturbaum and Haddix were trying to push this though and would not meet or listen to the other three. Haddix took he issue to the blog instead of working with the other three. Stubaum made this speech last night about guiding the DAPC and not havinmg a cat fight...the flaw was it was built on the premise that the other 3 will do what he and Don other opinions or open dialogue allowed. BIG EGO STUFF

In the end, Imker does not want to drop $150,000 into a governmental authority that has total control of the funds. He wanted a coordinator working for the city on a 1 year contract. That person will have a budget to get the job done.

Look at the authority's proposed budget...1/3 of it was money to support themselves as an, how about season tickets for a table at the Fred!

PTC does need to fund an authority, we need an executive who will work for the city with clear goals and performance matrixes....Sturbaum and Haddix should have worked with Leonard, Fleisch and Imker as a team. Last night was an embarrassment and it was clear that Sturbaum and Haddix are bullys keeping the others in the dark...they are playing games. Not sure if its ego or their own inabilities to work with others....It starts in first grade...learn how to play in a group in a sandbox!

Stopping listening to Haddix he will lead you down the wrong road.

I’m perfectly happy with the results of last night’s city council meeting.

For months all I've heard from the Mayor is, "Council can't tell the DPAC what to do or how to do it."

Then Mr. Sturbaum offers up, "Council should give guidance to the authority." I thought that's rich. When's the Mayor going to tell Mr. Sturbaum that Council can't tell the DPAC what to do?

When Mrs. Learnard offered up the idea of a contract employee to run the DPAC I was waiting for the Mayor to grab for his chest and fall over backwards.

I’m still a little concerned that the Council intends to hire someone and then develop the job matrix/goals. As a condition of employment the goals should be established first and then the prospective candidate will have a clear idea of what needs to be accomplished in order to remain employed.

When Mr. Imker, and two other council members, zeroed out the remaining DPAC budget I thought for sure the EMT's were going to storm the dais with a defibrillator at the ready.

What remains to be seen is what the DPAC does with the $500,000 they get from the HMT. By law it's theirs to spend.

Anyway, I satisfied with the outcome. My desire that the DPAC be heald accountable was realized.

I just hope that this 3-2 voting doesn't bother anyone on council.

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