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Imker breaks tie in favor of larger tax hike

Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker, who campaigned for office on a pledge to not increase city taxes, broke a deadlocked city council and voted in favor of a 1.25 mill property tax rate increase Thursday night.

The measure was approved 3-2 with Imker joining councilwomen Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard in favor and Mayor Don Haddix and councilman Doug Sturbaum voting against.

Imker said while he will stun some of his supporters by voting for the tax increase, he felt he was elected to office to solve the city’s budget woes, which have resulted in a projected $18 million shortfall over the next five years after $2 million in cuts approved by council earlier this year.

Imker also pointed out that the 1.25 mill increase would take less in property taxes from city residents over a five-year stretch than the .5 mill increase this year and subsequent higher increases over the same period of time.

In fact, the .5 mill increase this year would require an additional .75 mills of tax increase over the same five-year period compared to the 1.25 mill increase this year, Imker said. The 1.25 mill increase which would result in a $108 a year increase on a home valued at $272,000.

The tax increase will bring the city an additional $2.28 million in revenue for the city, some of which will be used to build up the city’s reserves, which will be spent down in 2013, 2014 and 2015 to avoid the $18 million shortfall.

The shortfall is due largely to two factors: the expiration of the transportation special sales tax, meaning the city will have to start funding road and path maintenance at $1.5 million a year and the anticipated loss of per-capita based local option sales tax revenues due to slowed population growth compared to other cities in the county and the unincorporated county itself.

Imker also proposed a slate of budget cuts that were shot down by the other four council members including:
• An across-the board 1 percent pay cut for all city employees;
• A 32-hour furlough for all full-time employees;
• Eliminating the city’s match to participants in 401(k) retirement savings accounts;
• Eliminating the city’s match to participants in 401(k) retirement savings accounts and restore the city’s funding of $600 a year in medical insurance premiums which the city cut from employees two years ago in a cost-saving measure;
• Eliminating one staffer from the city’s recreation department; and
• Eliminating one staffer from the city’s public works department;

Imker did score one partial victory in his suggestion that the city eliminate a three percent “bonus” match to the 401(k) accounts of the city’s seven department directors and chiefs. Doing so would save about $19,000 and council agreed by consensus to get staff input for consideration at a later meeting.

After the meeting, Imker told The Citizen that without any action on his budget reduction suggestions, the only alternative was for the city to raise property taxes.

Council also unanimously passed new budget policies that would require any new expenditures to be balanced with new revenue sources for the budget and also recommends tying any special sales tax (SPLOST) revenue to the city’s millage rate such that such taxes or additional voter-approved revenue would necessitate a look at decreasing the millage rate, and when such revenues expire they would consider an increase in the millage rate.

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It sounds like Imker did the right thing in choosing the lesser of two evils in light of the unwillingness of the other council members to enact the cuts needed that would have resulted in his (and my of our) desired zero tax raise.

This is one of those few times where I can applaud a government official for trying, unwaveringly, to do the right thing over many months, but in the end being simply outvoted by the majority and at least accepting reality and voting to keep as much money in our pockets as possible.

We know you wanted zero tax hikes, Mr. Imker. We know you stressed it, came up with multiple solutions, and worked with council since day one to do everything possible to avoid a tax hike. In the end, when it was obvious the other council members didn't and wouldn't "see the light", I thank you for at least doing what was best given the hand dealt to you.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Pretty obvious solution took way too long, but I guess when Haddix and Doug tied the development authority issue to the budget they were as guilty for the delay as Imker's holdout. Not really sure I like the new 3-2 voting bloc. Seems unstable to me, but at least this time they got it right.

Live free or die!

I must say you got it right again...you seem to be one of the few that truly understands how the value of money works.

Hey Citizen: Didn’t you recently report (albeit very briefly and quietly) that the school millage cut due to refinancing will drop the average tax bill $177 on a 250k house? In other words, that will more than offset this increase, no? If that’s the case, seems like a perspective worthy of noting…

Maybe you could lay out where all the ingredients of our upcoming tax bills stand after the various maneuvering this year. Just a suggestion...

If you are trying to get someone from either the county, school board, or cities to put together just what you will net out paying in taxes, forget it.
This is the point in time where there is no "leader" to ask!

The County Commision Chairman should do it, but if he did the other two would accuse him of "interferring."

Have you noticed just how much Clayton County pays and what they get for it?

I don’t want a county “leader” to do it.

I was suggesting that the newspaper do it.

cheers...

Forever, the newspapers report the tax increases by the city as a separate item; then the County as a separate item; then the school board as a separate item! They don't want to tackle a net grand total tax.

"City taxes going down for 1982."

Later: "School taxes going up for 1982."

even later: "County Taxes going up for 1982."

(Also, sales tax increases to 7% in 1982--or whatever year!)

<em>Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker, who campaigned for office on a pledge to not increase city taxes...</em>
********
"We the people"...
...are watching...
...listening...
...taking notes
...now also -- PAYING MORE!

<strong>We have been paying more than enough.... for long enough!
We are taxed enough already at every level of government!

THIS-S-S-S-S-S.... is what financial reserve funds are for!
(Since those TAX REVENUES were not issued as REFUNDS to the TAXPAYERS!)

It's really a simple solution:
Our government MUST learn to live (& spend...) within the means of available revenue. Revenue goes down = spending is limited <em>pro rata</em>.

It's not long division...

Well I guess that means that more people will be leaving PTC for Coweta County? Even with all of the furloughs and such, I guess that trying to help keep the property taxes low, it doesn't matter anyways. Well there will be more For Sale signs going up around the area.

No guts there!
Income will be much less over next two years. I suppose another 2 point raise and a SPLOST, and keeep hiring. These are one termers unless an impeachment can be arranged! All of them.

It is quite troubling to see the "blame" mentioned below (and even insinuated above in the article) applied to Imker on this tax hike.

Imker was the ONE AND ONLY council member who fought tooth and nail for 8 months against this tax hike and wanted to mange the budget and shortfall through reduced spending and government manpower (not service) cuts.

It is the other 4 council people that didn't have the "stomach" to do what was necessary in these troubling times and surrendered to the tax hike. Why are they not the ones chastised as being responsible for this tax increase?

Imker's hand was simply forced by the other 4 into selecting the lesser of two very unfortunate evils. It also just happened to be that he was the deciding vote on this process.

I think I now understand why Mayor Haddix wanted to pump up the budget for DAPC. It's because he wanted to work there after leaving politics. Why else would he keep pushing for Low Temp despite the poor fit with the location? So he could claim credit and be seen as a get-it-done DA sorta guy. Why does he keep alluding to DAPC being the only one that can clean up the Photo Circuits site? Why does he keep reminding us of his past involvement in development work? All for the same reason as above. I think the plan behind the plan was to create a nice post-mayoral job for himself over at DAPC. Anyone think I might be on to something here?

If he does that...

a) The worse millage rate may get approved and we're worse off than we are with the ladies' proposal.
or
b) With a stalemate budget beyond a certain point, I believe (I'm not certain here, but believe this is the case) the State can take over PTC budget decisions and operations.
or
c) With no solution this year, the budget problem becomes woefully compounded next year.

Indeed he could have stalemated the budget and perhaps he should have. But perhaps after 8 months of trying to convince the others of the right course of action he decided it was best to compromise and at least NOT let the budget fiasco go unresolved for another year. My point is that at least he tried and worked excruciatingly hard for 8 months to generate viable solutions without a tax hike. Why are we pointing fingers at him and not the other 4 council members?

PTC Observer's picture

makes you think the city would hire him?

Anyway, it's all over now. We have a "coordinator" with no job description and no goals.

Payback. He got them a nice budget increase so they could all go out entertaining and such on public funds. But as you say, its done now. I think Mr. Imker will come up with a job description and some goals for the new contract employee.

Don Haddix's picture

Actually working for a government where one just served in an elected position is a non starter. It is called an ethics charge.

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

I thought development authorities were legally separate entities from government.

Don Haddix's picture

Any entity receiving funding is bound by Ethics Law.

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

Wouldn't it have been the thing to do and wait for one of the other three to change sides and vote for cost reductions (heads)?

He can abstain from voting anytime he wants to do so! For as long as he wants to do so.
You don't suppose there were conversations outside of the meeting, do you, before the vote?

The republicans told Obama, "hell no," also but he ignored them! We have a health plan.

No Profile In Courage in the PTC vote.

Don Haddix's picture

Imker voted for the 1.25 during the Budget workshops giving the 3rd vote required to move from the Workshops to the Public Hearings.

If he had held firm on zero here is what would have happened:
1. We would have deadlocked and the 2010 Millage Rate would have become the 2011 Millage Rate, meaning zero increase, or,
2. One of the Councilwomen would have had to say we can get .5, it is better than noting, so .5 would have moved forward, or,
3. We would have compromised on a .6 with .1 going the DAPC to move that forward.

We stated we only supported a .5 one time with increased DAPC funding and some other initiatives to help expand our tax and/or income base. After that it would have been cuts of some kind if the initiatives failed since just increasing taxes is destructive. We never supported the City Manager's .5 model.

Councilman Imker has openly supported City Manager's 1.25 model with tax increases for the next 5 years.

The point is there is no way to say we forced Councilman Imker to vote for 1.25.

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

Mike King's picture

FACT is the 1.25 rate increase addresses the $18M debt that you continually ignore. While it doesn't entirely eliminate the total debt of the city over five years, it does substantially reduce it. An effort you, sir, have yet to acknowledge.

FACT is that if it is not YOUR proposal, it is obviously flawed and not worthy of YOUR consideration.

FACT is that should the budget revert back to 2010 a level, cuts in personnel costs would be inevitable despite your wailing to the contrary.

You had no, repeat, NO facts to justify a $150,000 budget for the DPAC.

You had no, repeat, NO plan, on how to spend the money wisely.

You let Mr. Sturbaum "swing in the breeze" when he let slip that the DPAC had submitted a "revised budget" at the last minute; that you and the other members of the council decreed having no knowledge of.

Come again, what group were you assigned to keep an eye on?

You and council never addressed the monies from the HMT, $500,000 annually, were left hanging in the wind.

You and Mr. Sturbaum had NO plan on how goals should be set.

You and Mr. Sturbaum had NO idea on what needed fixing first.

You and Mr. Sturbaum had no goals period!

Yet you sat there quietly while ‘Mr. Sturbaurm suggested that council, ”should guide”, the DPAC.

Where was your speech that the DPAC was an independent agency?

Have you NOT seen the writing on the wall?

You used to be pissed, when you were a simple councilman, that you were being ignored by the rest of the council.

How does it feel to be king and be ignored?

The days of the 3-2 vote, with you on the losing ending of the stick, are going to be interesting

Don Haddix's picture

Your facts are not facts at all. To illustrate that reality DAPC gets zero H/M money and your claims on H/M misrepresent the realities:

Facts on the H/M:
-Over $300,000 goes into the General Fund.
-About $500,000 now goes to the CVB.
-The numbers you presented in another post were for Tourism.
-We did address Tourism and complete changed the whole program to a CVB. That was a project Councilman Sturbaum and I worked on for two years but could not get the majority to support back then but succeeded this year.
-Under Tourism the income from the Tennis Center and Fred went to Tourism. So your assumption the expenditure side was all H/M is in error.
-We took the Fred away from Tourism and revised it. Now it is expecting to be in the black this year. Councilman Sturbaum and I pushed that change through Council.
-We took the Tennis Center away from Tourism and it has moved from red to black operationally. Councilman Sturbaum and I pushed that change through Council.
-H/M is neither Property Tax or Sales Tax based.
-We do not supplement the CVB Budget with Property Tax or Sales Tax. In fact we transferred the costs of Fireworks to the CVB to lower General Fund use.
-You need to go get the CVB Budget to see where the employee costs are now versus then. Using the Tourism Budget for now is totally misleading and erroneous.

Can you tell me the budget, formal job description and documented goals and metrics for the Coordinator? No, because they do not exist.

The tax increase and coordinator position was passed. We will do our best with both as we can and will see how it all works out.

Your entitled to your opinion. I am not going to argue and debate. But I felt one post with some facts in them was justified.

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

“We did address Tourism and complete changed the whole program to a CVB. That was a project Councilman Sturbaum and I worked on for two years but could not get the majority to support back then but succeeded this year.”

Strange you didn’t find a way to represent that in the budget talks last night. You’ve been shilling the same old song and dance for the last few months. I was at the council meeting and you said NOTHING on the subject while you were slamming councilman Imker.

“Under Tourism the income from the Tennis Center and Fred went to Tourism. So your assumption the expenditure side was all H/M is in error.”

That’s nice. What about the $500,000 that came from the HMT? Please tell us where it went and why.

"Can you tell me the budget, formal job description and documented goals and metrics for the Coordinator? No, because they do not exist."

As I'm NOT the Mayor and you are I expect you to be able to to do this. If you can't handle it walk away.

I'm just one of the 35,000 you get to tax.

As there is no published DAPC audit to look at, the expenditures are being copied directly from the Tourism Audit. Wasn’t it you and council that just recently transferred the Tourism Assoc. to the DPAC?

While you’re into dodging questions, what exactly are you paying the new head of the Fred and Airport Authority; salaries and benefits if you please?

While I’m at it what is the total dollar amount of the HMT and where is it going?

What the hell did they do with the $500,000 they were given?

I thought you wouldn’t answer that one.

The day of the endless piggy bank is over.

From now on if you try to spend it, we’ll be asking how and why.

Mr. Mayor, unless and until, you and Doug can drastically separate yourselves from the historically perceived inept management of this city you two can count on loosing 2 to 3 for the foreseeable future.

Don Haddix's picture

We never transferred Tourism to DAPC. We reorganized Tourism completely into the CVB. It was given as an example of how to handle DAPC if we increased their funding. It was in the proposal given to all of Council via email prior to the meeting that the 3 completely disregarded in their desire to put complete development control under their direct control.

Did you not notice Councilman Imker wants every project and penny to be approved by Council that might want to do? That is ILLEGAL. Even on Staff work it usurping Staff powers and responsibilities and that is prohibited by the City Charter.

It was irrelevant to the DAPC discussion because they are two different authorities.

Get the facts straight here, please, when you tell me I should be able to tell you the Budget for the Coordinator proposal. It was not my proposal and they never developed anything but the idea to propose. No details, no budget, no nothing but a concept.

We had details for DAPC, they had a concept. A concept was approved 3-2. So if you do not like that kind of approach talk to those who proposed and passed it.

Council does not own the Airport or set their salaries. Talk to the Airport Authority and ask for their Budget.

The Fred Budget is in the City Budget. Ask for a copy.

You want a breakdown of the $500,000, ask for the CVB Budget.

I am hiding nothing and telling you to get the full Budgets for answers.

As for management style changes, I agree we need change but there are legal issues involved plus opposition from some on Council. So I can say no more at this time.

If you wish to continue contact me via telephone, please. Trying to discuss it in this manner isn't productive on this range of topics.

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

"We did address Tourism and complete changed the whole program to a CVB. That was a project Councilman Sturbaum and I worked on for two years but could not get the majority to support back then but succeeded this year."

"We took the Fred away from Tourism and revised it."

"We took the Tennis Center away from Tourism..."

It would appear the facts do not support these statements of yours.

As a long time member of the tennis center, I attended a workshop the City held 2-3 years ago that was open to the public to discuss transitioning the management of the amphitheater and tennis center from tourism back to the city. And as I remember it, the Chair of the Tourism Board addressed the council and public and said the Tourism Board had voted to give back management of the amphitheater and the tennis center in order to transition into a CVB. I dont recall him saying anything about you, Sturbaum or any other council member being part of that decision process.

If that is correct, those were Tourism board decisions and neither you nor Sturbaum had a damn thing to do with them as you allege. And if correct, it now appears that you are resorting to, at best distortion of the facts and at worst outright telling of lies, in order to take credit for actions to which you are not entitled to.

As you say in your post, you are entitled to your opinion. But let me add sir, you are not entitled to your own set of facts!

PTC Observer's picture

Mayor Haddix didn't mean "we", he meant the city. You’re way too sensitive pal.

His post said we (our as you say the city) did all these things. And in a couple of items, he specifically said he and his lap dog, Sturbaum did. They didnt according to the Tourism chair at the public workshop. The Tourism board (which is not the city...it is a seperate legal entity) did. Just pointing out the facts as well as him/Sturbaum trying to take credit for things they were not entitled to. Elected officials need to be held accountable not only for actions but empty and false statements. Sorry if that bothers you Observer dude. Get a grip, indeed! Sounds like you are the sensitive one!

PTC Observer's picture

believe me I am not defending Mayor Haddix. I merely point out that it is not clear he is taking credit in his earlier post.

However, in his latest post he clears this up, he is indeed taking credit. Now since I don't know the facts here I can't judge......

but, as to Haddix, I believe he is really a Democrat in sheeps clothing, just loves those SPLOST taxes.

BTW, if you are looking for politicans to give credit to others, you are naive. Haddix is just like our President, he is on a constant campaign to get re-elected.

So far, he hasn't shown much leadership.

Of course he is taking credit! Doesn't he always? I believe Haddix is lieing (again) in his latest post. He claims that he Sturbaum came up with one other unnamed council member to get a majority and approached the tourism board about them giving up the management of the amphitheater and tennis center. BS! Haddix is right in that it would take council approval to agree for the city to take over those two facilities but I don't remember anything remotely like that being said by the tourism chair. If that was the case then why was that not part of his presentation? You are right...he hasn't shown much leadership nor has anyone else on this council. I fear the damage inflicted on this great city by them the next couple of years will be great.

His post said we (our as you say the city) did all these things. And in a couple of items, he specifically said he and his lap dog, Sturbaum did. They didnt according to the Tourism chair at the public workshop. The Tourism board (which is not the city...it is a seperate legal entity) did. Just pointing out the facts as well as him/Sturbaum trying to take credit for things they were not entitled to. Elected officials need to be held accountable not only for actions but empty and false statements. Sorry if that bothers you Observer dude. Get a grip, indeed! Sounds like you are the sensitive one!

Don Haddix's picture

They voted to give them back when the work we did reached the point we were winning the arguments. It didn't happen until we had movement from some on the majority in our direction.

Two members of Council can discuss issues without it being public. We can individually or in twos discuss with anyone we want privately, including some on the old Tourism, which happened.

If you think they began the changes it is not correct.

As well you are very wrong Tourism could give back or keep either without Council approval. A past Council assigned them to them whether they liked it or not and it took another Council to take them away, whether they liked it or not.

I think you need to learn more how government processes work. They rarely start with public meetings. Often they are dead ends that never come before the public.

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

HIGHER PTC TAXES... <strong>AGAIN!

Don Haddix's picture

Understood.

The votes have been taken and I lost. So until next year we are where we are on taxes. On economic development we are where we are until something forces someone to change their mind or we get a third vote with a new Council Member in 2012.

Some other important decisions are coming that will impact the City financially, so we have those debates ahead.

One is funding a new Bubble for the Kedron Pool for $250,000. With $2.3 million more coming into the coffers next year are yes votes on such items going to be nearly automatic or are we going to take a long hard look where it all stands first?

I have remained true to my promises to the voters and will continue to do so. That is about all I will say at this time.

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

Has anyone looked into putting a permanent enclosure on the Kedron pool? Buying a new bubble for 250K every so many years seems to be an unsustainable situation. Also, isn't there a new aquatic center going into the Fischer Crossing complex? I assume that it will be enclosed, which could be attractive to SCAT and other winter swimmers in PTC, meaning less demand for an enclosed Kedron.

Don Haddix's picture

Yes, I had Staff research it and they said it would cost several million dollars.

The Bubble is suppose to be good for about 15 years.

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

Mike King's picture

If one cannot afford it, then close the damn thing!

But if our city government can put a figure of 'several' million dollars on it, are they not capable of specifics on exactly how much?

Not in a two minute conversation!

A good handy-man would do it for several thousand, plus materials!
Oh, they have to be licensed and bonded, and of the right party!

What about a recreation and cart path SPLOST? Can SPLOT funds be used for anything as long as approved by voters? The two biggest draws to PTC for most are, in addition to the school system, the rec facilities and the cart path system. Seems that a SPLOST to support/improve/expand these two assets would be a good idea, as long as there is no bypass funding buried in there somewhere.

Don Haddix's picture

What is more effective and gets a bigger bang for the buck is a Debt Reduction SPLOST that eliminates the interest, etc, we are paying on the Debt.

That would consume most of the SPLOST.

It would be smart to designate uses for any left overs while clearly stating in the SPLOST the primary uses have to be paid first to prevent redirecting funds thus abusing the intent of the SPLOST.

Right now we are paying around the $3 million mark a year on debt. Freeing up that money puts a lower demand on the property owners and we could do a 1 mill tax cut the first year so SPLOST = Debt Payment. Then as the debt pays down increase it.

Yes, a SPLOST can be used for some General Fund issues, such as paths, but not everything. Counties and cities that are doing it the right way have lower millage rates.

But either way getting rid of that debt payment goes a long way in problem solving issues for the City and the taxpayers. I want thing structured where it will be very hard for any future Council to abuse the system again.

Using very carefully worded SPLOST combined with a very low Millage Rate handcuffs Councils as regards abuses. Voters have to approve the SPLOST and the Councils have less discretionary funds to waste. It forces financial restraint and if not happening red flags it to the voters for the next election.

A lower Millage Rate is attractive to good jobs relocating or starting here as well, thus further lowering Property Tax.

Is it a different approach? You bet, but it works.

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

You mean 3 million a year in interest charges? Just how much debt is PTC carrying and in what form--long-term bank borrowing or bonds or both?

Don Haddix's picture

With interest, etc, around $18 million total.

The are bonds with call dates attached. You cannot just pay it off before a minimum date and there are penalties for doing so even when legal.

That is due to the low interest rates we have gotten.

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

PTC Observer's picture

you suggesting a city sales tax?

If you are back on your SPLOST campaign for the county, I can't support this as it is PTC that has the debt, not the county. Why should we burden those elsewhere in the county with our self made problem?

Don Haddix's picture

You are right, it was a PTC creation. Not a doubt about that. But this is good for the whole County, not just us.

Yes, I mean SPLOST as we cannot do a MOST.

The County is also in trouble. They have already said next year they are facing service cuts or a tax increase. They offer a quarter of the Rec we do and their ISO rating is 9 compared to our 3. Can those using County Safety, in example, actually afford cuts in those areas?

Fayetteville just approved a .295 increase on a Budget that has no Rec, EMS and only provides partial Fire protection. The get it from the County, so what would a County cut do to them?

The ability to cut Property Tax going this route applies to every city in the County and the County, who has $50 million in debt on the Justice Center alone.

With the new commissioners I hope some shared cost plans Councilman Sturbaum and I have had for over a year can move forward. That would help a lot.

Higher property tax discourages home sales and jobs coming here. Lower does the opposite.

Can you think of a tax more unfair than Property Tax? You get penalized for owning a home.

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

PTC Observer's picture

I think there is some confusion; I thought we were discussing City debt?

You seem to imply that this debt somehow sprung from mother earth without our agreement and authorization. I think this is what bond referendums are about, right?

Therefore, your solution is to have someone else pay for the debt using a county wide SPLOST. Yes, I can think of more unfair taxes than a property tax. Taxes that are forced on those that had no part in the debt obligation.

Property tax is a "fair" tax because it brings home the cost of services that the city, county, and state want to obligate the citizens to. By its nature it constrains the growth of government by directly taxing those that are demanding services. Your way is the "progressive" way, distributive obligation, attempting to hide the real cost by spreading the cost to those that have no “dog in the fight”. In fact, it is a ruse that politicians have used for centuries to increase their power by minimizing the perceived cost to the individual.

There are other reasons that regressive taxes like SPLOST are undesirable but I won’t go into those in detail here. However, the WFB is just one example of how these taxes can be used by politicians to increase their power at the expense of the taxpayers and against the citizens’ wishes. There is no accountability with these taxes, just technicalities of the tax law, in other words manipulation by those in power.

At best the concept of SPLOST and sales taxes in general is naive and at its worst dishonest.

Don Haddix's picture

Actually you are the mistaken one here. Almost all bond debt is enacted by Councils and Commissions with zero citizen votes. No referendum required.

The PD and its repairs, in example, are bond debt you never voted on. How about the Justice Center?

Property Tax only taxes property owners. What about everyone else? Where are they directly taxed except via something like a Sales Tax in some form?

Those with property tax exemptions, thus paying a lot less, have demanded more services and some the higher the higher millage rate. Are they paying for what they demand?

As for the WFB this needs to be made crystal clear. The voters DID approve it. I knew it was on the list before the vote was taken. It was most assuredly in the presentations that I took the time to go to back then. As was a commuter rail station in PTC, that we removed from our portion of the Transportation on a 3-2 decision, Imker didn't care if it stayed in or not and Learnard wants it here and even tried to get us overturned by writing Jack Smith.

No, it was not a list on the ballot. To list all the project the ballot would have been a book.

I am very aware of the arguments about different forms of taxes. Most assuredly we need an across the board tax reform. But until then we have to deal with what we have and Property Tax is a very flawed system.

No, my way is not progressive. A fixed rate system like income and property tax are regressive by definition. Consumption based gives one some control of the taxes one pays by their control of their spending.

In example, you have a hard year and your property tax bills is $3,000, you are going to pay $3,000, period. But if your spending is say $15,000 normally, you can cut that back to maybe 10, maybe lower, and save $350 dollars in sales tax.

It is a big argument we are not going to resolve here. But I am very aware of Property, Income, Consumption, VAT and the other forms of taxing.

There needs to be a fair formula for all the taxes to ensure everyone is treated fairly. Property Tax only taxes those who own property while everyone receives tax funded services.

Socialist and Welfare States are failures. So are Royalty and Peon based States.

Right now what we have is not working. On that I think we can agree.

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

PTC Observer's picture

"Actually you are the mistaken one here. Almost all bond debt is enacted by Councils and Commissions with zero citizen votes. No referendum required."

Well that's the problem isn't it?

Councils and Commissions - we can change those and we can demand a referendum too. If councils and commissions can't keep our house in order then maybe the citizens can.

BTW - you need to look up the definition of "Regressive Tax".

Ken Steele's picture

Mayor Haddix:

You have misrepresented a number of facts concerning Fayetteville. We have a full service fire department with an ISO rating of 4 which is appropriate for a community of our size. We have had both mutual aid and automatic aid agreements with the county for many years. This has worked quite well for both parties and has allowed effective, efficient and economical fire service to our respective citizens without duplication of effort and cost. We do not have our own EMS because our residents pay county taxes and the county has excellent services. Thus, we feel that this would be unwise to tax our residents twice for duplicative services.

As for our tax rates, the council recently adopted the rollback millage rate of 3.240 which included the millage equivalent of reassessed value of -.252, not .295 as you stated. This is in accordance with state law and will ensure that, on average, our city property owner’s tax bills will remain flat as we have been able to do over the past decade. As I’m sure you are aware, we all set millage rates for the tax digest average thus the individual’s bill may change a few dollars one way or another depending on whether their assessment was more or less than the average.

Should you have any further desire to comment on our city, please feel free to contact our staff or me for real time factual information.

Ken Steele
Mayor
City of Fayetteville

that coming on these blogs and shooting from the hip is doing him no good whatsoever. Now he's been called out by a neighboring Mayor....classic, just classic.

NUK_1's picture

Didn't work then for PTC and sure won't work now. There isn't any need for this kind of pettiness and finger-pointing from Haddix directed at other entities. PTC has plenty of its own problems to deal with.

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