Imker: PTC Development Authority must re-focus while using less money
Last week three Peachtree City council members prevailed in hiring an economic development coordinator as a city staffer while also drastically cutting funding for the city’s development authority from $35,000 to zero for the 2010-2011 budget cycle.
Both actions were approved by council members Eric Imker, Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard and opposed by Mayor Don Haddix and Councilman Doug Sturbaum. While the coordinator vote was not a surprise, the unfunding of the Development Authority of Peachtree City certainly was, as it came unannounced.
DAPC will be able to seek funding for certain projects by petitioning council when necessary, Imker said.
“We are not funding them out of existence,” Imker said. “We want them to remain a viable entity to do their primary mission.”
Imker said he wants DAPC to focus on attracting new businesses to the community. The authority should be contacting potential business leads for the city and not working as much on local-oriented projects, Imker said.
Imker said the authority specifically should be offering tax breaks and other financial incentives including the potential of impact fee cuts in hopes of luring more businesses here.
Because the Fayette County Development Authority takes the lead on almost all major new businesses coming to the community, the DAPC over the past several years has evolved into supporting local businesses and meeting with existing industry leaders to make sure they become aware of any potential problems that might crop up.
DAPC also helped in the recruiting of Atlanta Christian College, which has not yet made a final decision on relocating its main college campus. The school, however, has opened a satellite campus here in Peachtree City.
DAPC Chairman Mark Hollums said the authority will be waiting to get further direction from council and as a result most of its projects will be on hold until then.
DAPC is an all-volunteer board and in recent months council has battled over a push from Mayor Don Haddix and Councilman Doug Sturbaum to increase DAPC’s funding from $35,000 to $150,000 in the 2010-2011 budget.
The defunding of DAPC was approved in a 3-2 vote over the objections of Haddix and Sturbaum. Imker noted at last week’s meeting that DAPC has about $15,000 in reserves that it can use for some projects.
Imker also said at last week’s meeting that he didn’t feel comfortable giving DAPC the same $35,000 it was budgeted for this year because the authority could choose to spend the money however it wishes. Imker did not characterize any of DAPC’s recent expenditures as being out of line.
Imker did challenge the proposed $150,000 DAPC budget as having “way too much overhead with little going toward the development authority’s primary mission.”
Imker did say the authority’s seven volunteer members “are doing a great job.”