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DAPC upset over funding cut

The 3-2 vote last week to completely eliminate Peachtree City’s $35,000 funding for the Development Authority of Peachtree City was taken by some authority members as an insult to their work as volunteers and their stewardship over a meager $35,000 budget.

But to their credit, the three council members who supported that move: Eric Imker, Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard, met with the DAPC Wednesday night in an effort to hash out whatever issues may have led to the authority’s “de-funding.”

Learnard and Fleisch said they were certain the city’s funding of an economic development coordinator as a full-time staff under the city’s community development department would be very helpful to the DAPC mission.

However, as DAPC member David Conner pointed out, that coordinator will not be dedicated full-time to the authority’s mission.

Moreover, the authority is concerned with having to suspend all its current activities due to the elimination of its $35,000 in funding that was removed from the city’s 2010-2011 budget.

Grey Durham, who has spearheaded the DAPC efforts to assist local businesses in the city’s village retail centers by organizing merchants’ associations, said the work is slow and tedious but is paying dividends. Durham said the work would be impossible without the organizational efforts of part-time authority secretary Nancy Connerat, who is paid $6,000 a year.

Durham said the authority is spending around a thousand dollars as “seed money” in each shopping center which is being pooled with funds contributed from merchants and the shopping center owners to help market the centers.

The Westpark Walk shopping center, for example, is throwing a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament with some of the proceeds going to the Promise Place charity which helps victims of domestic abuse, Durham said.

The merchants at the Glenloch shopping center used an art contest to beautify the temporarily-vacant “Baby Kroger” store there with art created by elementary school children, Durham added.

But such efforts would not be supported by the authority in the future without funding, Durham said. Durham said he spends roughly 25 hours a month in the merchant assistance program, but he would be unable to do it without the assistance of Connerat.

“When we got our whole budget taken away, it felt like we were thrown under the bus,” Durham said.

It was noted that special projects for which the authority needs funding can be approved by the City Council as a budget amendment, but that simply adds another layer of bureaucracy for what is a small amount of money to begin with, some authority members said.

Although Imker last week challenged assertions that local businesses were hurting as evidenced by store vacancies, authority member Todd Strickland noted that Imker’s data saying 90 percent of the city’s stores were occupied was based on overall square footage and did not take into account the number of empty storefronts that dot the city’s retail landscape.

Based on a storefront count, Braelinn Village shopping center has a 31 percent vacancy rate, Strickland said, noting that empty stores “are not good for property values.”

And as DAPC member Mike Murtaugh pointed out, the empty storefronts have an impact on citizens’ viewpoints when they drive through the shopping centers.

Later in the meeting, DAPC Chairman Mark Hollums, who works in commercial real estate property management, said his worry was that if vacant storefronts persisted, the city might start to see less-than-ideal businesses locate in the city as leasing agents endeavor to fill the empty stores.

“It concerns me at some point somebody has got to pay the property tax bill and sometimes you will see leasing standards slip and you may have tenants come in that you probably would not welcome in Peachtree City or want them,” Hollums said. “Because somebody has to pay the bills.”

The council members were also informed of details of the authority’s other efforts which have included regular 1-on-1 meetings between an authority member and existing major companies to make sure any issues can be addressed.

Fleisch said a workshop is being put together in October that will focus on the county’s economic development process. Historically all large-scale industrial and business leads are handled by the Fayette County Development Authority, and in recent years the DAPC has focused on helping smaller businesses, working with existing industries and also assisting with the city’s comprehensive planning efforts.

At the beginning of the meeting, Imker said he felt the budget that has been presented to the city council by the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau was far more detailed and that if the DAPC’s request showed such information “things might be different.”

Imker also admitted that he had become fed up with hearing suggestions that the economic development coordinator wouldn’t “legally” be able to help the authority in some respects since the coordinator will be a city employee.

“I got fed up with it and I just got literally mad about constantly hearing about what we cannot do,” Imker said. “I am of a mindset to find a way to get things done.”

Though Imker didn’t mention it, it has been Mayor Don Haddix who has been adamant about the legal issues involving a city-employed economic development coordinator. City Attorney Ted Meeker has determined, however, that there is no such legal conflict as suggested by Haddix.

At the end of the meeting, city resident Beth Pullias said this type of workshop should have taken place before the city’s budget decisions were made, but she felt like the groups were back on the right track.

The hope is that such a meeting next time could involve “every single council member ... so everybody can be on the same page.”

Mayor Haddix and Councilman Doug Sturbaum did not attend the meeting because of conflicting events on their schedules, according to DAPC chair Hollums.

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Comments

I just got literally mad...." blah, blah, blah....well, now that's a truly adult statement coming from "Mr. I'm Gonna Scream and Holler and Beat My Fists Till I Get My Way" for the next 16 months.

The emotional temperament of your 6th grade schoolyard bully who, if he felt like it, would beat the crap out of anyone who looked at him the wrong way. This guy has anger issues and needs professional counseling. Oh yeah, he's gonna save us all from ourselves and make sure we all know he's the one doing it.

And little Ms. Learnard, just bug eyed in wonder who doesn't have a clue on ANYthing, like the little girlie whose boyfriend was the schoolyard bully. Oh, but she'll just flash those big pearly whites like Harold's paid for mouthful and everyone will think all is right in the world. And we have Ms. Fleish who looks like she needs ulcer surgery every time Imker opens his mouth, but she would rather be on Kimmy's side than on the side of Haddix and Sturbaum, who have been dealing with these issues for years now.

And then, in the REAL world, we have hard working dedicated VOLUNTEERS who have been busting their butts for the good of this city and get this type of thank you from these 3 uninformed politicians. Gee, did Kimmy ever have to do a budget while she was on the Library Comm.? Did Eric the Bully ever have to do a budget while he was on the Rec. Comm.?

You're darn right the CVB presented a far more detailed budget than DAPC. Kai Wolter is no fool, he didn't want the verbal abuse heaped on him after he saw the the degrading treatment by Imker of Hollums.

Mr. Durham, Mr Conner, Ms. Connert, Mr. Hollums and the rest of DAPC, you deserve better than this and I thank you for your hours of volunteerism and hard work. If Eric had been treated this way by council when he was a volunteer, he would never had run for office. Now there's a thought...

That word simply means that the amount specified has to be spent.
Just what do these "volunteers" want with a budget? What exactly so far have they gotten accomplished that would justify a blank check?
If they have a good idea that can be accomplished, then they have been told that money will be made available. Prima Donnas we don't need!

The defense department never gets all of the "budget" they want (like for a trillion dollars worth of wars recently---off budget) but a necessary job gets done anyway if they can prove their case.

Hell, we have been living on off budget means now for years (credit cards, bad loans, handouts, federal teacher's pay, federal cops pay, etc.).

In business if one group overspends then another has to cut back. Assuming they got something done.

Perhaps, you would better understand just what the DA actually does with the numerous hours they give to the city, if you attended the DAPC meetings. Or maybe you might want to join the representative as he/she attends the FCDA meeting. Then perhaps, you should join them as they organize the business owners in revitalizing their shopping centers. Maybe you could spend time with them as they discuss and organize for Georgia Work Ready--a tool that the Governor's office touts as a shining star to bring business to Ga. I realize that most folks don't understand what it is the DAPC even does and that is okay. Just don't beat them up for working for us and doing an admirable job in the process.

I like these words OK:
attend; organize; discuss work ready?; tool touts; shining star; admirable job; business to GA.

I was looking for the results of all those words---didn't see one!

Were they contributors to the Braelin design?
Is there even a merchants organization that does anything in any center? Or does the owner do it?

Time without results is the complaint!

Attend a few meetings. You really just DO NOT know anything of which you write.

Still haven't seen you say one good accomplishment!
Talking and meeting is not accomplishment until it happens.

By the way I have attended such meetings. Have you or are you one of them?

You sound just like a "Fair tax" person when asked to explain much of anything about it, he always says, "read the book," I did and it is full of crap too!

It is also similar to Palin religion, Herr Beck's BS, Limbaughs harrummpths and lies, and GA politicians right now on TV with all that 3rd grade stuff. I'm fer good thangs, I am! I go to ball games. I am principled. I dun a lot fer GA. Las tim old Rat wuz in, he dernt nere ruint usns.

Job Title ASSISTANT DIRECTOR/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Job Location Jonesboro, GA
Minimum Skills Candidates must have a Bachelor s Degree in Marketing, Public Administration, Planning, or closely related field, supplemented by five (5) years of experience in community development, real estate, or economic …development.

* 60 Month Experience
* 16 Years Education

Preferred Skills None Given
Job Description The purpose of this classification is to provide assistance to the Director and Development and Redevelopment Authority of Clayton County. Establishes and maintains project records for Authority endeavors. Initiates, and processes documents for Authority projects, and enters data into Authority programs and databases, assists the Director and Authority with budget-related activities. Assists with planning short and long range …strategies to market county relationship to secure county advantages and further business interests, troubleshoots major projects affecting business growth and development, negotiates with property owners and representative to facilitate business deal, designs and produces specialized and general informational and promotional materials needed to market county, conducts market research on economic development/redevelopment, gathers market data, assists with planning …for redevelopment, prepares market statistical analyses, provides cost-benefit analysis for projects. Prepares Authority documents, records, reports, and forms requiring knowledge of programs, policies and procedures, attends various marketing seminars and conferences, attend various meeting with other county departments and local agencies. Performs …other related duties as required.
Salary $61,396.00 Per Year

Wonder what the Director's salary is?

Is there any hope that a white person may get that job? If it were Atlanta, I would know the answer.

My point, as it always has been is that we cannot expect much for a salary of $50k....

We can expect a lot for $50,000, plus 20,000 more for benefits!

A majority (big one) in the USA work for less than $50,000.
This job doesn't require rocket design or satellite computer course predicting!
Just some working ability in the areas required.

If we take the attitude that more money than 50K would guarantee results then why should the 50K guy do much of anything----we don't expect him or her to.

yellowjax1212's picture

The Trinty continue to tell DAPC exactly what it is that they want them to do. I still question the legality of this political pressure placed on an independent authority but...
And Haddix and Sturbaum (the only friends DAPC has) had "schedule conflicts", hmmmmm?
What a mess.

Here's a very key point that people are missing...where was Haddix and Sturbaum?

Here they go playing games..the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem....this meeting should have been cancelled so the entire council could attend.

The political games that these 2 are playing should be of concern to every citizen in PTC..These 2 played games with the last city council (minority of 2) and if they keep these games up...they will be a minority of 2 yet again.

I hope someone calls City Hall and checks what was on the mayro's schedule that day and time and why his secretary did not notify the others he would not be there.

Where is the LEADERSHIP! From Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem?????

Doesn't this concern anyone?

it doesn't concern me. It shouldn't concern any city employee either.

Don Haddix's picture

I was dealing with ARC and RTR matters at an official meeting in another city.

Did we try to get the meeting rescheduled? Yes. The other three Council Members decided to proceed without us after we both individually notified them we could not attend.

As well not noted in the article was Councilman Imker left early in the meeting.

If there were any 'games' it was not from us. As for Leadership, I chose the priority meeting to attend.

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

Mike King's picture

"As well not noted in the article was Councilman Imker left early in the meeting.

If there were any 'games' it was not from us."

Now who is playing games? It is for this reason that I doubt you can spell leadership.

NUK_1's picture

First off, this story contains a major factual error in regard to Haddix's position on an Econ Dir and the legal opinions Meeker has given Mayor/council. I know the issue can be somewhat confusing, but this article does NOT accurately state the facts. While I am not a fan of Haddix, he has NEVER stated that the city couldn't have an Econ Dir. Lots of cities do. What Haddix and Meeker both agree on is simply that PTC can't hire an Econ Dir that has authority and control over DAPC. That SHOULD be common sense to most people who take an interest in these issues, but some(Imker being #1)can't seem to grasp this and neither does this article. Bad.

Next, Mark Hollums is a guy that probably should have been elected when he ran for Council because he was one of the few people in the wilderness with the intelligence to rightly support expanding WASA to Senoia and the extra revenue it would have provided. The Steve Brown anti-everything, anti-common sense regime was 100% against that, so WASA didn't expand, and Senoia simply went to Coweta's version of WASA and got TWICE the capacity they were wanting from PTC/WASA. So.....PTC/WASA gets NOTHING under the guise of Brown's blathering BS of "development! development!" and Senoia now can develop a lot more than ever possible if they had contracted with WASA. Great planning and foresight, PTC!

I am impressed that the DAPC volunteers didn't all submit their resignations and tell Council to go pound sand. Truly these are volunteers that care so much about the future of PTC that they will put up with people like Imker and half the idiots that live in PTC that can't grow up intellectually and realize that this DAPC hasn't been and isn't anything like past DAPC's.

Most don't like any of that stuff---aside from those elected!

All right to have it but it should work for elected citizens.

See what happened with The Tennis Center? Total calamity! Still is.

Don Haddix's picture

Indeed I never said a Coordinator cannot be hired and was very explicit on what one does and how they relate to a DA.

Again correct the City Attorney never said a Coordinator can do it all. In fact here are two quotes:
<cite>“From a legal standpoint, being employed by the DAPC may provide some additional flexibility due to the broader powers that the DAPC has in promoting commerce, industry and trade.“ “Under that agreement, the City is reimbursed by the DDA for services that are provided by the employee (similar to the City's arrangement with Tourism for Nancy Price et al, and for work the City does for WASA and the Airport Authority).”</cite>

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

I can't see why any one would brag about the highly paid managers of Amphitheaters, Airports, etc., considering the net results and quality of these items!
Airport has to have a large subsidy and the talent of recent years at the Amphitheater---where the shows have been halved, is very marginal. I don't know if the Tennis Center which is leased pays enough to pay off the large debt it has. This subject is a "no comment" in PTC.

I did not ask you about Mr. Imker. I raised the issue regarding you and the Mayor Pro Tem.

I notice that you are constantly deflecting by finger pointing to others...do you know that you do that? You did it while you were a council member and you did it as a candidate for mayor.

Why? It does not really show leadership...its something that politicians do but not something a leader should do.

Others have asked you about it and you do nothing to fix it...why? People on the blogs are begging you to be a true leader and for some reason you do not understand the concept, have you own/wrong defination of it or have a clear weakness in order to identify it.

Please rise up above it and be the leader that PTC needs. Otherwise I suspect someone else will and you will be back in the same boat as before...a 3 to 2 vote but this time you are the mayor.

The game is....make a statement then watch Haddix either try to show off that he's smarter than all of us...or watch him deflect and blame someone else......

WHY DOES ANYONE CHOOSE TO VOLUNTEER IN THIS ENVIRONMENT OF DISTRUST, LACK OF APPRECIATION, AND POLITICAL POSTURING. TAKE A DEEP BREATH PEACHTREE CITY.

PTCTRADER2010

First: volunteers for civic services. If recognition and sugar words is all they are looking for, or developer's mining sources, then they are not whom we need there.

There has never been a strip shopping center nor a mall built that didn't contain nail salons--maybe 2-3, foot washing places, women's massage parlors (operating as beauty salons), junk stores from China (<$ stuff), pallet sale stores, work-out and diet cons, even some have pawn shops and car title places! Stick-floored movie theaters and grungy bowling alleys in some of the larger ones, and these folks: Our suits are three for the price of one this week only---buy one and get two more of the same value or less (which we don't have) free! Sorry, can't give you any prices here---we must explain! Next wek we will have 70% off first suit, 60% off second suit, and a free one also.
Anyway it all ends up costing you the same average price for each purchase as you can buy one suit anywhere else!

Developers build these things knowing they can not fill them with top-notch stores so Used everything here we come!
Those stores actually provide cash flow whereas the rest of the biggies only provide depreciation!

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