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Lessons learned in Low Temp debacle?

On Aug. 11, 2010 The Citizen’s headline read, “PTC fees kill industry deal, 165 jobs.”

The article contained excerpts from a letter written by Low Temp President Ben Casey to the city explaining why he had terminated his plan to relocate his company to Peachtree City. The following excerpts stood out quite prominently:

“Due to the mounting project costs associated with the sewer, tap/impact fees, landscape requirements and overall land cost, we have determined that the project is not feasible today.

“Over the past few weeks, our confidence in the ability to develop the site has diminished. The inability of the city, Fayette County Development Authority and the Peachtree City Water and Sewage 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.”

How did the Low Temp opportunity get to this situation in the first place? Low Temp represented a significant amount of jobs and revenue to Peachtree City. Did Mayor Haddix and the City Council meet face to face with Ben Casey of Low Temp during the time he was considering relocating to Peachtree City to discuss his needs, concerns and problems before they became deal killers?

What actions have been taken by the mayor and council members since the Low Temp deal was lost? It has been over a month since this announcement was made by Low Temp and so far the only action concerning the new business revenue growth, of which the Low Temp relocation would certainly qualify, has been the following:

City Council members Eric Imker, Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard voted against Mayor Don Haddix and Council member Doug Sturbaum’s proposal to increase the DAPC funding from $35,000 to $150,000 annually and, instead voted to eliminate funding to the DAPC from $35,000 to $0 and to hire an economic development coordinator as a Peachtree City staffer.

So the entire amount allocated out of Peachtree City’s budget for new and existing business revenue retention and growth is one coordinator?

This vote tells me that Eric Imker, Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard don’t think DAPC is worth much. In fact, it is worth $0 funding, according to them.

DAPC’s charter is to assist local businesses in growing their business, listening to the concerns of existing businesses to help keep them in Peachtree City and work with potential small businesses that are considering moving to Peachtree City.

Did Eric Imker, Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard meet with DAPC and any of the current and prospective Peachtree City businesses that are receiving assistance from DAPC to solicit their feedback before deciding to completely eliminate DAPC’s funding?

DAPC now has to suspend most, if not all, of its current activities due to the complete elimination of its $35,000 budget in one fell swoop. Was this the right thing to do and the right way to do it?

What lessons have been learned by the Low Temp relocation loss and the subsequent actions taken by the mayor and council?

The first lesson learned is that the mayor and council need to meet with all significant-sized business prospects (like Low Temp) who are seriously considering relocating to Peachtree City in order to make certain, 1) should significant problems arise, that the mayor and council will know about them and 2) that these problems can be addressed quickly and effectively by the mayor and council members before they become deal killers.

The second lesson learned is how council members Eric Imker, Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard operate. The DAPC de-funding, as stated in Sept. 18-19, 2010 edition of The Citizen was “notable because the move was not vetted in advance by city staff, instead sprung as a surprise, effectively preventing the public from having any input on the proposal.”

Was this council action taken to de-fund DAPC legal and/or proper [notice] given that it was not openly vetted to the public before it was voted on?

I believe that this de-funding act needs to be reviewed by the mayor and council in an open forum to discuss this. Eric Imker, Vanessa Fleisch and Kim Learnard need to explain why they thought they had the right to push for a vote on this DAPC de-funding without fair and open public discussion ahead of time.

Stephen Allen

Peachtree City, Ga.



Mike King's picture

What you seem to neglect is that DAPC was funded and involved to the extent the mayor would allow. If memory serves, wasn't it Mr Haddix who claimed in this paper that he had been in conversation with the owners of low Temps for some time? Could it be that someone overstepped their capabilities and offered something that they couldn't furnish? Sewer hookups and WASA are not both under the control of our mayor, and we all know how much he likes to share information. My reading of the Low Temps letter led me to believe that unexpected costs kept arising, and frustration set in.

You are correct in that DAPC needs funding, and certainly the wherewithall to approach prospective business owners to determine requirements for them to consider investing in our city. This way the surprises would be minimal and Council could act as they should, not as a freelancing mayor.

Defunding DAPC did more to curtail an out of control mayor than to thwart the efforts they volunteered to do. My opinion.

Are you sure about this? I find it hard to believe that a successful company, well managed, could not know what they wanted from Fayette County enough to ask for it very early!

You insinuate that they did not ask for it and no one apparently told them!
Not until the proposals were made in writing.

My thinking is that it was the other way around: The company asked if the County wanted them, the county said yes.
After a period of fun and celebration by the county, then the company popped exactly what it wanted. No such demands could be met.

Now if someone had informed the company what they could have and couldn't have before the celebrations began, maybe it would have worked out----who knows.

I also think Fayette wasn't exactly tickled with this company due to the type workforce it needs and the nastiness of it's type of manufacturing and not wanting to go into a Photocircuits building or somewhere in that area.

I define "company" as the applicant; and, "Fayette" as whomever was responsible.

In other words it was an unlikely proposal with great wants, and no one to provide the wants for what was to be received----but it was worth a try.

That is what Christine O'Donnel said, wasn't it? Limbaugh said, "hell yes, if she means a majority in the Senate, let's put balls to the wall and elect her." (or something the same as).
I think he likes her!

Robert W. Morgan's picture

My take on this is that Low Temp was promised free sewer by someone not authorized to make that promise and that resulted in 3 actions:
1. Low Temp's letter which pretty much says PTC is being run by a bunch of non-professionals
2. Blame game and cover-up
3. The council ladies proposed something frivilous and outrageous to embarrass the mayor (and Doug) and were very surprised when Imker voted with them and it became law.

Defunding DAPC and expecting them to come begging to council for funding of each expenditure is idiotic and something that would only be proposed by clueless rookies. At least it gives a campaign issue to some sensible people who may come forward during the next election. The beauty of that is any of the 5 are vulnerable on the issue of unprofessional economic development efforts.

Live free or die!

Don Haddix's picture

Having already dealt with this in prior posts I just wanted to answer three points. One being promising them free sewer ahead of time. Didn't happen.

What I told them, at the beginning, was WASA, not PTC, owns the system and they would have to make the decision. I also said if there was any grants for such it would have to come via State, FCDA and/or DAPC. None proved available for an in-state move.

Second being there was more communications than the portion of the one letter referenced in The Citizen. A follow up letter in response to that article made it very clear DAPC was respected and worked the hardest to get the move approved. Just or unjust the complaints were against FCDA, some members of PTC Staff, WASA and some, not all, on Council.

The third being coming to Council for every spending authorization. That is not yet a legally resolved issues.

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

Mike King's picture

The blame game and cover up you mention has now been initiated by our mayor.

Oh wow...he just managed to hack off just about everyone who will be at the table whenever a prospect is considering PTC as a potential relocation site! Great leadership there, Donnie! Class act all the way!

This will draw you more criticism. I keep telling you, you should have listened more to those Secgru CPOs!!

The Low Temp disaster is the mayor's responsiblity. The project was mis-managed by him from the very beginning. Sturbaum, the major and the DAPTC had private meetings with Low Temp after Fayette County passed on Low Temp because the demands were too high... and then without organization and proper communication pushed Low Temp through a hap hazard process to make something happen with DAPTC walking along side Low Temp.

A team should have been put in place to discuss all of the issues that needed to be reviewed and discussed...that team could of consisted of a representative of WASA, city planner, city manager, city's financial officer, DAPC and any other representative who could study and facilitate the process. The mayor lacks the leadership skill sets to realize this and organize this!

The problem is the mayor's small team of "political" players (Sturnbaum, Mark on the DAPTC) also have terrible communication skills and lack the leadership skills to move such a process through with a vision for success.
Now the mayor has fingerpointed at everyone else blaming them and the lack of a strong DAPTC for the Low Temp failure...but the failure lies with this mayor and his lack of leadership skills.

How many managers and authorities do we need to fund to fix the real problem????

The Low Temp disaster is the mayor's responsiblity. The project was mis-managed by him from the very beginning. Sturbaum, the major and the DAPTC had secret meetings with Low Temp and then withoutr organization and proper communication pushed them through a hap hazard process to make something happen.
A team should have been put in place to review all of the issues that needed to be reviewed and discussed...that team could of consisted of a representative of WASA, city planner, city manager, city's financial officer, DAPC and any other representative who could study and facilitate the process.
The problem is the mayor's small team of players (Sturnbaum, Mark on the DAPTC) have terrible communication skills and no leadership skills to move such a process through with a vision for success.
The mayor has fingerpointed at everyone else blaming them and the lack of a strong DAPTC for the Low Temp failure...but the failure lies with this mayor and his lack of leadership skills.
How many managers and authorities do we need to fund to fix the real problem????

Who is Stephen Allen and what dog did he have in the Low Temp fight? He sounds quite angry about those lost 165 jobs. Perhaps he has a stake in the Subway sandwich shop in the Wilshre shopping center, as that is the only entity I can see benefitting from locating Low Temp at the intersection of 74 and Redwine. But, it would take sales taxes on a whole lotta footlong subs to make up for the half mil or so PTC would have had to pay to get Low Temp hooked up to the sewer. Or, is/was he a DPACer that is out of sorts about losing his freebie picnic table at the Fred? This issue died a good while back in blogger years. Wonder why he is resurrecting it now? Just curious...

along with this one: why the heck is a letter-to-the-editor from Stephen Allen, whoever he is, worth a separate front-page news story? The Citizen is getting weirder by the issue....

Mr. Haddix

Please stop defending yourself and blaming others.
Peachtree City residents are waiting for you to accomplish something and so far all we see is a big fat 0.

Talk is cheap, blaming others for your own shortcoming and inability to motivate and lead people is even cheaper.

Stop playing politics...enough is enough! We are all growing tired of your games.

Stop talking, stopping lecturing people, stop blaming others and go do your job. It should be clear that even on this chat board people are getting sick and tired of you!

GAltant, How can you say the mayor's accomplishments are at 0?
Why, he just saved us all from house pets running wild in the streets! (or on the paths as it be)
Not sure if banning the gas golf cart thing is done yet, but these are weighty issues.
Seriously though, our city government unfortunately mirrors our federal government. You have the guy in charge, the Mayor, and a house (if you will) the council. The leader of the council could not do the ONE thing he ran his campaign on, NO NEW TAXES, so now he has nothing to do but stymie the Mayor. Imker couldn't cut, or garner the votes from the council to cut city spending, so taxes are going up. To not look the fool, he's playing the foil. If Haddix wants it, he isn’t going to get it. Makes him look tough so we'll forget the initial failure.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

Hasn't this been discussed in the past 9 articles the citizen has done on this? Same "news" over and over. And hasn't it been discussed that those 160 jobs would have been mostly be those already employed with the company, not new jobs?

What's the draw here? The city pays and adds only a handfull of jobs for little in tax revenue?

On another note: how many people on here can agree that one can't blame others, yet turn around and place blame on someone? Same 12 posters, same tired argument, same tired game.

"Insayn" ... really glad you are not in charge of recruiting future businesses to the area. PTC and Fayette County Dev. Authority will long feel the hurt from chasing away a client poised to spend upwards of $8 million in a terrible economy. From everything I read they were committed to making the move and I am sure had spent lots of their own money in "vetting" the site and city. Outside companies pay attention. The city I love truly looks like idiots in this case. So what if all 165 jobs were not new jobs. Think strategically and understand that this company was over 60 years old. They would have been here a long time and spent lots and lots of money here. Don't know if you realize it or not but PTC has lost a lot of manufacturing jobs in the past 3 years. How are we replenishing them?

A person on the inside at WASA confirmed in a social conversation I was in that Low Temp had offered up 10 to 15 acres as a donation to the city if sewer could have been brought to the site. Did the Mayor or Council bring this up? Wouldn't 15 acres on 74 be worth much more than the $500K needed to get sewer to the site? I guess we should just all sit back and wait for fortune 500 companies to bang on our doors. It ain't gonna happen citizens and this should not be brushed under the table!

Ok, lets say they donate 15 acres of land to the city. Which 15 acres? Would the city get the front 15 of the property or the most useless 15? Lets say they donate the 15 that's closest to the softball complex. Then what? There's no access to it without bulldozing acres of trees and half the fields. Why would we need that? To spend more money on more softball fields?

Sell the property? To who? More box stores? Who's going to buy property with no access?

Willing to spend 8 million? On what? building the facility? Shouldn't the extra half million for sewer be included. If the company really wanted to relocate here they would have done what Walmart did: anything and everything. I can understand tax breaks and other perks to draw companies. But half a million extra on the backs of the citizen because they don't want to pay for sewer hookup? That would be a deal breaker for most cities our size.

One last question. How old is Panasonic? Just because a company is 60 years old does not mean automatic stability. Look at Photo circuits, granted they were not 60 years old, but they spent millions to move overseas and went belly up soon after.

And now ive been sucked in, Im guilty of my own complaint. Now who should I blame? Its not my fault...

Have you ever made the comparison of the Chinese concrete truck company's
tax breaks, sewers, etc., with what this company wanted? Several got a vacation to China out of that also!

This piddle-diddling is a way NOT to get anyone here!
We didn't want that company for some reason.

Reminds me of the stupid mistake Fayette County made not wanting 500 units for seniors behind the hospital! Know why? Didn't want to help take care of old people. I ain't gonna get old for that reason!

And do you remember what Sarah Lee did to their long term but not retired employees? Out in the cold! (Put that stupid "Avenue" in there, jamming up the place fiercely.)

This is going to keep happening unless someone changes their management style....or I should say lack of management style...or no management style...

MajorMike's picture

No GAltant, I think that YOU missed the point. The rest of us get tired of the incessant attacks on the Mayor for no good reason. I differ with him on several issues, most specifically the gas golf cart grandfathering issue, but I'm not foolish enough to throw the baby out with the bath water.

I still remember all too well the Logsdon years with payoffs of illegal loans and other prime examples of general management. I still remember the widespread water shortages (outages) under Mayor FRED "developers buddy" Brown.

Mayor Haddix chose to communicate with his constituents in this venue despite the fact that it presents a stationary target for anyone with a special agenda and a computer. What did we get from previous Mayors?

The bottom line is that you, and several others, are cluttering up a valuable information source with totally biased, incessant, and many times totally illogical attacks. Do you think that possibly, just possibly, that you might have destroyed your own credibility in the process?

Oh, not at many council meetings do you attned to see the fiasco?

Based upon your comments on the past mayors, I can see you rely on the blogs for your news. This is not a valuable information source and the mayor's comments are bias and inacurrate. Sad for you!

The mayor does communicate on this blog, but its mis-communication. He has been called out by his own council for 1/2 truths and also Mayor Steele from Fayetteville recently called him out as well. Sit in on 2 or 3 council meetings and you will see for yourself.

MajorMike's picture


MajorMike's picture

Not surprisingly, you don't listen very well. Get used to the fact that your opinion is NOT fact. Have you ever talked to Ken Steele? I have - at length. The first thing that I found out is that he is totally unrepentant about endorsing Jack Smith and company. In fact, he doesn't much like anyone that is not a member of what we euphemistically call "the good ole boy club".

Let me restate my earlier blog GAlant; you’re as full of crap as a Christmas goose and your incessant, self serving, repetitious blog entries are way past boring.

I think it great you want to voice your opinion...that's what free speech is all about.
But don't put out inaccurate information when you are on the attack.
You said

"I still remember all too well the Logsdon years with payoffs of illegal loans"

That's is just not true. This was investigated by the GBI and ruled "not illegal". You read too many Steve Brown posts here claiming it was illegal when it was not.

Logsden cleaned up the mess left by the old DAPTC. Another reason not to have another DAPTC...real the laws and rules pertaining to development authorities in Georgia. They have the right to borrow and raise their own funds. Did they create a mess...YES...Logsden cleaned it up.

So go ahead and voice your don't like Mayor Steele, fine you said like Haddix, great! Say it all you want...but don't tell 1/2 truths or attack others on free speech!

I remember that the local police wouldn't touch the Tennis Center thing.
They called in the GBI who said it was a local District Attorney thing. The DA said it was a Peachtree City problem!

Around and around the Mulberry bush.......we go.

The State Attorney General could have investigated it (as is being done now in Bell,California) even the Governor could have ordered it...but it would all have been a waste of time.
I doubt a law suit would have faired any better.

MajorMike's picture

GAltant - Do you even read what you write?

"you don't like Mayor Steele" - I never said that.

"you like Haddix" - never said that either.

"attack others on free speech" - Duh ...THAT is what this conversation is all about - your incessant attacks in these blogs. 1/2 truths you say?

Logsden did not clean up any mess's left by the old DAPTC, He covered for them in an action where even the bank admitted culpability. While the GBI did not find grounds to prosecute, it is an established fact that the DAPTC did not have the authority to make the loans that they made. I'm glad that you finally established your position on Logsdon. It explains a lot.

It's hell to have a mirror held up to your face, isn't it.

You need a lesson in comprehension....

I did not establish any position on Logsdon, I simple stated he cleaned it up..which he did.

Move are wasting my time! I have no time for people who twist the facts.

You can take comfort in knowing you elected a loser as mayor...all the get what you deserve!

MajorMike's picture

As I said GAltant; Having a mirror held up to your face is hell isn't it? ROFLMAO


The Wedge's picture

yes, indeed, filled with class

Probably spent some time on the Hudson River! You been traveling again?

The Wedge's picture

Gym, I am writing this from the west coast right now. I have been on the road for the past several weeks and will do so for several weeks more. No rest until November. I think I would like to have that folding flashlight, looks like it could come in handy.

Sounds like the trials & tribulations of management!

When you get home, stop by the Glock factory in Smyrna--I bet they could fix you up!

The Wedge's picture

I will check it out. I didn't know that there was a glock factory in Smyrna.

MajorMike's picture

SMYRNA, Ga. -- Neighbors spent hours explaining why they didn’t want a gun manufacturer to expand, but in the end it was not enough to convince the Smyrna City Council.

The council voted 7 to 0 to approve variances that will allow Glock Inc. to expand its operations on Highlands Parkway.

“We wouldn't move, so now you’re trying to blow us off the hill,” said another angered resident.

Representatives from Glock said there is no safety risk despite the expanded operation.

“They raised the potential of an explosion because of one really odd mishap that happened many years ago. The facts have come out on that, steps have been taken to address that particular issue and I would submit to you there's a greater risk on every backyard patio deck than there is in this building,” said Glock spokesman Joel Larkin.

August 3, 2010

Mike King's picture

I thought Bernie restricted you guys from blogging on city time.

Restricted from bogging during working hours? What working hours when at desk?

I have just read the new Republican Manifest Destiny pages or Contract on America as Newt called his, or their program when they win:
I will do a synopsis of the democrat and TEA ones when I see them:

Cut taxes; curt government;keep tax discounts for the rich; freeze sending except for the VA and I guess war; never enumerated how they were going to cut SS or MC or MA; will not bar earmarks; said government too big and out of control; government has failed us (didn't say when); all future spending bill must show if it is approved by the Constitution (a word some love); reverse the stimulus bill immediately; (including unemployment insurance); repeal the new health care bill; (no plan to stop the 25% increase in costs of the old one every year); will "honor" whatever that means: families, standard marriage, life, and war; (I suppose motherhood, apple pie, and Chevrolet); honor and help faith based things (I guess Muslims, also) (with money); and last but not least: stick to our "core values."
Is that "core" the same one as is at the bottom of a nuclear electricity producing system?

I can't wait for the Socialistic, Red Nek, Green, TEA, and Lincoln Logs!

Mike King's picture

Congratulations, if, in fact, you read the entire thing.

Now for lesson # 2; you do realize there is a difference between reading and comprehension, don't you?

As far as your synopsis, I simply can not wait.

The Wedge's picture

that you have most certainly established a position on Logsdon. A phile is what you are, or maybe Logsdon himself. No matter as people seem to fall into one camp or the other--where they pound their chests and state how righteous they are. Please. this crap stinks as much as the others. Stating otherwise is an exercise in lunacy.

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