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PTC's Development Authority short on money, long on aspirations

With $14,000 left in the bank and no more funding coming from the Peachtree City Council, at this point anyway, the Development Authority of Peachtree City has enough money to get to the first of May before running out.

On a 3-2 vote of council earlier this year, DAPC’s $35,000 in funding was removed from the budget, and the authority was informed they would have to subsist on that figure with its mission.

In recent times, the authority has become more small-business oriented in an effort to help improve the status of the city’s more beleaguered shopping centers, some of which have been plagued with vacancies and dwindling foot traffic as shoppers head to some of the city’s more prestigious, newer, locations such as The Avenue.

The authority also has focused on holding monthly luncheon meetings with local industry representatives in an effort to start a line of communication for various issues that could perhaps be addressed. Officials see this particularly as a way to help retain local industry and the multitude of jobs that accompany such businesses.

The new budget prepared for DAPC contains $400 for those luncheons, in which one DAPC member meets face to face with local industrial leaders. It also contains, as required, $2,500 for an annual audit, which is required because it is considered “a financial component” of the city.

Peachtree City’s Assistant Finance Director Janet Camburn said she has worked to get proposals for liability insurance that may significantly reduce costs on that budget item from about $3,500 to perhaps less than $2,000. The authority also has to set aside funds for state-required training for new members and pay for the hourly services of City Attorney Ted Meeker on occasion for legal advice.

Some DAPC members are concerned that since the remaining $14,000 in the bank account won’t last the whole year, the budget should be amended to make it last the full fiscal year. But DAPC Chairman Todd Strickland said he was confident once the city’s new economic development director was on board and prepared a budget, there is time for the funding issue to be worked out by May.

“We might not make it to the end of the fiscal year,” authority member Mark Hollums said at Monday night’s DAPC meeting. “The state-required training, it seems like a moot point to get training if we’re not going to be here after May 1.”

Strickland said he thought such a discussion “was counterproductive, in my opinion, right now.”

“There’s plenty of time. We’ll be in good shape guys, let’s have a little faith,” Strickland said.

Strickland suggested the authority could amend its budget in February or March perhaps if it needs to come up with a contingency plan to stretch the funding throughout the year.

“Nobody has told me at this point that there’s not going to be a development authority, so we’re going to have a process and kind of figure out where the funding will be after this person has been hired,” Strickland said.

Hollums suggested if the city could help fund the authority’s need for legal advice, education of new members and the annual audit, it would be helpful.

DAPC members are volunteers and are not compensated for their service to the city, the same as the city’s other volunteer boards and commissions.

When council voted to take away DAPC funding, elected officials suggested that special DAPC projects could be brought to council for potential funding from the city.

The removal of DAPC funding from this year’s city budget was the coda of a bid by Mayor Don Haddix and Councilman Doug Sturbaum to increase the authority’s funding to $150,000. Instead, council members Vanessa Fleisch, Kim Learnard and Eric Imker approved the hiring of an economic development coordinator to work as a part of city staff, instead of directly for DAPC as proposed by Haddix.

The removal of DAPC funding caused some turmoil among authority members, chiefly Grey Durham who strongly protested the cut.

“When we got our whole budget taken away, it felt like we were thrown under the bus,” Durham told the City Council in September.

Durham, who spearheaded DAPC efforts to assist local businesses in the village shopping centers, resigned soon after.

Of DAPC’s previous $35,000 budget, some $6,000 was for a part-time secretary who assisted the authority with meeting minutes as required by law and also with other functions, including support for merchant meetings with DAPC in Durham’s efforts to get the business owners to coalesce into one group at each center.

Earlier this year, the authority spent around a thousand dollars as “seed money” in each shopping center it has worked with, funds that were pooled with contributions from merchants and the shopping center owners to help market the centers.

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.

With the loss of Durham, DAPC may have lost some of its synergy with the shopping center initiative.



Robert W. Morgan's picture

do we need a part-time development authority? It doesn't seem to make sense to have both and if one is not getting any funding, well I guess you can see where this is headed.

Live free or die!

Don Haddix's picture

Yes, it is a necessity. Many things DAPC can do Staff cannot and FCDA will not, as Councilman Sturbaum and I said repeatedly. We already have had several issues this year DAPC had to handle even if the Coordinator were working.

My position remains the same. Contract the Coordinator over to DAPC and fund DAPC. One entity doing across the board coordinated work with a full time Director working for all the city.

His contract reads he will take orders, at need, from the City Manager, Community Development Director and DAPC. So the argument he can do it all is already being recognized as in error.

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

Mike King's picture

As usual, things are so well organized down at city hall.

New guy has one year to live with three bosses!
What is a community development director?

Don Haddix's picture

That is David Rast, who oversees Staff working on such things as site plans, presentations to the Planning Commission and Council, developing city site projects, Land Use and Comprehensive plans, zoning type ordinances and so forth. A lot of work with few people to get it done. He reports to the City Manager.

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

Mike King's picture

Site plans, mayor. Would you please let us citizens know just how many new developments are in the works? City site projects, you say, please name two.

Land use and comprehensive plans have yet to be touched in years.

How about the $2500.00 audit that can and should be done by your own Finance department?

Some things when thrown, simply will not stick to the wall.

Oh now Mike, you will get thrown off here! The PTC secret service will interfere!

You are so lucky that the Mayor will sacrifice his dignity and appear on this thing anyway!

mudcat's picture

It really makes no sense to have a Department, a director and staff dedicated to development issues when there is no development or building going on. The major developer just bailed out of their real estate business by foisting it off on Prudential (talk about a buyer beware situation) and the city has a moratorium on multi-family and an anti-business reputation and has set a precedent for not allowing sewer expansion outside the city. The only other thing that might happen is some big box retailer will come in and want to build a medium-sized box, but we have chased most of them away and there's plenty of empty space already built if someone needs it.

Why do we need a department for all that? Why do we need building inspectors at all? If we have a budget problem, this might be a place to look. Maybe that's why David is only the "Inereim" Dirctor. He works there 2 days a week and the rest of the time at the recycling center.

Mike King's picture

It's His Imperial Highness the Mayor's way of deflecting attention away from his understated lack of organizational ability.

Is it any wonder that his sole ally on Council has for nigh onto three years been mute?

Perhaps Bernie will do the city a favor prior to leaving and take Don to the woodshed.

mudcat's picture

Is all this talk about Billy Beckett, Steve Rapson and Barry Amos just talk or will one of them be the next City Manager. No question Don needs someone strong and experienced to compensate, but will he actually hire someone smarter and more capable than he is? Maybe move David Rast into that slot and not replace him? How about that for saving money?

Mike King's picture

It's my opinion that it would be impossible for Don to hire anyone less capable than he.

My guess is that the interim city manager will be his choice not because of her capabilities, but more to placate the two ladies on Council.

Saving money under this mayor? Surely, you jest.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

He has to create a search committee to interview applicants and I'll bet we attract tons of people from all over the country. No need to stay local on this. Get someone with some pro-business abilities and let's get out of the doldrums.

Live free or die!

Mike King's picture

Getting someone with pro-business ability and experience to relocate to an anti-business and anti-development city will be the hurdle. It has escaped our mayor that Peachtree City reached its heyday due to the efforts of developers. It is also recognized that the decline in our quality of life became noticeable under our first anti-development mayor, Steve Brown.

Your premise of Don not acting alone in this assumes that he can act effectively with others. His tenure is replete with 3-2 votes that attest otherwise.

Care to publicize your wager?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Sure. Restated to be perfectly clear, I think PTC is seen as an attractive place to live and work and I'll bet we get at least 50 applicants from all over the country. I'm also aware that some retreads from right next door will also apply. And I do think it is possible that Don and whoever else he has to work with on this could still screw it up and not choose the best candidate. He may even discourage some qualified applicants like Brown did with his smartest person in the room act. One of the notables he ran off is now a newly elected congressman from another area and we stay in touch. A micromanaging mayor must look for a compliant city manager.

Nevertheless, we will get some good people to apply. The good ones know they will outlast a one term mayor. I didn't like Bernie at first because he was replacing Basinger, but he was certainly better for the city than the clown that hired him.

And you are sure right that the business of Peachtree City is growth and development and the beginning of the end (or at least the decline) started under the Brown regime's demonization of developers (both real and imaginary). Some of the decline has been timing and the economy, but an out of control mayor can easily ruin the city's reputation. Brown certainly did that. Logsdon did nothing to improve it and Haddix seems to be Brown2, Bad stuff.

Live free or die!

I do think, and am sure, if Hilary Clinton or Pelosi started crying and bawling every time they were interviewed, that there would be such an uproar to replace them that they would have to quit!
There would absolutely be something wrong with them!

"Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?"

The USA is sure to be in all the world newspapers just as Kim Jon Un is.

Maybe President Obama (2 steps above The Speaker) should try this approach for sympathy! Does the man own a cat?

Robert W. Morgan's picture

The city manager and his replacement. I am sure Nancy Pelosi is totally unconcernered about this issue in PTC.

You need more focus. Did you read any of the books I reccomended?

Live free or die!

PTC Observer's picture

and focus in the same post is an oxymoron.

No understanding of comparison!

To those interested in helping:
I got a fax yesterday with a map of Fayette County, proposing a bus service in and out of PTC.

I haven't studied the County or Fayetteville part much, but the PTC part looks just like what we need.

The plan is as follows: About every two hours a small bus will pass the entrance to most sub-divisions and all shopping centers in PTC. There will be two stops at the shopping centers.
People can get off or on at all stops. Every two hours a bus will stop at City Hall and the Library.

On the west side, buses will turn at Home Depot; on the south side, buses will turn at Wilshire; on the North side, buses will turn at the entrance to Kroger off 74. And on the East side at El Reposo.

Every third bus will continue on to the Fayette County Line on 74 North where a Fulton Bus will also stop and return to Marta at Union City.

I think Buses to Fayetteville are planned three times a day. Turn at County office Park. Whether Clayton will run a bus to there is undetermined.

The fares are expected to be tokens (for sale at Walgreen's) or cash cards of $2. Three Counties, the state and Washington, will share in any budget overage that leaves. SPLOSTS will carry most of the costs.

There are a few details yet to be worked out, but we won't know the details until the law is passed.

Why is it that very few around here "get" a comparison?

I meant that PTC didn't need a "crier" as town manager! Get it?

As to the books, the 500 or so that I have of quality books aren't yet all read by me. Don't need your recommendations as of now!

My best latest: TRUMAN bio; Clinton's auto; and I'm looking for Mark Twain's newly released auto.--warts and all! I also re-read the USA Constitution lately. Rail strange document! Seems all it says is that Congress and the President can do what they want when elected--with an occasional set-back by the Soopremes, before elections-----Bush, FL, for instance.

We select so many partisans for the Supreme Court, that all votes there can be counted before they vote! Dangerous.

Of course WE (the citizens) dont select them--Presidents do that and they are ratified by the Senate.

So the man showed himself to be human and had an emotional moment. You never had one of those? If not, what a pity. So tell us, just how do you feel about Nancy (We have to pass the bill so we can see what it says) Pelosi?

Observerofu's picture

Nancy Pelosi gets choked up

"Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt"
-Samuel Adams
Illegitimi non carborundum

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Why is he "Interim" Director? He's been doing the job for 10 years. Why not give him the title? Saving the salary for a new Asst. City Mgr,?

Live free or die!

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