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Fleisch: city needs to focus on maintenance

In deciding to run for mayor next year, Peachtree City Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch said she wanted to make sure she got a major accomplishment under her belt before making the commitment.

That accomplishment was a year-long work in progress that culminated in a vote to increase the city’s hotel-motel tax rate from 6 to 8 percent to provide extra money to help maintain the city’s existing recreation venues.

The theory is that by properly maintaining the rec facilities, the city will be able to attract large sports tournaments that will help the hotels fill empty beds on the weekends when their business traffic is down. That theory was confirmed by a professional evaluator, and also the Atlanta Sports Council, after they toured the city’s rec facilities, Fleisch said.

The city already hosts a handful of major sports tournaments including a lacrosse tournament estimated to pad the city’s bottom line by $200,000.

The hotel-motel tax increase is not a slam dunk, as it must be approved by the legislature and it has to eclipse the negative connotation of a non-unanimous vote as Mayor Don Haddix voted against the proposal. Fleisch is hopeful the legislature will see the benefit of the tax increase, which was supported by a vast majority of hotel companies and will add roughly $150,000 a year to help maintain city recreation areas.

Fleisch said one of her goals as mayor would be to improve professionalism at council meetings, particularly since they are typically the only exposure the public has to their council members.
“Even though we are five very individual individuals, we are seen as a group at those meetings and that is the public perception, so it’s important to improve that,” Fleisch said.

In addition to the work on repairing the city’s rec venues, Fleisch is also pleased with the beginnings of the economic development coordinator position that the city funded with the Fayette County Development Authority. One of the biggest benefits is having a dialog with existing companies to help keep them here, as the city can’t afford to lose any of its businesses, Fleisch said.

“Keeping them is just as important as bringing in someone new,” Fleisch said. “We can’t have any more empty buildings.”

The city’s airport is also a key player in the economic future of the city, Fleisch noted, with 60 acres for future on-airport businesses and the new instrument landing system that allows planes to come here even in inclement weather.

Fleisch also said she was pleased the city’s decision to renovate the former recreation administration building to use as a new venue for senior citizen programming offered by Fayette Senior Services. Without the renovation, the most the city could have used the building for is for storage since the city can’t afford to hire additional staff for the building.

Earlier this year following the reorganization of the recreation department, the recreation staff was moved to existing office space at the Kedron Fieldhouse, leaving the facility vacant.

In terms of future city spending, Fleisch noted that there is a need to modernize some areas such as human resources that have still been using pen and paper instead of taking advantage of efficiencies by using electronic records. At the same time, an effort to purchase new records management software for the police department will have to wait until it is more feasible.

“We don’t need to be the ‘latest and greatest’ sometimes,” Fleisch said, noting that police cars are being outfitted with new laptops this year and all city hall computer workstations have been replaced with new, modern equipment. “I don’t see us looking at luxuries for a while. You take care of your needs and then you do the ‘wants’ if you can.”

For the past several years, Fleisch has been focused on improving the city’s maintenance particularly after an election-time anecdote she heard from a resident who had tried to lure her company to relocate here. After a tour of the town, the boss said the city “looked like a place people used to care about,” Fleisch said.

“That was like a dagger through my heart ... and that’s been a focus of mine: to turn that around,” Fleisch said. ... “We have to be very conscious of home values and by doing these things, fixing the city up, we are making sure we are valuing all our recreation facilities so people realize it’s worth coming here.”



[quote=John Munford]For the past several years, Fleisch has been focused on improving the city’s maintenance particularly after an election-time anecdote she heard from a resident who had tried to lure her company to relocate here. After a tour of the town, the boss said the city “looked like a place people used to care about,” Fleisch said.

“That was like a dagger through my heart ... and that’s been a focus of mine: to turn that around,” Fleisch said. ... “We have to be very conscious of home values and by doing these things, fixing the city up, we are making sure we are valuing all our recreation facilities so people realize it’s worth coming here.”[/quote]

Many good points in Vanessa's interview, but this one caught my eye.

As our current mayor has said in the past, this might be the most important election in PTC history...Do we want more of the same, in-fighting, lack of business development, outsourcing of key city resources, etc. or is time to elect a mayor who has vision and wants PTC to intelligently grow?

"Smart growth" which is a code term for no growth, or "Intelligent growth".

This is just one of many issues PTC faces and if we don't act we might as well merge PTC with Del Webb which is where we are currently heading with our current "un-leadership".

Let's hope we see more candidates like Vanessa step up and announce that they are running for mayor too and let's hope they campaign on issues not attacks. Issues such as:

1-An intelligent balancing of the budget.
2-Proper maintenance and repairs to our city facilities and resources.
3-Intelligent growth such as the recent annexation of the 77 acres on the Southside and how to avoid another Racetrac on the Westside instead of a Kohls...Not "smart" but "intelligent".
4-Business development - attracting new exciting companies to come to PTC which will help in filling up the vacant offices and retail spaces.
5-Attracting young families to PTC because of issues 2,3,4.
6-Leadership that creates harmony in council so council can divide up projects and work together as a team to accomplish what we need.
7-Leadership to whip our service departments into shape with proper compliance training in addition to professional training.

Yep, this will be the most important election for PTC. Hopefully more smart and active people will step up to also run.

So when can PTC citizens expect your announcement for the position? As an outside observer, I note that you post a lot with many opinions--will you back that up with a candidacy?

mudcat's picture

Let Vanessa be Mayor. Let Kim get re-elected to council.

I do want to see Larry Sussberg, Terry Garlock, Mike King, Terry Ernst and Randy Gaddo stepping forward as well.

We do have good people. Let's put them to work.

Citizens should log on to Peachtree City GA Livestream TV to watch Thursday night's council meeting. It says January 7 as the date but its actually 1/10.

Starting at minute 11 you can watch this mayor's twist on the taking of the taxpayers' $12,000 trying to turn the situation around blaming the council. This is same behavior he has continually exhibited since arriving on the public stage 6 years ago. Always mis-representing the truth and turning everything around as though it is other people's fault, not him.

What he forgets to state is that the lawsuit was private not public, that GIRMA turned down he request and he had the city attorney make multiple appeal attempts to get the money without discussing it with council.
The mayor believes he was due the money and council was wrong on the issue!

Our money, taxpayer money to reimburse him for a private lawsuit.

Watch his attack on Councilman Dienhart after he read his absurd statement.

Do we want 4 more years of behavior? Watch the video and see for yourself. Is this the type of leadership you want from a mayor?


NUK_1's picture

Way to start the new year off with the same pettiness and pathetic "leadership" you're so known for. His behavior and yelling was a complete joke and a lack of maturity yet again.

His reading ability is pretty funny, though. I don't know how many names and words can be mispronounced in only a few minutes, but, of course, he's reading from his own notes so......

Enough is enough is right. Shut up about it. If this resource had not been available to this Mayor or any Mayor serving,
it would not have been granted. Please, run for office yourself. Put your time and effort in supporting our city and quit talking about this issue. It's done.
Vote for someone else next time. Attempt to throw off this deep seeded hate you plaster and make a real difference in our community. Larry get off your arse, support something positive, run for something worthy, try putting your arse on the line and pray for those who are trying and just stop bitching or seek help.

tortugaocho's picture

I truly had my doubts about Mayor Haddix but this post by Sussberg underscores what is wrong with American politics. Sussberg has advanced absolutely no policy ideas for PTC, he has just demonized Haddix. Enough of that.

I saw the video. Shocking--- the City paid $5,500 to an outside lawyer because of the Council's challenge on unsuccessfully cutting the Mayor's pay and then caving in, restoring it and walking away like buffoons. And watch Kim Learnard during the video--- a more immature display I have not seen in a local meeting. I am surprised that she didn't tap a pencil and sing "La la la" in her efforts to distract from Haddix's comments.

Haddix--- certainly no beauty queen but you character assasins are actually bringing him some sympathy.

Maybe a few will move on.

Elections have consequences, and PTC is paying dearly for this mistake.

Bob T.'s picture

For some reason, I get this feeling that the $12k is only a drop in the bucket of wasted money that this town spends on contract work etc.... I wonder how much that furniture found in the dumpster cost us and how much the new furniture price tag will be. No telling what else goes on that we never hear about.

As I said to Mr. Sussberg, I consider what the Mayor did as "water under the bridge". It is almost time to vote and time for us to put our positive energy forward to help us get the right management TEAM together.

Time for me to shut up now. Happy trails.

IF the Mayor had apologized for his actions to his constituents....time has long passed for that..he had his chances for redemption.

How can you ask a man to appologize if he still doesn't think he did anything wrong and is being persecuted?

On the other hand,

He may just see the light, announce his intent for re-election and then state that he prayed about it and is a new man. Hallelujah.

Under normal circumstances I would agree with you, but as you can see from the 1/10/2013 meeting, Mr. Haddix had no remorse regarding the $12,000 he took from the citizens and he has fabricated a story that somehow blames council for trying to protect out interests. That is Haddix's turnaround and blame the other guy

Lets hope in the campaign, those who run for mayor will not shy away from the truth. We made the mistake in electing him the first time, lets hope in this election we vote for integrity and leadership.

Bob T.'s picture

Thank you for your response. I definitely believe that the Mayor made a bad decision in the way he made his accusations and that the city should not be held liable. He sure did open his mouth (so to speak) and insert foot.

In my opinion, this $12k along with things the Mayor should have done or not done is "water under the bridge" now since we are close to voting for new leadership. I am sure the coming elections will bring a positive change for PTC. Hopefully, the elected officials can start working together to help our town instead of wasting time playing the political games.

This town has a lot of more important issues to deal with regarding wasted money (contract cost comparisons), infrastructure upgrading, strategic planning etc..

Have a great day.

NUK_1's picture

Stumpy brought all of this hell on himself with his fat mouth that cost the taxpayers the 12K. No one prompted him to send an email to a staffer who his wife also hated talking about Logsdon being "part drunk." Haddix has never to this day owned up to it but fought like hell to make sure the taxpayers paid for his sins instead of himself. Integrity? class? Stumpy has never shown a shred of it.

As far as I am concerned, Stumpy will never be a sympathetic character in PTC as evidenced by how he still hasn't been able to let it go as of the January 10th Council meeting and his horrid behavior/total lack of leadership yet again.

The man is a total jackazz, clueless, and not intelligent by any measure. We get to rid of ourselves of him later this year, thankfully.

Somebody, anybody, show me three examples since the mayor has taken office where he has demonstrated any leadership. All I have seen during his term is controversy, the mayor finger pointing, and the mayor writing incoherent letters to the editor.

What I see is a leader who lacks the communication skills and gets frustrated when he can not clearly communicate his vision , and then goes on the attack if questioned. His fits of anger rival a child.

A true leader is someone who can rally the troops and get things accomplished. Someone who works behind closed doors and then praising others in public. Someone personable that can communicate with CEO's and the homeless and make both feel important.

Show me any issue that at the end of the day, didn't deal with the mayors communication skills (or lack thereof).

Mr. Sussberg as a resident and a business owner has been personally attacked by the mayor and has every right to promote change.

Thank you for expressing your opinion.

You are absolutely correct that policy should be first and foremost. However you must have great leadership to have great policy.

Our city lacks a clear vision and plan with the proper policies and programs needed to accomplish them and that is because we have an unqualified mayor trying to impose his agenda.

Haddix does not understand that he doesn't possess the executive power to impose policy on council. Our form of government requires teamwork and consensus since we elect council member AT LARGE. Each council member is voted into office by the same voters who elect the mayor. Put another way, council members represent all of us as does the mayor.

That is at the heart of the problem. We elected a mayor who does not know how to build consensus and teamwork to establish policy because he doesn't understand how to lead. He has failed as a leader hence the failure in policy.

Probably our most important issue is economic development. The mayor wasted 3 years trying to impose his minority view on development on our equally elected officials.

Remember that after DAPC was defunded and closed, he continued with his minority viewpoint. He chose a path to attack on council members, actions that ran out our economic development manager and attempts to manipulate the last council election in order achieve control. His path shut down PTC's economic development program for 3 years. That is not leadership! Valuable time and resources wasted with no policy or program until last year.

The problem with American & PTC politics is not demonizing without policy as you stated, pointing the finger at me, its uninformed voters who elect politicians and not leaders.

Let's hope that SYMPATHY is not the calling card for the next mayoral election. Reminds me of HOPE & CHANGE and look where that got us.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Larry and others have a long history of explaining specific policy ideas that are beneficial to the city. Seems unlikely that Haddix even understands these things and even more unlikely that this council will even address those ideas while Haddix is in office. Some others on council are overreacting to this vile little man and the damage he has done to the city and I can almost partially forgive them for that because having to interact with him frequently must be an enormous burden.

However, regardless of the reason, nothing is being proposed that addresses economic development, the deferred maintenance on the cart paths and the demonization of the Rec Dept. and its programs. Or the atomic bomb that will be dropped when the sewer repair audit is presented to council (and the taxpayers). I do believe that those on council who allow themselves to be distracted and rendered completely impotent by this foolish and clownish mayor are also subject to being replaced on council. Of course the mayor has to go and his replacement should be a real leader with positive ideas, but I am also eying the ladies for signs they can work with a new leader and so far, I am not convinced. I certainly don't see Vanessa's "I'm not as bad as he is" campaign going anywhere.

Live free or die!

More of their bla bla bla is all you will get.

I have no interest in running however I am interested in seeing that we have a wide field of intelligent candidates running for mayor this year.

Should the current mayor decide to run, I may fund a PAC to publish his track record. If anyone or political party is interested in participating, I can use the help and can be reached at

Peachtree City is a wonderful place and it needs to get back on track. For the last 6 years we have been paralyzed as our elected officials have fought and played political games and our mayor is the "leader of the pack".

He has shown no leadership skills and has no concept on how to pull people together. He has leads divisive campaigns to smear city council members and played a disruptive role in the last PTC election in an attempt to try to gain control council by getting candidates elected that will support his programs and plans. His motive is absolute control instead of working with the other elected officials through leadership, majority rule and compromise. He claims he will continue to fight for what he believes but that's all he does and it has crippled the city.

Ultimately, the final straw was the $12,000 of taxpaper money he took to repay himself for a private slander lawsuit. He repeatedly used the city attorney to write his reimbursement letters knowing what the deductable was and intentionally did not report these planned actions to council. Again divisive and at the direct expense to us.

He has brought bad press and shame on our city and as a local PTC business owner, that has been bad for business. The voters need to learn and know so they can vote wisely. It's time PTC gets back on track!


I am so glad to see someone else say it. The blow comes out of these guys but no one ever steps up. It will not change and really does not matter. If someone else is in office this guy will still try and toot his horn and bitch. He will never work in office.

I'm not sure I get the connection.

IF so, Ginga would be our President.

No, it's obvious that you DON'T get the connection! But that's ok---and Ginga would probably do just as well as our current President in some areas and maybe even better in others!

SPQR's picture

maybe it would be a good idea if Vanessa ditched the glamor shot which is OK for an agent's business card but maybe not so OK for a mayoral candidate.

Looks better than Captain Kangaroos mug shot.

RKS's picture

[quote=SPQR]maybe it would be a good idea if Vanessa ditched the glamor shot which is OK for an agent's business card but maybe not so OK for a mayoral candidate.[/quote]

You get the Oink Award today.

Agreed! We lose /spend over $700,000 a year at the Kedron Field House, we are spending another $400,000 to remodel/ reconstruct a building when there are other options, and there are major issues with the IT at the city. We are getting a gas station instead of a beautiful retail complex (which would have brought in major tax revenue for the city)...and the list goes on.

I agree with you 100% we better find someone who has a clue. I'm trying to figure out one major accomplishment that has been achieved in the last 11 years in Peachtree City. So the question remains...who?

You are 100% right on the increase in the hotel/motel tax. This is something I asked past mayor's and council to get done...that it was an important issue and a cash generator for the city. I pushed this issue when I ran for office 7 years ago. Good for you for making this happen...a way to generate revenue for our city that doesn't cost the tax-payers.

Now that's just rich.

Residents never pay for hotel rooms of friends and family that come to visit.

Local businesses never pay for hotel rooms of clients and associates.

Our biggest employer in this city never pays for the thousands of hotel rooms they use for trainees.

Let's be sure we lessen our a competitive edge to market our hotels.

We need to give the city govt. more tax money to throw away used broken furniture.

The private sector never can give the city enough tax dollars, now can we?

Yep, that's just rich.

ptctaxpayer's picture

3 Stooges--- I couldn't agree more! How about those realtors and developers--- it's somebody else that's paying a tax ! Keep taxing, keep taking... She sounds like the Chamber transportation tax shills.

you make your family and friends stay in hotels when they visit? Take a look at most of the hotel/motel taxes around the country...much higher. People are still getting a deal here. The inherit problem is that much of Peachtree City has an entitlement mentality, they want everything to be perfect but don't want to pay for it. We could always look at reducing the hotel/motel tax and raising your taxes to off-set the revenue. It amazes me that those will complain about $1.50 extra for a hotel room but never says anything about the $700,000 a year loss (tax payers money) on the "Kedron Field House". This place (PTC)is falling apart because no one wants to pay to fix anything or do it right to begin with. Wonder how much you'll care about this issue when your home value drops because we become the next Fayetteville.

This mindset is not unlike the person who doesn't change the oil in his/her car because it cost to much. How expensive is it when the engine blows up?

I don't make them stay anywhere. They stay where they want. Do I pay for it if they choose to stay in a hotel? You bet, it's called being hospitable. You might look into that concept.

Reducing the hotel tax? How about leaving it where it is? How about you explain to the entitlement mentality exactly where those hundreds of thousands of 2% additional taxes will be spent? Obviously it won't be spent by the companies who have to house employees, trainees and clients in our hotels and will foot the bill. Give me the list, you know, details. Who on staff management has spoken up and said we need this tax increase to survive? Show me where Dr. Pennington or Paul Salvatore demanded we need it or anyone's property tax will increase. Funny, I haven't heard a word from either one of them demanding this new tax.

Unlike so many here, I don't spend my days and nights whining and moaning about decisions made 5-10-20 years ago that in hindsight were a bad investment. I do think you have overspent your online allowance whining about the loss to you personally in the pool ownership/management debate. That and listening to others come on here and talk about your lack of addressing maintenance issues with a business you own.

Peachtree City is not falling apart. It is over 50 years old and whether you like it or not, it will never look the way you remember it when you or anyone else moved here. I would compare it to, oh let's say, a 50 year old man who bleaches his hair and has some cosmetic work done on the face. Just for example, mind you. Now, does that not make him still 50 years old and do people looking at him not see the grey hairs and the plumped up smoothed out wrinkles? No, they still see them. Not quite as pronounced, but they are no secret. Peachtree City has some gray hairs, no doubt. And we taxpayers have spent money to cover them up and smooth out the wrinkles. How about going to any other city in Ga. with a comparable age (50 plus) and population and let us know then how badly this city is falling apart.

No amount of money we pay in taxes is ever going to make this city look like it did in 1985. Or 1995. Sorry. How about we leave it to the management of this city to decide if the people/businesses who pay for the hotel rooms need a 2% tax increase? Not the hotel staff, but the ones who actually pay the increased tax.

Gee, lots of folks complained at the time about the $700k vote. Here you are with 2 posts praising someone who voted FOR the 700K. Actually, she was the most outspoken one for it. You know, to save your house value. How's that working out for you the last few years?

If and when management says we need to increase taxes, that is when I will listen and consider the benefits. Until then, my engine is lubed just fine, thank you very much.

go have a conversation with Paul and Jim to see what money is truly needed. And for the record, I could care less about the "Kedron Field House"...the way it currently operates is a financial disaster. However, it is costing the tax-payers of Peachtree City approx. $700,000 a year. I'm not supporting the vote for Kedron....I was against the bubble. The bubble is a makes us look cheap. Pick a side....make a recreation pool for the summer or build a true aquatic center. The whole thing is just a waste of tax-payers money.

Peachtree City looks much better than it did in 1985 or 1995, the issue is it's time to fix-up and upgrade many of the city owed properties and it will cost money to do so. You can either find it from outside sources or pay it as a citizen, either way it's important to maintain value. If we choose to take the low road, the city will crumble in time.

I knew it wouldn't take Dar long to start hitting on Vanessa over buying the field house.

First, it's whispering sweet little nothings in her ear. Then it's praising raising our taxes because "Hey, I don't pay it". And then, finally, "While you're at it, sweetheart, let me take that Field House off of your hands."

Wanna talk about a car without an engine ? Look at your own swimming pool, Dar. No thank you-- we'll keep ours and you might as well stop sucking up to Vanessa and George.

The issue--- we don't want more taxes from politicians like you and Obama who say we are not getting a tax hike on the middle class when in fact we are. We ok there now buddy ?

in buying the "field house". I said I would management and save the tax-payers over $300,000 per year...that deal is no longer of interest to me. Regarding the pool you or either one of the over 10,000 members of "world gym" who continue to remain a member ( our clubs rank in the top 3% of rentention rate in the country and our clubs have won numerous international a wards)or you are not a member, which whom I would then ask, why do you care? My interest would be more to the fact, if you have an issue with the pool, then why are you still a member? I would think, there has to be a reason.

Regarding your comment on taxes...this is what the hotel/motel tax off-sets your tax exposure, thus cheaper taxes to the citizens. I didn't drink the kool-aid, I knew the middle-class was getting a tax increase by Obama...the problem is, the only thing the middle-class heard was that the rich will be paying more taxes and they all signed up for that deal. Welcome to the party!

Don Haddix's picture

I voted against the H/M for a list of reasons.

Our industries, who pay for a lot of rooms, were never consulted. As a businessman most assuredly a 2% increase on quantity cost of anything is a big deal.

Three motels did not support this increase. Five did.

The Recreation Department neither supports or opposes the H/M tax. Nor does the City Manager or CFO.

Tournaments cost the taxpayer more than they bring in.

Last, but not least, is there is absolutely no way to guarantee an extra penny would be spent on Rec. Do the Rec Budget, label the first dollars H/M, then spend the rest as you want. Nothing stops cuts in Rec from happening in the future.

We have no comprehensive/strategic plan for the use of our fields or overall goals for PTC. That is why I created the Needs Assessment Committee, which the City Manager supports and the Councilmembers oppose. It is why the City Manager is creating an internal City plan, which I support. His support comes from years of experience as a City Manager. I have been pushing it as a goal since 2008. It was not until 2011 a key element in pursuing that goal was realized, meaning a City Manager who shared that vision. But even with two of us supporting it, the Councilmembers had no interest.

Moelarrycurly makes excellent points. So does ptctaxpayer. Remember that demand and push to get me off the Regional Transportation Roundtable and Mayor Steele on?

Since I was criticized in the article, just letting everyone know why I voted as I did. Fleisch is very pro tax as a universal solution and I believe excess spending is the key source of problems in our economy.

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

Bob T.'s picture

I have to agree with you. This forum seems to be more of a "Bash the mayor every chance you get" page. It doesn't matter what the topic is, some of the posters still have to toss in a little snide immature comment along with name calling. Reminds me of a bunch of kids that like to gang up on others.

Let it go folks. All you really do here is complain and it is evident that you will not run for office in order to implement any of your excellent ideas. The only thing you can do is to go vote for the best candidate of your dreams. Good luck.

PTC Observer's picture

You're absolutely correct, if the citizens have learned anything (which is doubtful) it is that elections have consequences, those consequences include the outcomes of incompetence, which generally cost us money.

Let's hope that the pool of candidates in this year's election will be of higher caliber and that the choice will be among the best of the best.

We can start by drafting Mr. garlock to replace Mr. Haddix. I would also consider Mr Dar Thompson and other business leaders that have shown that they can manage money and organizations. It is time to get serious about running our government with proven leadership.

I completely agree...

When the fish stinks, it stinks from the head down.
Meaning, our mayor has proven his inability to lead. With a council elected AT LARGE he needs to lead by consensus and teamwork. He has alienated council, not built a cohesive team and as a result we have this problem.

We have important issues and problems to address. Mr. Haddix should have met individually with each council member to discuss goals and objectives then in smaller groups but not violate the opening meeting laws. Instead he ignored them and when things did not go his way, he attacked in Letters to The Editor and a host of other actions.

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