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Mayor Haddix: Regional T-SPLOST is a net negative for Fayette taxpayers

Don Haddix's picture

Some pretty serious events are unfolding all around us. I would just like to touch upon two.

Reading about the TSPLOST and its impact can be very confusing. Hopefully coming from a different perspective might help. We all know government rules and laws make nothing easy to understand.

In 2010, I said we would be a donor county, as did Mayor Rehwaldt of Tyrone, County Commission candidates Steve Brown and Alan McCarty and a Peachtree City Council member. Recently Fayette County Chairman Herb Frady has come to the same conclusion.

We also warned about transit, specifically rail and bus. Looking at what has happened in other counties with MARTA and the Clayton and Cobb systems makes this a grave concern.

[Fayetteville] Mayor [Kenneth] Steele, a devotee of ARC, transit (yes, in 2008 he did try to lecture me at a Chamber luncheon about Peachtree City and my being parochial on not supporting rail here) and urbanization (no, we are not an urban county) led the campaign to remove me from the Regional Transportation Roundtable (RTR) because I dared to suggest there was a better way.

He was supported by three on the Peachtree City Council in a resolution (note the majority seems to do a resolution a year against me, which is interesting) and the mayors of Brooks and Woolsey.

As claimed, and later upheld, those actions were illegal. But, it was not worth paying the court costs to get them reversed.

Well, folks, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is moving forward on a Regional Transit system backed by a tax on which voters will have no say.

On being a donor county, Fayette will contribute $190 million in TSPLOST. We will get back $143 million. Does the difference not make us a donor county?

Mayor Steele tries to claim we get it all back by referencing the widening of Ga. Highway 54 and the Ga. Highway 74/Interstate 85 interchange improvements. Problem is he is charging 100 percent of the cost to Fayette even though 60 percent of Hwy. 54 is in Clayton County and all of the interchange is in Fairburn. Neither is charged to us by the state.

Who gets the economic impact of the interchange? Fairburn, not us.

Consider those already built empty warehouses and homes there, plus the additional warehouses, homes and mall already approved for construction. What are their future impacts on area traffic? How much improvement for Fayette traffic do you think we are really going to enjoy?

Would not other access points, as in via Tyrone/Palmetto Road, do a much greater service to Fayette?

So, any way you look at it we are getting back considerably less than we send out as a county.

Now, look within Fayette at the $143 million. The west half of the county has a whopping $2.4 million in two projects in Peachtree City. Peachtree City, not counting Tyrone or the surrounding unincorporated county, will be paying $60 million into the TSPLOST. $60 million out to get back $2.4 from the 85 percent regional portion and $10 million back in the 15 percent local discretionary portion. What a deal!

Where does the rest go? It goes to a network of roads centering and focused on Fayetteville, minus about $2 million going to local use for the county and a few $100K going to the remaining Fayette cities.

Is all that windfall actually good for Fayetteville? I do not think so. Despite claims it will only relieve existing traffic congestion, when you study the map I believe you will see a development corridor. So, residents along some now peaceful areas, get ready for traffic and development.

Rumor is already out about a Publix coming to the West Bypass area along with about 5,000 homes, all to be annexed into in Fayetteville. But next year, after the election.

So, folks, judge for yourself and ask your questions. As well judge if you want more of the same in the future. Or, do you want change on how we are represented on ARC? If the TSPLOST fails, do you want to remain in ARC? The RTC is not going away and the TSPLOST can be voted on again in 2015.

There is a whole lot to think about. There is an expected change of representation on ARC via a change in the county chairman. Do you want a change in the mayoral representation as well?

Rest assured, unless there is some major change in thinking, if Ken Steele is reelected, he will go back on ARC due to a three-block vote of Fayetteville, Brooks and Woolsey.

It is interesting to think of the impact of such changes. An old timer ARC champion gone and two new voices pointing in new directions on ARC. That is change we need, not only for Fayette, but all of ARC.

Really, folks, think about it. There is no need to pile every business into Atlanta in this electronic age. A bucket only holds so much water. So, why in the world are they so desperate to fund more of the same thinking instead of eliminating the need to commute by growing jobs where the people live? Where is the innovative out of the box thinking? Oh, yeah, Atlanta does not want to stop getting all those revenues is why.

What I am saying works. A golf cart drive to work versus commute to Atlanta. Ten minutes in a car versus an hour or more to just the airport area.

Keep the money here. I know Peachtree City can do a lot of economic development and meeting local needs with $6 million each year from a SPLOST versus $1 million from the TSPLOST. $190 million used for Fayette needs and economic development can go a long way. That is, as long as the right people are in office to set the requirements of use for the SPLOST referendum to be voted on by the voters.

As well, it will not end in 10 years. The kickoff goal is 30 years. Long term is permanent. Donor county forever. Urbanize Fayette and end why we moved here.

My censure said I am negative on Peachtree City and Fayette and they are amazed why. That is nonsense. I am fighting for Peachtree City and Fayette. I do not share their ARC vision for our future. I am negative on what they want, not Peachtree City and Fayette. All said noting they have no problem being negative on me.

Finally, just a bit of clarity on the Peachtree City budget and millage rate. All five of us voted approval, but not for the same reasons.

You hear of the touted five year plan, which is actually Councilman Imker’s proposal, not an approved budget. We only approve one year at a time, not five.

Key to that proposal is the economy has bottomed out and will be turning around, deliberately spending about $4 million of reserves and tax increases. Only the three support that thinking. Nor was it the staff proposal. Staff was bound by the guidelines of cut no services and keep services provided in the current fashion.

An interesting comment was made by Councilwoman Learnard. She said not to come complaining to her in two years when you see a large amount of reserves being spent. It is part of the plan.

Reality is the next council will have a clean slate to work with on the 2013 budget. How that will work out will depend on who is elected this year. The future is not in stone by any means and 2013 through 2016 years will be determined by the next two councils, not this one.

We are living in very unique and challenging times. We need to figure out where we want to go in the future and be prepared to get there. We need to be ready and get it right. We need to be out of the box and innovative.

[Don Haddix was elected mayor of Peachtree City in 2009. Previously, he had served two years as a council member. His email is]


Mike King's picture

You seem to have a lot to say about how bad the proposed TSPLOST will be for Fayette County, yet you railed against the very organization that controls its allocation of funds. The simple answer initially(when you were part of the ARC) was to silently work to insure its defeat at the polls as an insider. Your ego and lack of understanding caused our city the embarrassment of you being tossed off the ARC and replaced by the one individual who stands to gain the most from its passage.

You can't even see that it was YOU who was responsible for Mayor Steele taking the lead and getting his way for the city of Fayetteville. Anyone who really wanted this 30 year tax to be doomed could have easily caused its demise from within the organization, anyone with the mental capacity of a tomato, that is.

Go ahead and spout your rhetoric demeaning those whose capabilities dwarf yours(Imker/Leonard/Steele), and place yourself on your egotistical high horse. Your waning relevance continues to be an embarrassment for Peachtree City.

I'm afraid you are just flat wrong about how the the Mayor was against the SPLOST tax. Not just against, but when he was!
The following sounds like someone from Tammany Hall:

....."could have easily caused its demise from within the organization, anyone with the mental capacity of a tomato, that is." Are you suggesting that he lie if he had been asked if he was neutral? This is not war.

That sounds devious and also if Haddix has such a mental capacity as you describe, he couldn't even have done it if there!

Find something more accurate and sensible to hound him with, please.

NUK_1's picture

[quote=Don Haddix]
As claimed, and later upheld, those actions were illegal. But, it was not worth paying the court costs to get them reversed.


Actually, that has never been proven at all. Yet another Haddix opinion that he represents as a FACT that simply hasn't been proven to be true. He also misrepresents the opposition: it was not only Mayors, it was EVERY City Councils in FC that voted against Haddix and to leave ARC. That also includes Tyrone who he leaves out in the discussion.

As far as "fighting for Peachtree City and Fayette," please, we don't need any more of that "fight" that has been absolutely pointless, had a negative impact over a positive one, and sure as hell isn't going to attract any alleged high-paying jobs to either PTC or Fayette.

hutch866's picture

5000 homes, next year, in these economic times? Seems like you're not allergic to alcohol either.

I yam what I yam

Don Haddix's picture

How about all the large new development approved in Newnan?

Or, the current owners of the McIntosh Village proposal with several thousand homes and a big retail center that flew in to try to persuade me into moving forward on getting TDK extended into Coweta so they could develop?

I agree with the comment on these economic times. But, it does not seem to stop some from building anyway.

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

Yes, and may the bird of paradise fly up your nose!
And a Walgreen's will be built in PTC!
And taxes in PTC will increase next year!
And 500 MPH winds will come through PTC soon.
Lake McIntosh will flood Fayette County soon.
The Police and Fire forces in PTC will expand by doubling heads soon.
Sixteen more banks are scheduled to be opened on 54/74 soon.
All illegals in Fayette County will be arrested in one big swoop.
The TEA party will we banned in the USA soon.
The republican party will change name to Whigs.
A huge commercial center will be built on Robinson Road soon.
All black bowling balls will be re-colored white--all pins black.
Developers will quit lying about new development to get better loan terms.
Bankers will make their first loan to a commercial venture here soon.
Bankers will make a loan on a new house in PTC soon--at 12% adj.20% down.
For the first time in history no one will run for Mayor in PTC.
A Dr. Pennington will become visible.
Someone named "Skip" will hire 10 ticket cops.

The six democrats in Fayette will be pinpointed and destroyed.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

and that is that some will build anyway - regardless of economic times. That is true, but I think you need to know a little more about that. Especially if developers are contacting you directly.

While the claim of 5,000 homes near the WFB next year after the election is idiotic - there won't be 5,000 single family homes built in this entire county before 2050, BUT the key is the part about Fayetteville annexing. Why would they do that? For their sewer of course. Once sewer pokes its way westward, it opens the door for multi-family rezoning. Might start as condos or duplexes, but the ultimate goal of most developers nowdays is to create a portfolio of rental properties. OK, I'll say it outloud - APARTMENTS. Whew. Does this explain the flirtation some of our leaders are having with rapid transit?

With bankruptcy and foreclosure and job loss and higher standards to get a mortgage, we are creating (at the rate of thousands of people per month - nationwide) an entire underclass of renters. Renters for 5 or 6 years for those that want to make a comeback and buy into a declining housing market or renters for life - for most. Either way, builders and developers know that owning rental property is a much smarter position than producing for sale housing. It will be a huge trend. In fact, look at some of the sacred owner-occupied housing right here in PTC converting to permanent rental. Low interest rates make it work. The bank will never find out you are renting. Of course higher taxes are the enemy of the landlord, but that's just a small detail.

BTW, both the banks and the federal government are looking into how they convert their foreclosed houses into rentals. Banks want to do this so they don't take the huge loss on a below-market sale; the feds want to be sugar daddy for those displaced by foreclosure (to buy votes). Can you imagine losing your house then renting back from the federal government? That's too dumb for a reality TV show, but it could happen.

Voters in Fayetteville may want to ask Mr. Steele and his opponent (if one emerges) about all this - and don't forget about the bus and rail component. I doubt there has ever been an open, public discussion about this type of expansion for Fayetteville.

PTC is not immune to this. We already got Harmony Village North (thanks Don) and I see more townhomes being built in Lexington Circle. Redevelopment projects like Willowbend, Williams Circle and along Wisdom Road could easily add more rental units. There will probably be somebody like Mike Hyde doing some legally-creative spot rezoning of industrial or commercial land to apartments using one of the loopholes that still exist. And how soon before we see "A Better Way Loft Apartments" in one of the empty industrial buildings?

I really think the thing to do here Mr. Haddix is to be sure Dr. Pennington is brought into any discussions with developers so we don't get blindsided again. Of course if we hire a professional development type, then he or she should be the main contact and point of control. But never an elected official.

Live free or die!

NUK_1's picture


suggarfoot's picture

That has been the plan for a number of years now. The rezoning for quite a bit of it has already taken place. Yes, it is insane to build those homes now, but the developers are frantic and will now go foward anyway. Several large subdivisons are slated right around Rivers Elementary, the one with 30 kids in it. The one that should never have been built as a selling tool for the developers.

With so many homes in Fayette county on the market and no buyers, it will only cause home prices on older homes to go down more. What has happened is that there have been a lot of new homes built in the inter city of Atlanta. People have sold their property there for a profit and are looking to move out. Those are the people they are hoping will move in.

Again, this has been in the works for a couple of years. That is why they were hell bent to finish the west fayette by pass. They had to to open the land up for the developers. Sick isn't it?

hutch866's picture

The developers are going to take all that money that the banks won't loan, and build 5000 houses that no one can buy (because the banks won't loan) and sell them to the people from Atlanta, who sold their homes for a profit, who are dying to move here. I'm with Nuk.... Hahahahahahahahahahahahah

I yam what I yam

suggarfoot's picture

I'm with you on the Ha ha ha...I think it is a VERY stupid idea...but that has been their game plan all along.

That was the reason Rivers, that sits empty except for 30 kids, was built. Built with your tax dollars for future residence. Is there something wrong with that picture? That is why the West bypass is going ahead.

Your tax dollars for developer welfare. That land was rezoned for small lots and has been sitting there waiting for the bypass to be finished.

Crazy as it sounds...that is the deal.

Actually laughed out loud on that one! Thanks

If so, you need a bigger tin foil hat. :)


Its time for you to fade away. You have lost all credibility in PTC.


Let the majority on city council handle the city's business and you focus on ribbon cuttings.

I have one question for the Mayor, do you EVER use the interchange at State Hwy 74 and Interstate 85 during prime time hours? It needs help in a big time way. This improvement will benefit residents of Fayette County/Peachtree City in huge way.

crickets so far. Still chirping...

Don Haddix's picture

I commuted for 20 years to the Airport area. Enough said on that issue.

Your disregarding all the points I made on that issue.

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

And I can tell you for sure, the commute has changed immensely in the last 8 years since I've been here. And it's not for the better.
Like it or not, we are not an island.

Believe it or not, we want much of the same things for our just seems you like go about it in strange ways. Like alienating anyone on the ARC who may could help us.

Your conversation puzzles me in several ways.

I never dreamed that Spyglass would be in favor of the 74/I85 improvement.
To assume the Mayor hasn't been through that Interchange is stretching it.

And as for the Mayor, It depends on where he lived in that 20 years as to the route he took. It wouldn't matter anyway since the real crowding there has occurred in recent years due to the truck and railroad interchanges. And the growth of Fairburn.

Fabricated and foggy questions of half truths are getting to be the norm!

Such as President Obama has turned us in to 15-20 million without jobs and has converted us to Socialism in 2 1/2 years! Also ran up the debt to 18 Trillion and has increased the spending (CONGRESS DID THAT).

Vote the fellow out next year if you have someone better.

Censure was brought about due to your negative and irresponsible comments. Let’s review here:

“ Fayetteville] Mayor [Kenneth] Steele, a devotee of ARC – unnecessary description of Ken Steel. Appropriate term would be advocate. Devotee has negative connotations that demonstrate again your inability to effectively work with local and regional leaders.

“Note the majority seems to do a resolution a year against me, which is interesting” – has no relevance to the topic of the editorial. This is simply another retributive comment, one of several made in the editorial.

“Rest assured, unless there is some major change in thinking, if Ken Steele is reelected, he will go back on ARC due to a three-block vote of Fayetteville, Brooks and Woolsey” – irresponsible comment as it can be interpreted to suggest your advocacy to not re-elect Ken Steel. While you may be of that opinion, this is unprofessional at minimum as the mayor.

“Rumor is already out about a Publix coming to the West Bypass area along with about 5,000, all to be annexed into in Fayetteville”. Key word here is rumor. Egregiously irresponsible for a mayor to be posting or touting rumors.

“ Despite claims it will only relieve existing traffic congestion, when you study the map I believe you will see a development corridor. So, residents along some now peaceful areas, get ready for traffic and development.” - Comment being made is conjecture (unless you also happen to have a degree in Urban Studies among your long list of expertise”) and therefore irresponsible. In this case, you are creating rumors, an offense that justifies recall.

“A golf cart drive to work versus commute to Atlanta. Ten minutes in a car versus an hour or more to just the airport area”. This type of comment demonstrates that fact that you have a poor grasp on the number of people that actually commute towards and beyond Atlanta. You demonstrate your narrow scope and lack of vision. The fact exists that a significant portion of the population works outside of this county for airlines (Hartsfield), banking (Sun Trust, Equifax), auto manufacturers (KIA and Porsche), food and beverage notables (Atlanta Bread, Coca Cola, Arbys, Chic-fil-a, Popeyes), telecommunications (AT&T, Cox Communications), Transportation (UPS), broadcasting (CNN, Turner Broadcasting, the Weather Channel), biopharmaceuticals (Merial, Ciba,) and a few others: Southern Company , Simmons, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Georgia-Pacific, Home Depot. Peachtree City has a per capita income level well above the state norm, a strong indicator of high level corporate jobs that are typically found in major population centers.

Just to correct yet another of your misrepresentations, using these US Census Bureau’s definitions, an Urban County is defined as any county containing a city of greater than 50,000 people or an area that has at least 100,000 people and has a substantial commuting interchange with a city of greater than 50,000 people. As such Fayette County is an urban county as its population is 106,567 according to the 2010 US Census and we are a substantial commuting interchange to metro Atlanta.

I'm sure our fine Mayor will be here soon to refute.


Don Haddix's picture

We don't have a city of 50K or more. You disproved yourself.

As well if you do the numbers of commuters, we do not have what they consider a substantial commuting population.

An economic consultant and instructor for GMA courses stated that as well just last week at a FCDA Economic Conference in Fayetteville.

On the 'rumor', that has been confirmed by others.

Enough said.


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

You're mistaken. 50K in a City OR 100K in a County. What's your pithy comeback to that?

Don Haddix's picture

"And" substantial commuter interchange, not just over 100,000. From traffic counts, including Coweta through Fayette, it was 33,000 total trips per day.

As said, someone who has been teaching and advising this for over 30 said we are not Urban. He did cite your statement source and said we do not meet it.

The greatest traffic relief could come from Palmetto/Tyrone Road and Fischer in Coweta. Get the Coweta traffic out up front and give an interchange that does not promote more development in Fairburn that consumes anything newly built.

I do not oppose getting traffic relief. Just do it where it will actually accomplish the most good. Not only at 74/85, but 54/74 as well with Fischer Road.

Nothing more to add here. You are free to disagree, as always.

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

As someone so aptly pointed out, it is "OR". Amazingly, when that rational failed you, you pull out a recent "expert". So, I am going to call you on this one. Since it was just last week, what is the name of this mysterious expert. I will be more than happy to contact him or her and verify the statements. Let's verify the validity of your arguments.

As always, you miss the point. As a supposed leader, it is inappropriate to be spreading or creating rumors.

Dear Mayor Haddix,
You maybe right. Maybe Fayette give more the pool of money than it gets back. And if that is the only measure then I think you are right about how you see the problem.

But, maybe there is more at stake. Fayette County actually touches Fulton County for many miles along the north side. So even though we love our pastoral past, to think it will remain that way for say 30 years is probably way too optimistic. So If I am bound by geography to my near neighbor, what can I do in infuence and mange growth in the region.

For sure I have say in Fayette, but what can I do outside of Fayette ? Probably ARC, RTC ? What other option are there for regional voice ?
Most likely the fate of Fayette is directly tied to the fate of Atlanta.

So I much prefer a local commute. But over half of Dividend drive light industrial and office space sit vacant and idle. What can be done to bring tenants to these existing buildings.

Why so much noise about transit and so little about making existing resources viable and benefit to the community again.


What can be done to bring tenants and jobs to Dividend Drive? Good question, condition55! As I recall, with much fanfare and awarding of plaques to all involved, Doug Sturdumb announced he had the GA Dept of Community Affairs reclassify the PTC Industrial Park as a Tier I area which would have given much larger tax credits to companies relocating there. As far as I know, not a single company has relocated there since this occurred. I guess Sturdumb, Donnie, Erica, Kimmie, Vanna and PCDA thought all they had to do was get this reclassification and new tenants would come streaming in. Sad to say but none of the current Council Clowns would know anything about economic development or job creation if it hit 'em upside the head. Throw in the current anti-growth and anti-development prevelant at City Hall....well, gee....what self-respecting company would want to relocate here.

add comment under notice that Imker will run again. Am I mistaken or was not one of his key points that he would only run for one term when he was running his campaign? Seems like I remember him saying he felt it only necessary to serve one term? Guess he's like all the others who say one thing and mean another.

post under the article because there is no option to post under the article. Hmmm.

Yes, you are 100% correct-o-mundo!

Just wait, the justifications that will be forthcoming will be so politically correct your head will spin if you think this was a 180 degree turnaround.

something I was missing. I am sure we will be told that he has a great plan for restoring us to our old (or bring us to new) glory--but that is basically what he assured us he could do in one. Again, all show and no go--but I bet there will be an explanation forthcoming. Thanks for your reply.

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