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Wednesday, January 18 2017 @ 01:18 PM EST
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Letter to Editor: 54/54 Intersection

Once again the intersection of Ga. highways 74 and 54 has attracted attention and is in the news.

 

GDOT has proposed what they called a Continuous Flow Intersection to be built in 2020. Why this sudden willingness to work on the intersection?

 

The answer is simple: law requires every 10 years a new Transportation Plan be submitted and approved. The last was in 2010. I was part of that effort in 2008 and 2009.

 

At that time they proposed a split grade intersection with ramps — a disastrous plan that would have destroyed all three shopping centers and not solved the congestion in Peachtree City.

 

We on council voted no and the offers went away until now.

 

The key for GDOT is the federal government pays 80 percent of the costs. That is why GDOT proposed this plan and wants Peachtree City to pay $1 million. That is 20 percent of the $5 million total cost.

 

I call this new proposal the Non-Continuous Continuous Flow Intersection. That is because you have to stop. There’s nothing continuous about it. It adds lanes and two traffic lights. It makes ingress and egress to the shopping centers even harder and more complicated to navigate.

 

Go to donhaddix.com. There you will find an enlarged drawing of the plan that makes all the details much clearer and two animations that demonstrate how this type of intersection

works. Study those and you’ll see reaching your destination gets more difficult, not easier. Figure out exactly how you will get in and out of the shopping areas compared to now.

Notice nothing changes outside the intersection. So all the traffic issues on hwys. 54 and 74 remain the same.

 

Add to that, whenever the lights are retimed, as is currently GDOT’s answer, it gets harder to get on and off of the side streets. That is due to the increase in delay times on the side streets.

 

GDOT has long agreed with me there are no fixes within Peachtree City.

 

GDOT has also said MacDuff will probably make traffic worse, not better, as council claims.

 

GDOT liked my proposal to add ramps to Fischer from I-85 and agreed it would give significant relief by providing northbound traffic from Coweta with an alternative route that does not include Peachtree City.

 

Vanessa Fleisch, Kim Learnard and Eric Imker refused to back it.

 

Then Fleisch, Learnard, Mike King and Terry Ernst wasted around $300,000 on studies and plans that were useless. They refused to heed warnings about what we had learned in 2008 and 2009.

 

This council has acted as if they were the first to take these issues seriously and that they are smarter than anyone else. They claimed GDOT would pay for it all.

 

I said GDOT would not approve or pay for any of it, which has proven to be the case.

 

Just look at what that council did at Line Creek and on MacDuff to understand they have no idea what they’re doing.

 

Imker has also done damage. But that is a topic for another day.

 

With the holidays upon us Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. Wishing you and yours all the best.

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SPLOST... yet Again?

Good news! A brainstorm of the collective elected has come up with an idea. An enticing trap is being crafted to capture the goose that lays the golden eggs, meaning us, the citizens of Fayette County.

 

But wait ... No goose. We, the residents of Fayette County are the answer and the SPLOST is yet another tax increase. About $200 a year on the average household.

They’re looking at the millions they would get to spend and then bragged what a great job they are doing for us. Or to us, depending on how you look at it.

 

In Eric Imker’s letter of 11/23/16 he says, “Council has already saddled us with higher taxes. They are using a million dollars in reserves to balance the budget.”

He wants you to think only in the terms of the current council and forget what he did when he was on the council.

 

From 2010 to 2015 Fleisch, Learnard and Imker voted for every tax, fee and debt increase proposed.

 

During that time their votes increased my property tax bill 32.44 percent while using the reserve to balance the budget. As well as increased the stormwater fee 132 percent and the hotel motel tax 2 percent.

 

In 2016 Fleisch and Learnard’s votes increased my tax bill another 8.2 percent.

 

Fleisch, Leamard and Imker supported the infamous TSPLOST and those backing it.

 

All three supported the failed 2010 county SPLOST. Then pushed for a SPLOST when I was mayor, but the county said no. Now they support a six year SPLOST.

 

Imker says, “If the SPLOST fails, one council member has already talked about increasing the millage rate three mills.” A very interesting statement since he tried the same scare tactic to get a new SPLOST passed before.

 

It does not matter to any of them that this is actually a double taxation proposal, yet again, which is against state law.

 

The county portion of the tax is supposed to benefit the whole county. Yet, Peachtree City and Fayetteville would have to pay the stormwater portion from which they get no benefit. That is because both cities already have stormwater and stormwater fees.

 

Imker also said, “Seven years ago, when the economy tanked, we went into survival mode for maintaining city services, especially road and cart path maintenance and landscaping services. The 2010 SPLOST had just failed. The previous council failed to plan for that. Taxes were increased by 1.25 mills not only because the SPLOST failed, but also because the next council had to deal with over $20 million in unfunded requirements. Here we are again with no plan other than raising taxes.

 

I was a councilman on that previous council. That SPLOST was mainly for debt relief. When you pay off debt that eliminates the annual debt maintenance cost. That helps keep taxes lower.

 

Unlike Imker, Fleisch and Learnard, the prior council understood the answer to everything is not tax, fee and and debt increases. Sometimes the answer is to cut spending.

 

My proposals, that were passed, cut over a $1 million a year while improving services. Other proposals cut even more without hurting services.

 

Fact is staff had proposed outsourcing mowing. I had proposed replacing annual flower plantings with perennials. Also elimination of the sprinkler truck to water the flowers.

Those changes reduced spending by another $860,000 without hurting services.

 

In a survey done while I was mayor the citizens had no problem with the appearance of the city or landscaping services. There was no landscaping service crisis.

 

The council under Mayor Fleisch wanted to go back to the old ways. They did some rehiring, planting flowers, etc. Including $250,000 per year to mow in January and February. Yes, Imker was on that council.

 

Recreation became the new priority. Maintenance of streets and paths dropped to zero or near zero. At the same time, spending on Recreation went up millions.

 

Remember how tournaments were going to be our salvation? Remember how I warned it would not work. Which it didn’t. It just cost a lot of money. The only thing that works is bringing good paying jobs here, something they have no interest in.

 

Yet, at the same time, Imker proposed building new paths and crossings wanted by his friends.

 

Further, he says, “I hope the SPLOST passes. Further, I hope council has the good sense to then reduce the city’s millage rate by at least one mill. I’ve been advocating this approach for over a year. The net impact for the average citizen of a one-cent sales tax and a one-mill reduction in property tax would be nearly zero.”

 

The impact would be nearly zero? Really? A mill is nowhere near the $200 year tax increase of the SPLOST. So this is a totally false claim.

 

No talk about cutting spending. He ignores the fact that his approach demands a SPLOST in perpetuity.

 

This resembles his five-year plan of 2010 that was going to balance the budget and reduce taxes. A plan that was a total failure. As well he says, “Further, this would tell businesses they could trust that the city’s economic environment was managed by a competent council and staff. This would be essential in drawing new businesses to PTC. This too is huge.”

 

Business does not like ever increasing taxes. As well, Peachtree City is ranked the least tax friendly Class B city in Georgia.

 

Retail is not the answer to economic problems. Simply redistributing market share among more store fronts actually cost the city more in infrastructure and services. We need good-paying jobs. We need to expand the tax base, not take more money from it.'

 

For jobs, you need an effective development authority. We do not have one. By law, city staff and elected [officials] cannot do it. It is illegal for them to even try. They do not have the needed resources.'

 

Imker and the other two have never cared about that reality. They just dismiss it because they love power.

 

Imker is not the budget genius he thinks he is, or that Fleisch and Learnard have proclaimed him to be in the past.

 

It is time to stop listening to the fairy tales being presented by these three. It is time to start living within our means. To realize we cannot always have everything we want. To stop believing lies.

 

Yes, we can do cost cutting:

• Eliminate the January and February mowing. Right there is $250,000.

• Stop pretending recreation is a miracle solution. It isn’t.

• Stop paying for recreation for non-Peachtree City residents. It is a known fact parks and community and family activities are what are most wanted.

 

To continue as we are doing means allowing government to dictate more and more of what we want and need. Please understand, as well, cart paths are not paid for as part of recreation. They are part of public works.

 

We need change or be prepared to keep writing bigger and bigger checks for what we don’t want or need. Change that has to begin with who is elected to Council.

Please visit donhaddix.com

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Chamber Supports New SPLOST

The Fayette Chamber of Commerce was a sponsor for the Untie Atlanta effort to pass the TSPLOST.  They supported the 2010 SPLOST.  They support bringing mass transit to Fayette.  They support low cost housing in Fayette.  They support building more retail in Fayette.  They support a performing arts center. They support Pinewood Forest.  Plus more that is not wanted in Fayette.

 

The simple reality is they support what benefits them.  The citizens of Fayette really don't count.

 

I oppose the SPLOST.  It is, in fact, about a $200 per year tax increase on the average household.

 

It is double taxation.  By that I mean if passed Peachtree City and Fayetteville will be paying toward County Stormwater, which they do not do now, while still paying their own City Stormwater Fee.  The cost being about $200 per year for the average household  for the SPLOST alone.
 

Are your elected officials supporting this?  I know the ones in Peachtree City are, as is mayoral candidate Eric Imker.

 

The Citizen

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Forum Added

Respond to articles, add your own, discuss issues, etc.

FORUM
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The Citizen: 2020 54/74 Reconstrucion

 

Peachtree City's Hwys. 54-74 intersection to be reconstructed in 2020

 

 

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Enhanced 54/74 Drawing

drawing
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Non-Continuous Flow Video 1

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Non-Continuous Flow Video 2

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Plans for 54 and 74

The proposals regarding changes to 54 and 74 are extreme, harmful and a huge impact to Peachtree City. Businesses at The Avenue, Marketplace or Westpark should be very concerned.

 

It is obvious that Council either does not understand what they are pushing or does not care. None of this originated from GDOT, who does some approvals only because a City wants it and for no other reason. Pond, a long time used by Peachtree City engineering company, obviously was not given instructions to see if they could find a real solution. As I saw while at City Hall, they were told to find some proposal and present it.

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Chaos on 54

UPDATED 8-8-2015

 

For those who have not seen what Council is planning and pursuing on 54 in Wilkesmoor, it is within this article.

 

When I talked to GDOT about adding ramps to 85 from Fischer Road, they liked it. They said it was a project they would dig into deeper after finishing the 74/85 intersection. That it would pull Coweta commuter traffic to Atlanta out of PTC.

 

Learnard, Fleisch and Imker would not get behind it. They even tried to say Coweta didn't want it so it would not happen.

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Information on MacDuff Parkway

I am seeing some confusion on the MacDuff Extension. There are some who do not understand how it will connect to 74, what is meant by traffic calming devices, etc.

 

Having had dealings with the development in 2008 and 2009, on Council, after it being annexed by another Council in 2007, I am familiar.

 

So, here is some material to either clear things up or add to the confusion.

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MacDuff Area: History of Mishandling

In discussing the MacDuff area  today, we need to begin with a hard look at history of the big proposals in the West Village. One after the other have been seriously mishandled.
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Line Creek History - 2008 thru Now

With new people unaware of the history, reinvention by some with an agenda and other factors, a brief history of what has transpired at the Line Creek site is in order.
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$70,000.00 Traffic Study

When this issue came up while I was Mayor, I opposed it. The engineering studies made in 2008 and 2009 plus the rejection of most options for the 74/54 intersection were proofs given for the waste of time and money this would be.

 

Well, Mayor Fleisch and Councimember Learnard continued to push for the study and was joined by Councilmember Ernst.