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Plenty of Work Ahead for City Council

The mayor and six council members face a myriad of details and decisions in the coming weeks.

It was down to business for the Peachtree Corners City Council at Tuesday night's Special Called Work Session as they hammered out details on getting the new city up and running.

On the agenda was discussion of renting office space for the city hall, discussions on banking institutions that will handle the city's accounts, billing and collection of ad valorem taxes, organizational structure of the city and setting up a call center to respond to residents' queries.

The meeting, held at the , began at 7:30 p.m. and didn't adjourn until 9:45 p.m. All council members were present with the exception of Phil Sadd (Post 1) who was out of town on business.

"We're going to beat this to death till we get it right," said Mayor Mason at the end of the evening. "It all comes down to how best to serve the citizens of Peachtree Corners."

The city's consultant John McDonough reported back on his findings on available office space to lease to serve as temporary facilities for city hall.

"Believe it or not, there's not a lot of space available in the 4,000 to 8,000 square-foot range," (which is what is projected the city would need) said McDonough. "It's a tight market for smaller space right now."

The city is looking at Class B+ space in the $11 - $19 per square foot price range.

In an agreement worked out with Gwinnett County, the tax commissioner has agreed to handle the tax billing and collection for the city. Property owners will not receive a separate bill from the city, rather there will be an additional line on their county tax bill indicating the amount of the city taxes. Tax bills will be mailed on August 15 and due on October 15.

The City Council also heard reports on the process of estimating revenue and planning for unexpected expenses. A draft expenditure presented included a projected $2,869,225 would be needed annually. The figure included a dedicated reserve amount of $500,000.

Discussion included how many staff members would be needed. Consultant John Kashmar recommended a city manager, city clerk, accounting manager, an administrative assistant and a planning & zoning manager who would oversee the contract workers hired by the city.

Kashmar suggested getting a planning and zoning person in place as soon as possible.

Last on the agenda was a discussion on setting up a call center to handle questions for the city's citizens. The cost would be determined, said Kashmar, by "what level of service do you want to provide for your city."

The City Council meets again next Tuesday. Unless notified otherwise, the meetings will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the .

Peachtree Corners Patch will announce the agenda for the May 29th meeting as soon as it's available.

Ali Stinson May 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM
I am deeply concerned that the current recommended budget is $2.8 million. During the city hood campaign a lot of focus was given to the Carl Vinson Fiscal Study that projected the expenses at $761,000. This proposed budget is nearly 4 times that amount and chews up nearly all the revenue anticipated in the study. You can read the Peachtree Corners Ballot Committee's take on it at http://peachtreecornersfacts.blogspot.com/2012/05/may-22-city-council-meeting-bait-and.html
Mim Harris May 25, 2012 at 11:15 AM
That budget is so far off from what was told to the citizens before the vote...its appalling. To those pushing the Yes vote on the Patch saying we could run the city on the "fees" alone with no tax increase....what do you have to say now? We will need to start at the 1 mil tax rate to keep within the consultants budget. This is just plain wrong.
Bob May 25, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Seems like an awful lot of money to be rubber stamping Gwinnett county zoning and codes for our area. But I guess there were enough people that were upset over the whole trash ordeal with the county that they felt like we needed to incorporate to gain control over our trash haulers.
Mary Beth May 25, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Where can we see a detailed list of the $2.9 million annual estimated expenditures?
Judy May 25, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Agreed with all previous comments. I am also a little baffled as to why this article has left out several major items that were discussed at this council meeting - items that were published in the AJC and the PCBC. Items such as raising the taxes to the limit right off the bat. Such as the only council member questioning the proposed budgets four-fold increase from the Vinson study was Mr. wright. Such as when the 3 public meetings are held to discuss the tax increase as required by the charter, the council members do not have to attend personally to answer questions by the voters but rather they can send a representative to do that. WHAT? I am so utterly appalled. This is frankly what I expected, having been a No supporter all along. What say you, all you Yes people and the rest of the city council and mayor, since several of your campaign promises were no raising of taxes & keeping an operating budget low??? I'm also disappointed in The Patch for what appears to be an incomplete assessment of the council meeting.
Mary May 28, 2012 at 09:18 PM
A "call center"? For three services? Wouldn't questions about refuse collection still go to the vendor? How many planning and zoning questions can there be? And would not the "planning and zoning manager" have a telephone with voicemail? So now the "two" full time positions are five? "What level of service do you want to provide..." has a nice (sales) ring to it.... but no one voting for "city lite" expected calls answered in a nano-second. Come on city council.... JUST THREE SERVICES.... that was the plan. That was your promise. Come on Mr. Wright, make some noise!
Mary May 29, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Thanks for your more complete summary of the meeting. Very telling.
Ali Stinson May 29, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Please come to tonight's meeting. 7:30 at the YMCA to voice your concerns. There is a time for public comment at the beginning of the meeting. Thanks to everyone staying tuned in to what is happening with our new city.

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