Mark Gelhardt moved to Peachtree City in 1999 after 22 years in the US Army, which included a stint in the Clinton White House. Describing himself as “a Republican with conservative values,” Gelhardt also served as a volunteer firefighter in Peachtree City for 10 years and is a member of Post 50 The American Legion and Post 9949 Veterans of Foreign Wars.
In his first run for local political office, Gelhardt responded to questions from the Citizen with this comment: “NOTE: I find many of the questions posed by the Citizen Newspaper to be leading and biased questions. However, I have tried my best to respond with as direct an answer as possible. I’m more than happy to explain my answers to all of these questions in detail if anyone reading these short answers wants more information from me. Contact me at MarkDGelhardt@gmail.com or check out my website at www.gelhardt.org.
Below are The Citizen’s questions and the candidate’s answers after each question.
QUESTION 1: This year, the city council refused to reduce the mileage rate for city property taxes, even though we are experiencing the worst inflation in 40 years. The resulting surplus will be 50% of annual expenditure instead of the required 31%. Do you agree with their vote? Why or why not?
ANSWER: Yes, I agree with keeping the mileage rate fixed for the time being. Nobody knows where the economy is going and nobody knows if the SPOLT will be voted on again. The city must think strategically in the long term. Like the citizens, the city will also have to deal with inflation; inflation in all our contracts, and in everything they have to do, the city will need funds to deal with inflation.
QUESTION 2: The previous city council voted to scrap a popular, decades-long moratorium on building more multi-family housing, despite the fact that – without rezoning – the city is considered by many to be “built up”. State your position on the council eliminating the moratorium and explain your position on building more multi-family housing. Specifically, will you vote to build multi-storey apartments in the city? Why or why not?
ANSWER: I am not in favor of building multi-storey apartments in the city.
QUESTION 3: City Council voted to have land zoned commercial, industrial and office/institutional rezoned to residential zoning. Do you agree with this strategy? Why or why not?
ANSWER: I am not in favor of changing the commercial zoning to residential. We need commercial areas to help the city with its tax base, because industry pays higher taxes than residences.
QUESTION 4: A majority of city council recently approved changes to the overall city plan that would give developers an avenue to build more multi-family housing in mixed-use and self-contained formats across the city. Do you agree with the changes to the overall plan allowing for more multi-family housing and why? If you disagree, would you vote to remove recent changes to the overall plan? Why or why not?
ANSWER: The “Master Plan” of the city is only a strategic guide for the city. This document is not a law, it does not change the ordinances, it does not change the zoning. If necessary, the City may modify this strategic guide at any time. Any plan or strategy guide will change over time, as will, I’m sure, our city map.
QUESTION 5: Many residents have spoken out against the concept of “mixed-use” developments – defined as multi-story buildings with retail on the ground floor and multi-family dwellings or condos on buildings on the second and even lower floors. third floor. Would you vote for this concept? Why or why not?
ANSWER: I am not in favor of “mixed” development for PTC. Peachtree City was not built and envisioned to be a mixed-use development, that’s not who we are as a city. Our village concept has served this city well and is why many people have moved here.
QUESTION 6: Do you foresee the need to build new government facilities in the city? If so, what would you like to see built, and explain how you would fund construction and annual maintenance and operations?
ANSWER: Yes there is a need for new municipal facilities – the fire department has discussed needs for a station south of town (former animal sanctuary) and possibly a station west of the town (off MacDuff Pkwy). These two stations have been discussed to provide prompt service to our citizens in these areas of the city. Funds have already been set aside for future years for the fire department. As a life member of the fire department, I understand the need to respond within certain timeframes to maintain our ISO 1 rating and reduce tax rates for our citizens.
QUESTION 7: Will you support annexations to increase the size of the city? Why or why not?
ANSWER: Annexation should not be used by the city just to expand the city. However, annexation is a necessary tool to use when needed, to help the city solve problems. I am open-minded about any annexation request and will deal with each request on a case-by-case basis.
QUESTION 8: The city council has been criticized for restricting citizen comment at public council meetings, both the limited time given to each speaker (half under 55 seconds per speaker) and the limited number of people allowed to speak. The council divided the 20 minutes allotted by the number of speakers, rather than extending the 20-minute limit. Where exactly are you in terms of allowing citizens who make the effort to attend a public meeting to be able to comment? Would you vote to extend the speaking time for the audience rather than reducing each speaker’s time to meet the limit? Why or why not?
ANSWER: No, I would not vote to extend citizen comment time beyond 20 minutes at the scheduled city council meeting. A scheduled council meeting has specific items that must be discussed and accomplished during the time of the meeting. Citizen input is very important and essential for the city council to do its job, the problem is that most issues are complex, written comments with suggestions before the council meeting is a much better way to deal with complex issues . I look forward to receiving information prior to the city council meeting, via email, letter or petition, outlining the issues and proposed solutions.
QUESTION 9: Have you read the Peachtree City charter and ordinances? Why or why not?
ANSWER: Yes, I have reviewed the city’s information, but I am by no means an expert on all city ordinances. However, I know where to go for information when needed.
QUESTION 10: Have you read the Georgia Open Records Act and the Georgia Open Meetings Act? Why or why not?
ANSWER: Yes, I am very compliant with Georgia Open Records & Open Meeting laws. I have held national and state positions in both my military roles including the White House for over four years and my civilian career in banking which has many information regulations. I have had to deal with these kinds of laws and regulations throughout my professional career.
QUESTION 11: Do you have any comments on your positions on the issues facing the city?
ANSWER: Comments on other items in the city/issues/my platform can be found on my website https://www.gelhardt.org/the-to-do-list-for-ptc-my-position/
Mark D. Gelhardt, Sr.
Candidate for Office #3, PTC City Council