Eric Imker is a retired Air Force officer (1994) and former Peachtree City Council Member (2009-2015) who has advance degrees in Program Management and Computer Systems with professional expertise in Systems Engineering, Government and Business Contracting, and Budgeting and Personnel Management.

Ed. Note: This is the continuing series of articles about Peachtree City issues. For part one, pick up the Jan. 2 issue.

Did we really pay $234,000 for the open-air pavilion at Drake Field? The pavilion is a good addition to the amenities there, but not at that cost. It’s a 1,200-square foot cement pad with a roof over it. The cost of the cement pad cost would generously be $15,000. The support poles holding the roof, $5,000. The metal roof, $30,000. There were no issues with landscaping as it was a flat field with easy access.

This project should have cost us $50,000. Given the self-inflicted regulations of our government, we could easily double the cost for an even $100,000. Even that is outrageous. Ask any council member who voted for this if they would pay $100,000 to have this put in their own back yard. Of course they wouldn’t. So why was it OK to pay $234,000? Answer: Because it was not their money. Heck, it’s someone else’s money – our tax money. Sometimes, it seems nobody cares.

Why will we pay $250,000 for a simple splash pad at Glenloch Park? This is not rocket science or cutting-edge construction. Put some pipes in the ground. Add a pump and a cement pad with drainage and you’re done. Someone has got to be kidding if they think this is a quarter million dollar job!

Meanwhile, the pool “renovation” at Glenloch is going to cost us another $217,000. For this they could repurpose it with a zero entry pool enhancement. Newnan has a pool in Lynch Park. It is wildly successful as a zero entry pool. Why can we not learn from other successful ventures?

Next up is the $30,000 blackmail payout carefully buried as a Consent Agenda item at the November 15, 2018 city council meeting as “Consider Settlement of Claims …” Apparently our police department was sued for a particular encounter with one of our local residents.

Peachtree City has insurance for lawsuits like this, through the Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency (GIRMA). GIRMA lawyers were confident the city would win the case. The problem is we have a deductible to pay before GIRMA pays, regardless if we win or lose. Apparently it was determined it was better to pay the blackmail rather than fight the case.

All this does is encourage future blackmail attempts. We’ve had previous blackmail attempts against the city but we didn’t cave in. We fought back. This is how to discourage frivolous law suits.

We don’t know – and will likely never know – the truth about this incident because this $30,000 blackmail payout was done as a consent agenda item with no, zero, nada discussion or debate in front of the public. A 5-0 vote, and it was done. It took maybe 15 seconds to read the single line on the agenda and to say, Yea. Of course there was discussion in private and in executive sessions over several months, but we, the citizens, had our tax dollars spent without any information provided to us. Open government at its finest? Does anyone care?