Peachtree City has declined to sign a “reciprocal recognition agreement” with the county, similar to the one they already have with Tyrone, that would allow mutual recognition of golf cart permits. The decision could impact Peachtree City residents who want to use their carts on county paths.
County Commission Chairman Steve Brown said in an e-mail last week that, from the county’s perspective, “we are a bit discouraged regarding their reply.”
Peachtree City Manager Jim Pennington sent a letter to the county on Aug. 27 stating Peachtree City’s preference to not amend its golf cart ordinance to include reciprocal recognition of golf cart registrations.
Pennington largely cited revenue of around $50,000 annually that the city gets currently from residents living in the unincorporated county that pay a $60 fee to use Peachtree City cart paths.
Peachtree City Public Information Officer Betsy Tyler told Fayette County News last week that the city has 961 golf carts registered to owners outside city limits, and nearly all of those live in unincorporated Fayette County. She said 140 of those are not up to date on fee payments. If the reciprocal recognition agreement were made, she said, the city would stand to lose between $47,400 (if those 140 do not pay) and $55,800 (if all 961 paid.)
Brown said “a lot of golf cart owners in Peachtree City” will now have to pay the same amount, $60 a year, to use county paths. He noted this will especially have an impact if the plan to allow golf cart access to the Starr’s Mill school complex are realized.
“I really wish Peachtree City would reconsider on that and we could build some collaboration on that issue, because so many of their students do go to the school complex,” Brown said Tuesday. “This is the first full blown exercise where we’re going to see a lot of Peachtree City residents in their carts coming into the county.”
Brown said in his e-mail that Peachtree City already has a reciprocal recognition agreement with Tyrone, “so we are wondering why they would not do one with the county.”
The explanation from Peachtree City seemed to address this clearly, with Pennington citing the potential lost revenue as the primary issue.
In an interview last week, Pennington said the city was not included in the county’s plans for amended golf cart ordinances and that path maintenance is already a budget concern without factoring in possible lost revenue.
“We’ve had enough concerns over our own budget to maintain our cart paths,” Pennington said. “The city was not involved in the discussions about reciprocity. It may come up again later but at this point in time the council indicated no.”
Brown said there will continue to be expansions to the path infrastructure around the county and he would like to see the municipalities share an attitude of “if everybody else succeeds around us we’ll all succeed.”
Pennington said in an interview last week that Peachtree City had much more experience managing cart paths than the county.
“We’ve been doing cart paths for many years here, probably since the beginning of Peachtree City. Fayette County is just beginning to do it,” Pennington said. “We have a very standard procedure, we have hundreds of miles of golf cart paths and we have to maintain it.”