In 2013, the Cobb County Board of Tax Assessors launched a new and improved Web site. This site features enhanced search capabilities which allow users to review groups of properties according to selected criteria. Additionally, this data can now be exported for use in an EXCEL file. Other new features include enhanced mapping tools, appeal tracking and building permit data. You can find it here. http://www.cobbassessor.org/
Cobb Senior Services continued to provide the region’s premier senior and active adult programs. Volunteers donated more than 21,323 hours, including approximately 64,700 miles driven throughout the county. The dollar equivalent, based upon the independent sector’s most current value of volunteer time, is $472,091. The mileage value based upon county reimbursement is $32,319, for a grand total of $504,410 in volunteer hours and unreimbursed miles -- an increase of $46,058 of donated dollars from the year before.
Workout Central, the fitness component of the Senior Wellness Center hosted 4,909 participants. There were 28,027 other unique visits to the Senior Wellness Center to attend cooking classes in the teaching kitchen, art studio offerings, health and wellness education, walking club and civic meetings as well as other aging service professional events.
Approximately 38,500 meals were delivered to homebound clients through the Cobb County Meals on Wheels program, while 20,000 meals were delivered to neighborhood centers and an additional 4,250 meals were served through Cobb Café to seniors and employees.
The social services staff of Cobb County Senior Services alone served more than a thousand seniors here during the last year, helping those who spent their lives building our community.
· Care Transitions program helps keep seniors from quickly returning to the hospital and provided 116 seniors with 1,624 meals; 19 clients with 90 hours of homemaker service; and 18 clients with 58 one-way trips.
· Commodities (food box) program provided 310 boxes of food to low income seniors.
· Share The Care assisted 51 caregivers of Alzheimer’s or related dementia with financial assistance with respite in home, respite out-of-home, material aide for a total of 2,398.25 hours.
· In home services voucher program provided assistance to 106 seniors with personal care and homemaker services for a total of 4,217.25 hours.
· Information and assistance provided assistance to 3,560 callers seeking information or services.
· Cobb Freedom Transportation program provided 3,267 trip vouchers to 187 clients.
The Cobb County Public Library System launched a special public awareness campaigned called, “Discover the Possibilities @ Your Libraries.” The campaign brought greater public awareness of the library system’s resources and services. Whether residents visited a library or visited the library’s Web site, they learned more about the richness and value of a library in the community. More than 11,000 people connected to the “Discover the Possibilities “and shared how their libraries helped them discover new experiences and skills.
Library system staff conducted classes on digital devices, online databases and computers at public events, schools, county departments/organizations and throughout the library system. This resulted in an increase in use of Cobb libraries and the system’s Web site. More than 1,700 participated in virtual instruction and more than 250 took advantage of in-person instruction. This new strategic learning initiative for citizens and staff increased the usage of digital resources and library materials and services.
Working with other county departments opened possibilities for the library system to connect to more residents. Cobb County’s TV 23 assists the library system with “The Library Show,” a new show instituted during the library awareness campaign. The show features interviews with representatives from local organizations such as Kennesaw State University Museum of History and Holocaust Education. Representatives from Zoo Atlanta, Cobb Public Safety and Center for Puppetry Arts visited “The Library Show” to share information.
Community support helped the library system’s Summer Reading Program be a huge success. More than 12,413 children registered to participate in the annual Summer Reading Program. Thanks to the Cobb Library Foundation, each child who completed the reading program received a paperback book. Once again, Cobb EMC donated an iPad as the summer reading grand prize. The Bernice B. Franklin Foundation donated Kindles for prize drawings. Coupons for free pizza were given by Pizza Hut and Stevi B’s Pizza. Support for children’s programs provides opportunities for children to discover the world of possibilities.
Thanks to the many people who purchased used books, DVDs and videos, the library system raised more than $75,996 in 2013. The ongoing sales held in each library brought in $25,083. Proceeds go toward the purchase of books for the library system. The Cobb Library Foundation donated $25,000 for the purchase of books and e-books. The continued support from the foundation and individuals helps the library system to better serve the community.
In 2013, the Cobb County 4-H staff, through Cooperative Extension, taught an agriscience curriculum which consists of nine lessons that relate to earth and life sciences. The following lessons were taught to enhance the 5th grade curriculum: Georgia Barrier Islands, Electricity and Magnetism, Plant Classification, Micro-organisms, Marine Life, Mold, Clean Water, Nutrition and Inherited Plant Traits. Right before the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, students reviewed what they learned by playing the “Jeopardy” game covering all nine topics. More than 16,000 students were taught through this in-class opportunity.
Cobb County 4-H offers a variety of out-of-classroom experiences for youth. In addition to special events, Cobb 4-H programming included leadership development, public speaking and community service. One of the major opportunities through 4-H has always been developing public speaking skills. Project Achievement is a competition where 4-Hers choose a topic of interest, research that subject and then create a visual and oral presentation. During the months of November, December and January, 4-H staff visit schools one afternoon per month to help 4-Hers select a project topic of interest, develop the speech and design accompanying posters.
Urban Agriculture is the component of the Cobb County Cooperative Extension that provides information and education to the public and professionals on horticulture and natural resources. There is a current surge in home gardening in urban areas. The university based information and classes are helping many first time gardeners realize their goals of safe food production. In 2013, our county submitted 1,746 soil tests for analysis. These tests provided valuable information on amending the soil for planting. Our staff answered questions or helped diagnose disease and other problems for approximately 3,000 residents and professionals.
Cobb Extension also plays an integral role in training for recertification credits to pesticide license holders and certified arborists to enable them to maintain state mandated certifications. Horticulture staff presents three annual trainings for certifications pertinent to their license. Cobb Extension also offers training for recertification credits on an individual basis. Its Green Industry Update provided pesticide recertification credits for 112 individuals. Training and certifying pesticide applicators protects the public and the environment. In 2013, the department was able to qualify for ISA credits issued upon completion of the Green Industry Update.
Cobb County master gardeners are residents of our community who have received research based horticultural training from the University of Georgia through the Cobb County Cooperative Extension Service. In return for this training, they provide educational opportunities to Cobb County residents including delivering sound horticultural practices and techniques in accordance with the recommendations and research of the University of Georgia. Master gardeners made in excess of 18,500 contacts throughout Cobb County donating more than 17,000 volunteer hours. The total value of volunteer services rendered by these individuals reached $322,000.
Walk Georgia is an 8-12 week program offered by the Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences department designed to increase physical activity among residents. Regular physical activity is important for the physical, mental and economic health of our communities. The spring Walk Georgia program had 286 participants enrolled in Cobb County. The fall Walk Georgia program increased to more than 600 participants. In 2013, the University of Georgia received a $1 million grant from The Coca-Cola Company to enhance the Walk Georgia program. This grant will allow the University of Georgia to expand the program in 2014 through personnel and availability, which will enhance individual county participation and effectiveness through the local Cooperative Extension office.
Cobb Cooperative Extension has partnered with Cobb2020 and the Cobb County School District in offering an opportunity for students and teachers to enroll in the Walk Georgia program through Walk Cobb. This is a collaborative effort to increase a healthy lifestyle within our community.
There are more than 1,800 restaurants in Cobb County. One trained food service worker impacts the meals of thousands of customers each day. In response to the need to provide training to food service management personnel in the area of food safety, Cobb Extension, in Collaboration with Cobb & Douglas Public Health Center for Environmental Health, offered three 16-hour Food Safety Certification Training sessions with more than 120 food service professionals attending ServSafe trainings.
Property Management Department formed a committee to study downtown Marietta parking as well as access. The first phase concentrated on way-finding signage throughout the downtown streets directing vehicles to available parking, signage within the decks advising when parking spaces are available on differing times and days of the week, as well as implementing the acceptance of credit and debit cards.
Hurt Road Park’s restroom building was demolished and reconstructed to strict Americans with Disabilities Act standards utilizing Community Development Block Grant funding
Various renovations and work took place for county buildings this past year. East Cobb Tag Office was renovated to provide better customer service while the Tax Commissioner’s Office gained an improved lobby service area. Property Management completed Probate Court phase one renovation for increased security and safety. Cobb County also received the LEED certification for the Austell Senior Center.
The Purchasing Department expanded the “Keep it in Cobb” program by offering five “How to do Business with Cobb County” business seminars. A seminar was held in each county district with excellent participation by local vendors. Approximately 55 vendors were in attendance at each seminar. The final seminar for 2013, held in October, was offered in partnership with the Cobb County School District and was well received by the vendor community.
In January, the Purchasing Department initiated a bid analysis program to provide a comparison of bid prices and to demonstrate the positive results of competitive bidding. As a result of the cooperatives efforts of county staff and the Purchasing Department in promoting competitive bidding practices, more than $2 million in savings was achieved in 2013.
Fleet Management received several recognitions this year from 100 Best Fleet’s in North America and ranked 13th Green Fleet in North America. These awards are symbols of the commitment to providing cost efficient services, using industry best practices. Cobb Fleet is committed to environmental responsibility and stewardship by implementing innovative green ideas such as: the use of biodiesel, burning waste oil for heat, purchasing electric vehicles and the reduction of the county’s carbon footprint through effective management of the county’s vehicle fleet.
Fleet Management installed a new vehicle lift and tire machine for the car shop. The installation of the new equipment increased productivity in the shop by 5 percent. This increase in efficiency and productivity has made a positive impact on the department and our customers to allow for a 45 minute preventative maintenance turnaround time. This reduced down time allow our public safety customers to spend less time in the shop and more time keeping our residents safe.