The nation’s top three bond rating agencies each gave Cobb County Government its top “Triple A” rating for the 18th consecutive year. The firms, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, cited the county’s financial health in the renewals that place Cobb County among the top communities in the nation. For example, Moody’s report said the rating was “based on the county’s sizeable and diverse economic and employment base, a sound financial position supported by conservative fiscal management and satisfactory fund balance levels and a low debt burden.”
Cobb County leaders hosted a delegation from South Korea for almost a week in November. Cobb County and Seongdong-Gu, a district in Seoul, have had a sister-city relationship since 2007. Seongdong-Gu is one of the 25 “gu,” or districts, which make up the city of Seoul, South Korea. The delegation toured various sites around Cobb, including Kennesaw State University, Marietta High School and Dobbins Air Reserve Base. County and Korean officials also discussed the economic benefits of the relationship.
Dignitaries from throughout the region, including Braves legend Hank Aaron, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, Major League Baseball officials and the governor, participated in the September groundbreaking ceremony at the SunTrust Park future stadium site in the Cumberland area. The stadium is scheduled to open to fans at the start of the 2017 baseball season. The Board of Commissioners approved a 30-year agreement in 2013 that will help build the $672 million stadium.
At least $322 million of the stadium project will be paid for by the Atlanta Braves, which will also invest an additional $400 million for an entertainment district on the 60-acre site. This will include retail, restaurants and other development projects on the location at the intersection of Interstates 285 and 75. Local costs will draw from various sources including payments by private businesses within a special district around the project, the motel/hotel tax and existing county revenues.
Special Service Districts
The County Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Tax Assessor’s Office, Finance and Community Development Agency developed two financing mechanisms to assist in funding the development of an access to SunTrust Park. The effort was a complex undertaking, supported by the property owners impacted by the new district. The results of this public investment will provide improved services and infrastructure to support the economic expansion of one of our business centers of the county.
The same partnership assisted the Board of Commissioners and South Cobb Redevelopment Authority in creating a financing mechanism that supports redevelopment, additional services and infrastructure in the Six Flags area. The effort was supported by residents, businesses, and property owners who will benefit from improved safety and quality of life.
Enterprise Zone Program
In 2014, the Community Development Agency in partnership with the County Attorney’s Office, created three new enterprise zones and expanded one enterprise zone. An enterprise zone is an economic development tool used to create new jobs and encourage development in areas that are underinvested. The new enterprise zones include a partnership with the City of Smyrna called the Smyrna-Osborne Enterprise Zone, a partnership with the cities of Austell and Powder Springs called the Austell-Powder Springs Enterprise Zone and the Terrell Mill Enterprise Zone.
The Canton Road Enterprise Zone was slightly expanded to include a new area that met the criteria needed to receive this economic development incentive. In 2014, four businesses requested the enterprise zone incentive which will create more than 176 new jobs and more than $30 million in new private investment.
Northwest Cobb Land Vulnerability
The Northwest Cobb Land Vulnerability Analysis is a policy initiative involving land use, transportation, water, and public health. The purpose of this initiative is to look at the growth challenges of this area, understand how these concerns impact land use and finally evaluate the current growth strategy to ensure it is adequate due to a number of changing conditions. Northwest Cobb is an area with some of the lowest intensity land uses in all of Cobb County largely due to Lake Allatoona, which is one of the region’s major drinking water resources. The plan developed land use changes and environmental recommendations that balanced the need for economic development with the protection of Lake Allatoona and its tributaries.
Business License Technology Integration
In 2014, the Business License Division implemented new internal procedures that will speed up and partially automate the processing of occupational taxes, which will benefit for business customers in the county. This includes the purchase of an Opex high speed scanner and accompanying image capture software that in tandem will expedite our payment processing.