Board of Commissioners
Cobb Commission Chairman
It’s always a challenge to maintain one’s position at the front of the pack, but Cobb County continues to lead in multiple ways.
The nation’s top three bond rating agencies each continue to recognize our excellence with “Triple A” designations. These ratings place us in the top 1 percent of counties nationwide, reflecting our careful financial planning and solid conservative values for 18 years running.
Our work with the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit EDGE program has contributed to the continued growth of our economy and the addition of jobs. For example, EDGE efforts have included a Business Retention Expansion program, a national public relations campaign and the creation of industry councils to focus on retention and development of talent. During just two years of existence, EDGE has already exceeded its five year goal of creating 7,500 new jobs.
Residents demonstrated their faith in Cobb County this past year with voter approval of the 2016 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program. The coming year will see the closure of the 2011 SPLOST, which has produced more than $348 million put to use for transportation, facilities, PARKS and public safety improvements.
Meanwhile, we broke ground on the new SunTrust Park stadium, which will result in a new home for the Atlanta Braves by spring of 2017. Renderings unveiled in 2014 showed the beauty of the future park as well as the site’s mixed-used entertainment district. We are working with the Braves to ensure the public has adequate parking, easy access and proper safety at the park.
These efforts are all made possible through the work of Cobb County’s outstanding employees who implement our policies and make certain our services to the public remain the best.
Our high caliber employees and laser focus on planning, persistence and professionalism helps us accomplish the important task of serving you, the public. And with these winning combinations, we can expect Cobb County to maintain and exceed its tradition of excellence into the future.
District One Commissioner
Although I have retired as commissioner for District One, I remain very proud of my service to you and our community for the past 12 years. I am pleased that I was the first female commissioner to serve more than one four year term in office and become the fifth longest-serving commissioner in county history. During this time, I worked to deliver on my campaign promises of upholding the Cobb County Land Use Plan, preserving green space and allowing for appropriate and quality development. Additionally, I helped establish the Cobb County Safety Village, the Airport Advisory Board and the 2005, 2011 and 2016 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax initiatives. During these years I also supported the Cobb Energy Center, Strand Theater, Smith-Gilbert Garden, Horizon Field, Southern Museum of Railroad History and the Atlanta Braves move to Cobb County. Lastly, I take great pride in having assisted the county in weathering the recession and placing it in good financial position to proceed and succeed in the future. Thank you all for your support throughout the years.
District Two Commissioner
During the past year, we have worked to deal with present needs and anticipated future considerations for District Two. In addition to the $1 billion of infrastructure investment at the Braves site there is another $1 billion in previously programmed projects including managed lanes, water lines and the Atlanta Road/Interstate 285 interchange rebuild – just to name a few. And good news begets good news. Since the Braves announced the team would come here, there has been more than $500 million in new or restarted development in the Cumberland area. With Board of Commissioners approval for additional police officers, Precinct 3 will transition to 10-hour shifts, which will greatly enhance coverage for the area. In addition, with passage of the 2016 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, Fire Station 29 will be built in the Cumberland area. Meanwhile, the restoration of the Hyde Farm buildings is underway. Through a partnership with the Cobb County school district, staff was able to reclaim wood from structures slated for demolition to use at Hyde. Also, with passage of the SPLOST, the East Marietta Library will finally be rebuilt and better serve the needs of residents who use this popular facility.
Jo Ann Birrell
District Three Commissioner
What a year! More residents chose to make District Three their home and businesses benefited from the redevelopment incentives in the District. Our How to do Business with Cobb seminars have remained popular and the business community eagerly anticipates the sessions. The water transfer reduction is down to 7 percent, the development of Mabry Park will soon become a reality and Cobb is the new home of the Braves! It has been an exciting year and I am so grateful for your support over the last few years. I am deeply humbled by the confidence and trust you have placed in me. Let’s work together during my next term to ensure that you not only expect the best but that Cobb remains the best.
District Four Commissioner
I am pleased to say that 2014 was a very good year for District Four. The year kicked off with a new $30 million multi-use destination, the Riverside Epicenter, established by Word of Faith Cathedral. Six Flags Theme Park made huge investments with its new water park and expanded holiday season. Many of our county parks and recreational facilities also had significant improvements which will continue this year and into our 2016 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program.
The passage of the 2016 SPLOST provides response to many of your requests, not limited to adding a recreation center in the Marietta-Osborne area, investing in the Mable House complex and Riverline Plan, improving Stout Park in Powder Springs and Old Clarkdale Park in Austell and increasing the amount of sidewalks throughout the district. The program will also update two of our fire stations and outfit many of our police officers with take home vehicles, adding safety to our communities.
District Four also welcomed industrial development that will add more than 1,500 jobs to our community with a new FedEx distribution site; manufacturer, Concorde battery; and spec site. Yancey Brothers, an established South Cobb operation, celebrated 100 years in 2014. Significant commercial development also took place in 2014 along East-West Connector with Kohl’s renovation and the building of a new LaFitness, shopping strip and Pollo Loco restaurant that will feature a sleeker updated look. Neighborhood Walmart joined South Cobb off Austell Road. The Six Flags area is also experiencing added revitalization with renaming of its streets, creation of a Special Services District and development of marketing and branding initiatives.
Undoubtedly, SunTrust Park, the new Home of the Braves, has been positive for the district. We hosted more than 500 contractors and vendors at the first business outreach event of American Builders and coordinated an outreach event where more than 50 nonprofit organizations learned about the Braves Foundation. This year efforts will culminate to create a program to connect District Four and all Cobb residents to jobs during the build and operation of the ballpark. Additionally, new bus route 25, which will begin this year, will add east-west connectivity between South Cobb and the Cumberland area as a result of the new ballpark.
In 2014 many of you provided input to the Cobb Department of Transportation to help design our new Flex Bus System which will also start this year. Flex Bus will connect to our existing Route 30 that CCT overhauled in 2014 to improve timeliness and levels of service. Commuters through Mableton further witnessed a significant facelift of Floyd Road with work continuing from Clay to Veterans Memorial this year adding much needed double turn lanes. Work also continues on creating the Mableton Town Square.
Finally community and business leaders from District Four came together in a big way to bring early voting to South Cobb on Oct. 25. That Saturday alone, we had the most voters of any Cobb county voting satellite, demonstrating the vibrancy of our community. Together, we made 2014 a year to remember for District Four, but that does not mean that our work is done. I look forward to working with you to bring many more good tidings to District Four in 2015 and beyond.