Fleet Management received three major recognitions this year ranking 23rd best of the 100 Best Fleet’s in North America, 27th Green Fleet in North America and was the first in Georgia to place in Government Fleet Magazine’s top 50 leading Fleet in North America. These awards are symbols of the county’s efforts to provide cost efficient services using industry best practices.
Cobb Fleet is committed to environmental responsibility and stewardship by implementing innovative green technology such as the use of propane autogas, burning waste oil for heat and purchasing electric and hybrid vehicles. This proactive approach to fleet management has saved the county more than $300,000 and has displaced more than 175 tons of carbon dioxide.
Fleet Management also installed 23 new level two and one DC fast chargers: This technology implementation of electric vehicle supply equipment will be used to fuel 16 electric vehicles and add much needed infrastructure for public access. Fleet management in its efforts to expand charging station infrastructure, applied for and received grant funds to add a public charging station that will be used by residents to fuel their vehicles.
A total of $450,000 in capital replacement has been performed to county buildings’ infrastructure. This includes work on heating and air conditioning, concrete, roofing and finishes throughout the county. The 2011 SPLOST operations/maintenance work also finished up with more than $1 million worth of maintenance projects completed this year.
Renovations were completed by Cobb County Property Management in-house designers and staff including the relocation of Internal Affairs, renovated County Attorney’s space, conversion of airport control tower base building to conference room and modifications to Fire Headquarters.
Property Management constructed two new facilities were constructed for Georgia Drivers’ License Division. A building on Fairground Street was renovated for the Department of Families and Children’s Services. A new facility was constructed for the Community Service Board. 2011 SPLOST renovations continue on the Health Department’s County Services Parkway facilities.
Hardware, software and applications for the county’s Geographic Information System were upgraded in 2015 and GIS began offering additional layers of data to other departments, municipalities and the general public for use in site planning and design. The new data shows urban features including airports, athletic tracks, building footprints, sidewalks, walkways, parking lots, roads and trails and pools. In conjunction with the Department of Transportation, GIS launched the CobbCommute application for the public to check traffic conditions and road closures in the county.
“Taste of Wellness” was an event open to all ages to try some of the activities available at Cobb County’s senior centers. More than 300 residents participated in a wide variety of activities including yoga, Zumba, container gardening, musical instruments, line dancing, chair aerobics and theatre. Thanks to the partnership of 15 local businesses and organizations, the event was hailed as a huge success.
The Cobb County Meals on Wheels program delivered more than 52,800 meals to homebound seniors on 21 different routes. To accomplish this, volunteers drove more than 5,200 miles.
More than 460 volunteers provided more than 19,200 hours of help to Senior Services, thus saving taxpayers more than $451,900. The home services voucher program served more than 140 people and 663 people were served through our transportation voucher program, representing more than 20,650 miles provided. More than 47,600 round-trip rides were provided to senior neighborhood centers, medical facilities and grocery stores.
The Senior Services Information and Referral line is manned by fully trained specialists who answered questions and provided resources for more than 3,300 calls. More than 80 people were served through Share the Care voucher program, providing 3,555 hours of respite services.
Several major software applications were replaced or upgraded in 2015 that provided departments with increased functionality, improved business processes and savings in time or resources. The 20-year old Records Management System serving the Sheriff’s Office was replaced which provides improved communication between public safety and judicial agencies.
The integrated tax system serving the offices of the Tax Assessor and Tax Commissioner was upgraded. The upgraded system provides improved security and allows for more efficient processing of tax data. The enterprise system for Human Resources, Finance and Purchasing was upgraded to take advantage of the latest technology releases and offer more online services for employees and potential vendors.
Scanning, storing and retrieving data electronically using the OnBase Enterprise Content
Management System expanded throughout the county in 2015. Document management processes added or enhanced include business license renewals, sign permitting and subdivision acceptance for the Community Development Agency; new documents, process improvements and system integrations for State Court Clerk, Magistrate Court, Probate Court and Sentence Enforcement Unit; benefits enrollment, performance appraisals, and integration for AMS Upgrade for the Human Resources Department; importing tax bills for the Tax Commissioner’s Office and invoice processing for the Finance Department.
In 2015, the Community Development Agency and Information Services Department worked together to modify the business process and incorporate technology to increase efficiency and improve service for renewing licenses. Renewal documentation submitted by businesses is scanned and automatically indexed in Onbase for easier retrieval when addressing customer calls and requests. In recognition of these efforts, Cobb County received the Innovation Award at Accela’s 2015 annual conference.
Information Services staff installed laptops and in-car cameras for 123 new police take home cars, replaced mobile equipment in approximately 40 existing vehicles and deployed 10 tablets for the Fire Department for use in patient care reporting in the field. In addition, they implemented a license plate recognition system which assists police officers to identify persons or vehicles connected to a crime.
The 2015 Summer Reading Program saw the Cobb County Public Library System collaborating with the Smyrna Public Library and the Cobb and Marietta school districts to encourage summertime reading. Through a new online platform developed by Scholastic, more than 8,800 students in Cobb County logged in to record reading activities, reflecting the engagement of young readers in the countywide reading and literacy program.
The Community and User Engagement Services department was formed in mid-2015 as part of the Library System’s administrative team. The department works to engage library patrons and the Cobb County community, enhancing educational and cultural life, early literacy, lifelong learning and economic vitality. Plans implemented in 2015 for strengthening library system outreach in the community included collaborative programming with organizations having limited or no past involvement with the library system.
In 2015, Cobb County library patrons borrowed 2.2 million books, more than 355,000 videos and CDs and nearly 150,000 audiobooks. Library digital downloads (including eBooks and eAudiobooks) in fiscal year 2015 increased to almost 290,000, up from nearly 230,000 in 2014.
Cobb County libraries presented more than 3,500 programs in fiscal year 2015 with about 136,000 people in attendance. The library system’s patron count of two million patron visits and three million web page visits is also expected for the calendar year totals.
The introduction of the educator card in the 2014-2015 school year expanded opportunities for teachers to use library resources in the classroom. More than 600 educators from the Cobb County and Marietta school districts, private schools and homeschooling families signed up for the card during its first year. The card allows educators to borrow materials and access electronic resources for the classroom throughout the school year. The educator card’s checkout privilege is nine weeks in place of the regular three-week checkout period. The library’s Outreach staff visited schools throughout the county to introduce the card and proactively coordinated card registration with school library media specialists and other officials.
Promotion of early literacy opportunities is a major priority for the Library System. A top initiative is the 1,000 Books B4 Kindergarten program launched in the spring of 2015 with support from the Cobb County and Marietta school districts and various community organizations. With about 50,000 children in Cobb County ages 5 or younger, the program is about developing critical kindergarten readiness skills. Officially, enrollment in the program is about 2,000 children, and many parents and guardians said they were already participating without formal registration. Other partners promoting 1,000 B4K include the National Park Service and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Kaiser Permanente and the Cobb Library Foundation.
Significant contributions to collection development for the Library System in 2015 included donations of books, DVDs and other items from the community and support from the Cobb Library Foundation. More than $95,000 was raised through the Library System’s book sales events and in-house sales.
The Library System’s summertime program introducing female students, ages 11 to 18, to technology careers expanded in 2015 from one to four library locations. “Cobb GEMS: Girls in Engineering, Math and Science” featured interactive workshops at the Switzer, Mountain View Regional, Kemp Memorial and Vinings libraries. Cobb GEMS included about 60 participants attending workshops on 3-D printing, communications, coding and sessions on career pathways by several professional women in science, engineering, technology and mathematics from leading corporations and universities. Launched in 2014 as a pilot program, Cobb GEMS is funded by a grant from the Cobb Library Foundation.
The Library System hosted nine events at seven locations in September for the Falls Prevention Awareness initiative. This project was designed to engage the Library System with community partners involved in public health and safety, especially for seniors. Georgia Public Health data shows injuries from falls are a costly problem for the county – one Cobb resident visits an emergency room per hour due to serious falls injuries. Centered around the national Falls Prevention Awareness Day, the events included health screenings by WellStar Health System, children’s programs by the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre and CarFit safety inspections for senior drivers by Cobb Extension staff members and occupational therapy students from Chattahoochee Technical College.
The Library System also collaborated with Cobb Senior Services, Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services, Georgia Department of Public Health, Emory University Center for Health in Aging, East Cobb Lion’s Club, and other organizations for the capstone Falls Prevention Awareness Open House at East Cobb Library.
The Cobb Library Foundation provided $37,500 in funding, materials and equipment to the library system in 2015. The support included $5,600 in Summer Reading Program reward books and prizes; $3,300 for GEMS and Teen Tech Program materials and $2,000 for video monitors for promoting library services at all locations. Foundation funding also supported parent/child and early literacy programs as well as employee recognition events. Also, the Cobb Library Foundation received $12,000 in grant funding from Cobb Community Impact and the Delta Community Credit Union for the Teen Center spaces.
Cobb County Master Gardeners have helped to establish several community gardens throughout the county to include Reconnecting our Roots Community Garden, Hope Garden (EXCEL Class project 2015), grounds work at Fountain Gate and school gardens through the Junior Master Gardener Program at several elementary schools throughout Cobb County. There are 45 elementary/middle schools identified to receive mini-grants as a result of the Cobb Impact Grant and the Cobb EMC Grant. These school gardens are established in order to teach the farm to table concept to the students as well as mathematical concepts.
The Cobb County 4-H agent created and implemented a class addressing “The Best You – Tapping Into Your Best You.” This interactive session provided tools and resources allowing participants to conduct a self-analysis of who they really are, goal setting, and flourish in a positive environment. The 4-H agent conducted sessions to adults and youth. Empowerment conferences and monthly sessions were conducted focusing on individuals being their best, ultimately, becoming their best to others. As a result, the Cobb County 4-H Agent conducted a dozen sessions reaching 59 youths and 381 adults, totaling 440 people.
Cobb Extension staff provided food demonstration and sampling for three Cobb County Farmer’s Market programs from May to September 2015. Extension staff attended the Mableton Farmer’s Market weekly and the Cobb2020 Fresh Market twice a week (June-August). A dish containing fresh produce was prepare and offered to the market attendees. A booklet containing the recipe, nutrition information on the highlighted produce, selection and storage information and produce safety was developed by the Family and Consumer Sciences staff and distributed at the markets.
Cobb County 4-H Youth program holds a monthly Horse and Pony Club meeting at Stout Property on Brownsville Road. This club is an educational equestrian program and offers special presentations for children on the care, maintenance and safety of working with a horse. It also allows “showing” opportunities in county, district and state competitions. The Horse and Pony Club educates the children on making public presentations. In 2015 the Horse and Pony Club has reached a membership of 40 (and growing) and is in the process of planning its first Livestock Show hosted by the club.
Improvements were made to the hardware infrastructure supporting the countywide server and communication network. Information Services transitioned an additional 58 physical servers to the virtualized data center environment which improved response times and established a more stable system. Pilot projects were initiated in two emerging technologies – mobile device management and application virtualization – with plans to roll the new technologies out to more users in 2016. The first phase of a multi-year personal computer replacement cycle was initiated that distributes the latest Microsoft Office applications to county employees.
Information Services made ongoing improvements to the voice and data network that serves all departments. Circuits at 66 sites throughout the county were upgraded to increase speed and improve stability of the communication network. Internet connectivity for the Library System was increased from 100 Mbps to 250 Mbps which provides faster access for computers users.
Other improvements included implementing an interactive voice response system for the Tax Commissioner’s Office and an audio court recording system in the Probate Court. More automated call distribution capabilities for incoming calls to the Cobb Community Transit Customer Service were provided and an ACD call center was established for the Medical Examiner’s Office. The telephone systems serving CobbWorks and the Elections warehouse were upgraded.
In June, the Elections department implemented an online tool to automate the filing and management of campaign finance reporting. The new process not only ensures compliance to legal requirements, it also reduces the demand on staff time by automating previously manual tasks, allows candidates and elected officials to file reports at any time of day, and provides Cobb residents with easy-to-use access to submitted campaign finance reports. For more information, go to cobbelections.org.