Board of Commissioners
Chairman Tim Lee
2015 was an incredibly successful year. The growing tax digest and Cobb County’s conservative fiscal management practices have helped keep taxes low while focusing on services that matter most. In 2015 we were able to twice reduce the property tax millage rate.
Cobb’s strong leadership and smart budgeting policies are recognized. For the 19th consecutive year, Cobb County earned a Triple AAA bond rating. We are one of only 45 counties in the United States to hold this prestigious rating.
Public safety is paramount in every community. The men and women who risk their lives daily to protect ours make Cobb County the greatest and safest place to be. It is because of this courage and commitment that the Cobb County Board of Commissioners made a $196 million investment in Public Safety. This will put an additional 40 officers on the street and ensure that Cobb County has the recruitment and retention policies in place to attract and retain the best and brightest in the public safety business.
Cobb’s economy is booming. More than 5000 jobs have been created or retained and more than $300 million of private investment was made in 2015. Our airport opened a customs facility and unveiled a world class air traffic control tower, positioning itself as one of the most corporate friendly facilities in the Southeast.
Cobb County went into 2015 with one professional sports team and ended it with three! We are now home to Major League soccer, lacrosse and baseball teams. Speaking of baseball, the future home of the Atlanta Braves, SunTrust Park, is proving to be a homerun. I am more proud than ever about Cobb County’s unprecedented partnership. Construction is on time and on budget with more than $200 million of contracts awarded to Cobb County companies. The adjacent mixed use development had an epic year announcing partnerships with ComCast, the Omni, the Roxy and others.
We are wrapping up 2015 in a position that is enviable among our peers. I look forward to 2016 as we take best elements from our current successes and apply them to future that is sure to be bright.
District One Commissioner
It’s been a busy year for District One and an educational one for me. I have worked to meet my responsibilities as your new commissioner and continue to learn what is required to meet your needs as residents. We appreciate your continued input. The more I know about your concerns, the better I can serve you.
I visited numerous departments throughout Cobb County, including Fleet Management, Property Management, PARKS, Magistrate Court, Superior Court Clerk’s Office, Mail Room, Information Services, Cobb County Adult Detention Center and the Cobb-Paulding Board of Health. I spent a day each working with Water and Department of Transportation crews. I visited police and fire personnel at numerous precincts, participated in training with the Cobb Police Motors Unit and served on the Cobb Travel and Tourism Board. These experiences have helped me make educated decisions and understand where our attention is needed on your behalf.
As a result, we helped secure funding for a lease program for police cars and equipment. We worked to establish a Behavioral Health Court in State Court and took part in the new Public Safety Headquarters initiative. Along with the valuable input of you and County staff, we encouraged and supported smart development with Land Use Plan updates. In our district, we’ve seen the opening of the customs facility and new control tower at Cobb County International Airport. We have two new Department of Driver Services facilities; one is located on County Services Parkway and the other in Acworth.
During my service in the City of Acworth, bonds were issued for the redevelopment of downtown and now the area is a vibrant and active community of successful businesses. Earlier this year we supported the issuance of the South Cobb Redevelopment Bond with a similar goal on a grander scale. The improvement of communities leads to our betterment as a whole. Cobb County continues to look for ways to improve while always striving to keep our overall taxes low. These initiatives are to the benefit of all current and future Cobb County residents.
I believe the coming year will be a banner one for our district and the county. Together we can make it happen. Thank you.
District Two Commissioner
2015 has been both an exciting and interesting year around District Two. In all, there is approximately a $3.5 billion investment in development and infrastructure projects in the district. The state has started the Northwest Corridor Project, commonly referred to as the “managed lanes.”
A number of previously approved projects are now under construction in the Cumberland area. These include five separate projects along Windy Hill Road, the managed lanes, widening of US 41 and the bridge replacement at Atlanta Road and I-285 as well as the Cobb-Marietta Water Authority water line replacement in East Cobb,
Along with all the development and improvements come the daily inconveniences of traffic delays and lane or road closures. Although frustrating at times, when these projects are completed between 2017 and 2018 there will be improved traffic flow along both the I75 corridor and Windy Hill Road.
You will experience a shorter commute around the district and more time to enjoy the many great features that make District Two a great place to live.
District Three Commissioner
Thank you for allowing me to serve this second term as the District Three Commissioner. I am grateful for the opportunity and excited for what 2016 brings as we reflect on 2015. We are fortunate to live in a county where so many choose to live, work and play. Even more residents and businesses chose to make District 3 their home this year than in the past.
The redevelopment list has dwindled from 13 sites to just five as companies become aware of the opportunities along the Canton Road corridor. Kennesaw State University had a successful inaugural football season and continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The Town Center CID rebranded itself to more closely align with the vital work they perform and became the first CID in the state to offer Zagster’s bike share to be enjoyed by those along the Noonday Creek Trail.
In a moving display of patriotism, compassion and gratitude, our community welcomed Purple Heart recipient Lance Corporal Skip Wells to his final resting place and established a scholarship in his name. It was our honor to host the US Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus on Veterans Day. The Northeast Cobb Business Association launched its inaugural 5K9 and donated $15,000 toward the purchase of a new K-9 for our police department. Cobb County’s airport welcomed its first international flight and became Cobb County International Airport. The construction of SunTrust Park is on schedule, under budget and quickly becoming a reality as we laid the first bricks of the stadium. We are fortunate to have devoted staff, engaged residents and supportive business community.
None of these successes would have been possible without the tireless service and sacrifice of our police, fire, 911, animal control, sheriff and military service people. Our public safety and armed forces dedication to our community is second to none. It is with deepest gratitude that I thank you for your service and willingness to put yourselves in harm’s way to ensure our safety and security. I appreciate your continued support as we remain steadfast in our commitment to work together to make Cobb the best it can be.
District Four Commissioner
I am proud of the steps forward our district has taken this past year.
I am most proud of our civic accomplishments in carrying out the tradition of our frequent townhall meetings, every other month, and having close to 50 unique participants attending weekly zoning meetings to learn about the zoning process and weigh-in on upcoming cases.
You have shown up at Commission meetings, zoning hearings, even alcohol license hearings, and you have made a difference in ensuring that your communities are transforming into areas with more fitting development and improved levels of service.
In March, the Community Relations Council held its annual Creating Community Awards for the first time in our district. Scores of residents attended sessions to discuss the redevelopment of the Riverside Parkway area, rebranding of South Cobb, and long-range comprehensive planning for our District.
In 2015 a Grievance Committee was formed to better respond to citizen complaints and at the end of the year, residents of District Four came together with other stakeholders to present a proposal for a Citizen Review Board aimed at improving citizen confidence in policing.
Flex Bus service launched in 2015, filling significant gaps in transit left in 2011 by providing on-demand, door-to-door transit service at the same $2.50 rate as fixed-route service. Planning for Route 25 also continued in 2015 and will connect District Four riders directly to the Cumberland area, when the route becomes operational in 2016.
Phase two of the Floyd Road Improvement Project and formation of the Mableton Town Square continued into 2015 and the intersection of Six Flags Parkway and Lee Industrial was greatly enhanced. Many roadways received much needed repaving inclusive of major corridors like Austell Road and South Cobb Drive. Cobb’s Fleet Department also maintained its commitment to environmental sensibility by installing a duel port level two charging station at the South Cobb Government Center.
Economic Development continued in the district in 2015 with more than 650 new businesses licenses issued.
Major employer Wellstar Hospital invested close to $5 million in renovating its Women’s Center and FedEx also obtained an enterprise grant in exchange for increasing employment in the area: 300 full- and part-time employees are expected when doors open in 2016. A new spec site by IDI Gazely was also planned for the Riverside Parkway industrial area. My office also hosted a Subcontractor Information Session with the Purchasing Department to help educate businesses on how to obtain work on larger county contracts.
Tourism and Recreation remained a dominant industry in the district and 2015 did not disappoint with the addition of two new rides at Six Flags Park, the opening of the wildly popular Seven Springs Water Park, and the renovation of a Powder Springs baseball field by the Atlanta Braves. Sweetwater Park in Austell broke ground on a new tennis facility and significant uplifts were made at the South Cobb Recreation Center, Wallace Park, Lions Park and more. New LED lighting was also added around the walking track at Mud Creek Soccer Park.
The district continues to emerge as a desirable place to live with 332 permits issued for single family homes in 2015. New subdivisions broke ground in Mableton, South Marietta and Powder Springs with a new senior community obtaining rezoning off Powder Springs Road in Marietta. A Special Tax District was also formed facilitating both future gateway improvements in the Six Flags area and the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority’s purchase of an older, challenged apartment complex for redevelopment. The creation of a School-Oriented Development Plan was introduced to provide a sense of place around District Four schools while improving safety for students walking to and from school.
In 2015, the Water System completed a $33 million upgrade of the South Cobb Water Reclamation Facility helping meet tightening discharge standards consistently. The South Cobb Tunnel project also became operational in 2015 putting the South Cobb area in an excellent position to accommodate future growth.
Residents continued to heavily use libraries within the District with 9,930 children and 1,220 adults attending library programming.
Cobb also invested money in Public Safety hiring additional police officers and purchasing take home vehicles. Entering autos and burglaries also decreased significantly across Cobb and District 4 in the last quarter of the year.
These and too many other examples to list demonstrate our progress.
The work behind these efforts have not all been easy, nor all with glamour. And there still remains much work to be done.
Still, I am convinced that together, we are making a difference for the better. Together, with your continued involvement, we will continue to improve our community for all. Thank you.