Cobb County Government

Board of Commissioners

Tim Lee
Cobb Commission Chairman

lee tIt’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 Commissioners


goreham h
Helen Goreham

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.

ott bBob Ott
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.

birrell jJo 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.

Lisa Cupid
District Four Commissioner
cupid l
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.

County Manager


David Hankersonhankerson d
County Manager

I just want to take time to highlight the quality of workers that Cobb County Government employs. We are blessed with some of the finest employees possible. They made our budget controls work by being able to provide high-quality service to the public with the available funds.

We strengthened our management team during 2014, filling every department head position. This will help increase our effectiveness as well as our ability to support our staff. We also opened an Employee Wellness Center, which offers free basic medical care to those covered under the county’s health plans.  This will help bring down health care costs and reduce the potential for health-related absenteeism.

I am proud of the professionalism Cobb employees demonstrate during emergencies such as the metro-wide blizzard that disrupted traffic throughout the county. They provided aid, food and shelter to stranded motorists and many workers went beyond their job descriptions to help everyone they could during the crisis.

Our workers not only provide their time to the community, they also give their hard-earned dollars. Many are part of the Friendship Club, which pools their paycheck donations to be provided to various area nonprofits. Since its inception in 1972, the club has raised millions for these organizations.

Cobb County employees work every day to improve the quality of life here. Please take a moment and join me in thanking them for the jobs they do on our behalf. Our community would not be the same without them.



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.

2014 millage-comparisonsStadium groundbreaking
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.

2014 metro-salesNorthwest 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.



The Property Management Department successfully completed a major renovation project of 40,000 square feet at the downtown Marietta complex that moved Juvenile Court to the square. This brought all of the courts to the square, with most accessed through common Sheriff’s Office secured posts.

codeApproximately 24,000 people enter the front doors of the Cobb State Court Building each month. Visitors now navigate through the Cobb State Court process with the help of newly-installed, 46-inch display monitors.  Funded through the Clerk’s Office, the airport-like monitors display daily listings of case names, case numbers, courtroom numbers and times. Previously, court visitors relied on court personnel and bailiffs with typed docketsheets for direction.

State Court daily calendars are also accessible before patrons even arrive at the courthouse, via the State Court Clerk’s Web site  At that site an attorney or defendant may search by name or case number to obtain courtroom location and hearing times for that day via computer, iPad or mobile device.  If patrons want to obtain times for future court dates, they can call the clerk’s automated telephone system at 770-528-2660.

Information Services worked with judicial departments to upgrade the county’s Case Management System to an enhanced Web-based system. The upgraded system is capable of managing all aspects of court cases, including judge assignments, parties, violations, docketing, hearings and accounting. The upgraded system allows sharing of complete, accurate and timely court information between county departments as well as the public.

A complete physical renovation to the Probate Court is mostly complete.  The License Division was relocated to provide better service to applicants while providing a more functional and appropriate lobby space for the Estates Division.  

In November, Hillary Cranford began serving as the Probate Court’s first associate judge. Probate Court also filled the newly-created Estates Division clerk position in September.  With the additional judge and clerk positions, both litigation in court and processing cases administratively will progress even more efficiently.

Throughout 2014, Probate Court has continued to make its forms, applications and records available online as a convenience for customers. In late 2013, recent marriage records became available online to the public. Probate Court staff intends to scan previous years’ marriage records for online availability as well.


Rich DiSalle A SA-5
(Photo by Rich DiSalle)

Park Operations

During this year, 17 outdated playgrounds were replaced with new up-to-date play systems that incorporate more climbing and active play apparatus. Park operations staff replaced more than 15,000 square feet of sod on various soccer fields to help maintain a safe play surface. Renovations were completed at 12 baseball fields and staff replaced more than 800 tons of infield mix on baseball and softball fields. The park operations division provided direction and oversight for the replacement of 24 wood poles with new concrete poles and new wiring at various tennis courts and athletic fields.


The 16th annual American Bicycle Association Dixieland National BMX competition was held in April at the Wild Horse Creek Park BMX track. More than 1,500 participants from 42 states and three countries, ages from 3 to 55, raced for a national championship.

The Legacy Showcase youth fast-pitch softball competition was held in July at Lost Mountain Complex. One hundred and four teams from California to Connecticut came to display their skills to more than 265 college coaches. This event generated a $1.3 million local economic impact to the community.

The Cobb Youth Football League continues to grow in its fourth season. Eleven organizations are now participating with 54 teams, ages 6-12, competing each Saturday from September to November.

The department hosted 45 tournaments at the six tennis centers for all age groups and levels of play. More than 2,500 participants competed in the tournaments. Cobb tennis class programs introduced tennis to more than 2,000 participants. This is one of the larger programs of this type in the state. Four hundred and forty teams and nearly 5,100 participants utilized a Cobb tennis facility for league play in fiscal year 2014. A total of 1,500 teams and more than 15,000 players came to Cobb and its facilities to compete in league competition.

Wallace Park and Nickajack Park tennis courts and multi-purpose courts were repaired and resurfaced in 2014. The cost of these projects totaled $112,000. Funding for these projects were from cell phone tower leases in Cobb parks.

Mable House Art Center

The Mable House Arts Center partnered with South Cobb Arts Alliance for another great year of events and programs in the Mable House Complex. Food truck events were introduced to the venue bringing hundreds of patrons to gather on the historic property. Summer camps, a storytelling festival, theatre project productions, the Christmas House, concerts and gallery openings are examples of the programs offered this past year. These programs brought new patrons, renewed the interest of existing patrons and developed a dialogue for implementing additional programs to the complex. A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax project created two new office spaces allowing room for the growth. New gallery floors were also made possible through SPLOST. These projects have given the building a much needed renovation and renewed possibilities.

The Art Place – Mountain View

The Art Place had a great year and continues to meet the needs of those that have visited for years and those that have just discovered it. Celebrating its 22nd year in April, the facility served more than 70,000 students, patrons or guests in visual and ceramic classes and art camps, outdoor concerts, theatre rentals, gallery exhibits, workshops and holiday events. Staff introduced pottery students to guest artists in workshops in the pottery studio, and visual/theatre arts students with guests from gallery exhibits and theatre programs.

Mountain View Arts Alliance continues to help sponsor programs, scholarships and special fundraising events to help enrich what is already done at The Art Place. In addition to SPLOST improvements, the alliance helped provide new gallery lighting, flooring for the theatre, a new kiln and pottery wheels. It also helped to donate $2,700 to local charities and more than $2,000 in college scholarships to students pursuing arts-related majors.

Public Safety


As a result of the extensive preparation combined with the continued commitment to exceeding recognized national standards of excellence, the Cobb County Department of Public Safety E-911 Communications Bureau was selected by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies to receive the Accreditation with Excellence Award in July. The department received the highest standard of national accreditation for the fifth consecutive three-year accreditation period. Only 1 percent of the 911 centers across the nation have been recognized with this achievement.

With changes in the employment process, more police recruits are being hired. The need was identified to increase the number of academies being offered each year by the Cobb County Department of Public Safety Training Center. Each mandate class is now approximately 20 weeks, allowing for additional training cycles without sacrificing the superior level of training for which Cobb County is known. Mandate classes will be held in four times each year until vacancies have been filled. Previously, classes were only offered twice per year.

The police in-car video system was upgraded to provide an enhanced user interface, advanced search capabilities and additional reporting functionality.  The upgraded system allows for the integration of FirstVu body cameras that attach to officers’ uniforms.  At this time, 40 body cameras are deployed.

The Board of Commissioners approved an upgrade to the Viper phone system in November which will allow the phone system to accept text to 911 calls. Not only will it accommodate those with hearing and speech disabilities, it provides silent access to 911 for those in situations where a voice 911 call could endanger the victim further such as domestic violence or home invasion.

Medical dispatch software used by 911 was upgraded to enable dispatchers to move smoothly through case entry and key questioning during emergencies. Dispatchers can identify the appropriate determinant code and the response specifically assigned to that code more quickly, thus improving diagnostics and response for 911 calls.

In June 2014, Cobb Fire purchased 80 modems for a total of $120,376 to upgrade data connectivity to 4G, and allow for a GPS feed into the Cobb 911 Computer Aided Dispatch/Automatic Vehicle Locator system. These modems allow for a much more stable and faster connection, and are purpose-built to operate in a heavy truck environment.

The fire department purchased four Ford Taurus vehicles at $23,589 each for command staff personnel and put them into service during November 2014.

Due to increased growth in the county and the ongoing Braves project, the Board of Commissioners approved two new fire inspector positions and one plan review supervisor in the Fire Marshal’s Office to be filled in early fiscal year 2015.
The Fire Marshal’s Office continues to make technological progress, and now more than half of the 33,000 records on file are stored in electronic format only. The office is also involved in collaborative projects with Cobb Community Development to implement electronic plan review and permit application processes, which will improve service delivery.  

A total of 32 fire recruits completed the 28-week dual-certification academy for fire and emergency medical technicians in April. All these recruits received national certifications as advanced EMTs and were recognized by the state as certified firefighters. These firefighters now serve the residents of Cobb at their newly-assigned stations.  

In August 2014 the BOC authorized the fire department to use fund balance to purchase a 21-foot boat at a cost of $61,705 for swift water rescues in the Chattahoochee River and Lake Allatoona. This boat was a replacement for the department’s previous boat, which had been damaged beyond repair.

Cobb County Public Fire and Life Safety Division taught more than 31,000 students during more than 1,700 classes throughout the year. The department distributed 621 smoke alarms and installed 67. The division also began an active senior program and educated over 625 senior adults to date.

A Computer Aided Dispatch system upgrade was completed in January 2014. The Motorola Printrak CAD system was upgraded to the latest version.  The upgrade will provide mobile mapping, automatic vehicle location and other feature upgrades at a cost of $1.9 million. The CAD Premier One system allows officers in the field to query call information in their vehicles. It allows officers and dispatchers a secondary method to communicate which expedites the exchange of call information, ensures accuracy of the information and promotes officer safety.

Planning began for an assigned car program for police officers.  While  the  primary  purpose  of  the  assigned  vehicle  program  is  to  improve  the  department’s efficiency, improved retention of officers will be a secondary benefit. The program will place our agency in a better position to compete with area jurisdictions. It will be administered through an application process that considers years of service, disciplinary history, driving ability and residency. Although full implementation will take several years, the goal is to begin the expansion of the assigned car program by March 2015 using existing cars. Approximately 230 additional vehicles are needed to implement an assigned vehicle program department wide.

Educational incentive pay is standard in police departments across metro Atlanta. As a means to encourage and reward those employees who attain a college education and to attract qualified and professional applicants, incentive pay funds have been approved from the fiscal year 2015-16 general fund.

Providing 24-hour public safety requires employees to work non-traditional hours. These shifts cause personnel to work less desirable, more  dangerous hours, and often take a tremendous toll on family life. Beginning  fiscal year 2015, Shift Differential Pay will be implemented  at  the  rate  of 50 cents per hour  for  officers  working  evening  shift  and $1 per hour for officers working midnight shift.

In an effort to optimize operational efficiency, the department is moving from a traditional eight hour shift, to a 10-hour shift. The current eight hour shifts do not allow for additional staffing levels during high-demand periods.  One precinct has implemented a 10-hour shift schedule by creating personnel overlap, which allows officers to remain in the field for emergencies at all times. This results in enhanced officer and public safety. The four-day/10-hour shift also offers the officers more time to recuperate (especially ones assigned to nontraditional shifts) and results in reduced overtime. As staffing goals are met, it is the intent of the department to implement the 10-hour shift schedule at the remaining four precincts.

Additionally, the lateral entry program was streamlined, allowing an applicant who is currently certified as a Georgia law enforcement officer, to attend a minimized period of training.

During 2014, the police department purchased 265 rifle systems (including electronic sights, spare magazines, bags and other equipment) at a cost of $354,000.  These Smith and Wesson MP 15 rifles were ordered to replace the previous Vietnam-era rifles, bringing the police weapons up to date. This purchase will ensure that the department has a rifle for each officer.  Each officer was also issued newly purchased ballistic plate carriers and helmets to provide additional protection during certain types of emergency situations.

In October, the police department successfully completed an Urban Area Security Initiative Full Scale Exercise with other metro Atlanta departments.  The event, which simulated a large-scale terrorist event with multiple suspects and locations, was held in Clayton County. Additionally, with a more than $1.3 million grant from UASI, the police department took delivery on a Lenco BearCat vehicle for the SWAT team, a Ford F250 fully equipped response truck and a pontoon boat and trailer for the dive team and equipment that can be used by the bomb squad during a biohazard-explosive situations.

In an effort to better prepare officers for terrorist attacks or other civil disorders, all officers received training in active shooter situations. The training proved to be invaluable during an actual active shooter incident during the year.

To improve operational efficiency for police detectives, laptop computers will be phased in as older desk tops are replaced. This will allow detectives to enter data and information at the crime scene versus returning to the office and composing reports from handwritten notes.  Additionally, funds have been approved from the fiscal year 2015-16 General Fund for anticipated costs associated with providing county issued cell phones to investigators.

During the course of 2014 and continuing into 2015, the Cobb County Police Department Ranger Unit has been presented with the opportunity to replace and upgrade much of the unit’s specialized equipment. The unit will replace a 2003 John Deere Gator utility vehicle with a 2014 Kubota RTV1140 utility vehicle. The Kubota RTV is a four-seat configuration which will allow for transport of multiple officers or medical personnel through rough, off-road areas. In addition, the vehicle will be equipped with an emergency patient transport system to allow for the quick removal of injured persons from remote areas. The vehicle will also be supplied with a removable K-9 transport system to allow for the transport of officers and their canine partners into and out of remote areas.

In addition to the utility vehicle, the police department ranger unit expects to order two new replacement golf carts with one in a four-seat configuration and one in a six-seat configuration.  The primary use of the golf carts is for patrol during high profile, high visitation events such as the North Georgia State Fair, the Yaarab Shrine Circus and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  These will allow the rangers to quickly and efficiently patrol these areas in a quiet, electric vehicle. The carts will help us to transport officers to needed areas, quickly transport medical personnel when needed and transport civilians when necessary.

The police department ranger unit expects to receive two 2015 Zero DSP electric motorcycles.  These are fully electric patrol motorcycles and will be valuable in patrolling not only the off-road areas of the county but also patrolling the 12.8 mile Cobb County section of the Silver Comet Trail.

The Cobb County Police Explorer Program is made up of 25 young adults ages 14-21 and designed to educate youth in police operations, to interest them in possible careers in law enforcement and to develop confidence and leadership skills no matter which career path they choose.  In June, the Cobb Explorers participated in the Georgia Explorer Championships where they competed against 24 other teams to demonstrate their proficiency in law enforcement functions.  The Cobb Explorers won the 2014 GA State Championship for the sixth year in a row.



Federal, state and Cobb County officials cut the ribbon on the new Marietta Veterans Field Service Office in October. The new office at 1150 Powder Springs St., Suite 350, provides a local bureau for veterans to receive benefits counseling and claims assistance. During the event, Cobb County also announced the future construction of a veteran’s memorial on the location’s property.

Cobb County Senior Services was awarded Community Development Block Grant funds for fiscal year 2014-2015 for the purchase of two 13-passenger vehicles to provide transportation to medical facilities and grocery stores for Cobb residents age 60 and above.

During the past year, Senior Services provided 47,383 round-trip rides to senior neighborhood centers, medical facilities and grocery stores.

2014 total-operating-capital-budgetsSenior Services conducted the first Aging by Design Summit at the Cobb Galleria in April. Prior to the summit, three sessions on Alzheimer’s/dementia, housing and elder abuse were conducted. In total, more than 500 people attended these summit-related events.

The county Meals on Wheels program provided 50,271 home-delivered meals to housebound seniors on 5,271 routes. Volunteers provided 17,488 hours of services valued at $394,354 to Senior Services in 2014.

Senior Services works with care transition coaches at Atlanta Regional Commission to help reduce recidivism of patients returning to the hospital. Through this partnership with ARC and social workers at designated hospitals, we were able to provide frozen meals and medical transportation for 238 seniors leaving the hospital.

The Senior Services Information and Referral line is manned by fully-trained specialists who answered questions and provided resources for more than 4,400 calls during the past year.

In conjunction with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office, Cobb Elections began accepting online voter registration applications. New applications and changes to existing voter registrations can now be submitted on the Web site or by downloading a mobile application called GA Votes to Apple or Android devices.

The library system’s Summer Reading Program collaboration with the Cobb County School District expanded in 2014 with the addition of the Smyrna Public Library and Marietta City Schools. Almost 9,000 children registered to participate in the program.

Library employees developed a data platform for assessing participation levels in the Summer Reading activities of students from schools across the county. The data is a foundation for continuing to enhance literacy program planning. School media specialists and representatives from the two library systems collaborated to create a consistent message about the value of summer reading and developed a county-wide reading list. Online registration for the summer reading program was added in 2014. By the end of the summer, the number of books Cobb youths reported reading surpassed 225,000.

The library system also hosted a pilot program this summer designed to support young female students, ages 11 to 15, interested in technology careers. “Cobb GEMS: Girls in Engineering, Math and Science” was held in June and July at Switzer Library, and more than 35 young women participated in the program. Nine three-hour, hands-on workshops were held during the summer, with sessions on Web development, coding, robotics, 3-D printing and other tech topics. The program was bolstered by sessions featuring about two dozen women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

2014 govt-employeesIn partnership with Cobb PARKS, the library system developed a library at the new Windy Hill Therapeutic Community Center, which provides special services for Cobb residents with disabilities. In addition to collaborating with PARKS on delivering special programs, such as book clubs and computer classes, the library’s involvement with the center has been supported with funding from the Cobb Library Foundation and Georgia Public Library Service.

Community support for the library system, including donations of books, DVDs and other items, and support from the Cobb Library Foundation go far in supporting collection development. The library system raised more than $80,000 from book sale events in Fiscal Year 2014. The ongoing book sales held in each library brought in $21,000. Proceeds from the $100,000 raised overall made possible the purchase of materials for the Library System. The Cobb Library Foundation donated $25,000 for the purchase of books and digital resources.

The library system continues to adapt to the growth of digital engagement by patrons while also providing traditional print resources. In 2014, there were 2.1 million books, more than 393,000 DVDs/videos and more than 160,000 audiobooks borrowed. In a few years, from 2010 to 2014, the total of digital downloads from the library system has increased from 43,620 in 2010 to 229,048 in 2014. Patrons with limited access to computers also used services offered by the Library System, including using public computers at library locations. Library patrons used the public computers more than 250,000 hours in Fiscal Year 2014.

September is Library Card Sign-up Month throughout the United States. In 2014, the Library System’s outreach team worked directly with Marietta City and Cobb County schools to encourage students to get library cards during sign-up month. There was an increase of about 500 people signing up for library cards in September over the same month in 2013.

Fleet Management received several recognitions this year from 100 Best Fleet’s in North America and was ranked high for Green Fleet in North America. These awards are symbols of the county’s efforts provide 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 reducing of the county’s carbon footprint through effective management of the vehicle fleet.  

Fleet Management installed a new lift in the truck shop. The new piece of equipment has increased the shop production by 35 percent. This lift has allowed staff to go from 37 percent of preventive maintenance services completed within 48 hours in 2013 to 72 percent completed within the same deadline in 2014. The reduced downtime allows for public safety, support services (Water, Transportation, PARKS and Senior Services) and many smaller departments to continue helping residents more.

Fleet Management installed 2 charging stations in support of new electric vehicles, which will provide cost savings on gasoline, maintenance and reinforce the county's commitment to the environment. Fleet is also working with Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to install electric charging stations throughout the county for public access. This is another way Fleet Management helps the public reduce dependency on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Cobb Fleet expedited the outfitting of 55 new police vehicles by hiring a mobile installation company, which demonstrates the county’s commitment to Public Safety and all our customers. This new procedure reduced the time preparing new vehicles with equipment and expedited delivery of safer vehicles to the Police Department.

The Information Services Department built a virtual data center environment capable of deploying up to 350 virtual servers.  This move to a virtual environment reduces the number of physical servers, thereby reducing space requirements, improving server uptime and performance and reducing maintenance costs.  A total of 190 physical servers have been moved to the virtual environment and the equipment decommissioned in 2014. To date this has resulted in a savings of $14,000 per year in maintenance costs.

Information Services also made improvements to the backbone communications and data infrastructure for the county. As part of this project, Information Services implemented a proactive network monitoring solution which allows 24-hour monitoring of the network to prevent, identify and quickly resolve any issues that could potentially impact county systems and applications.

Upgrades to the county’s Geographic Information System provided additional sites and capabilities for users this year.  More Web mapping sites were rolled out including the “What’s in it for me?” site which allows residents to access information on various Department of Transportation projects currently underway across the county.  This site was enhanced to allow use by the visually-impaired. Another upgraded site is the GIS Data Sales Web site which allows businesses and the public to locate, order and pay for all GIS data available from the county.  A third site providing national pipeline data was developed specifically for the Cobb County Fire Department for emergency management activities.

Information Services upgraded the county’s email system to Exchange 2010 which makes management of the email system more efficient.  The email system was also moved into the virtualized data center to provide increased reliability.

Purchase of access to a cloud-based technology benchmarking service for state, local and education entities paid immediate dividends in 2014. A $103,000 savings will be realized over five years when a vendor’s original support proposal was negotiated down based on market research from comparable clients provided by this new benchmarking service.

Bar code membership cards were deployed in Cobb County Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs locations making registration and checking in quicker and more efficient for patrons.

The Code Enforcement Division of Community Development, in addition to regular routes, coordinated and conducted seven focused “sweeps” with local public safety personnel, code officials and other entities. The purpose of the sweeps is to provide a focused and concentrated effort to improve areas that are in various states of decline due to a lack of property maintenance. The premise is that maintained properties will assist in increasing safety in an area by removing negative perceptions. This includes city partnerships with Marietta, Smyrna and Powder Springs.



During 2014, Cobb County Department of Transportation initiated, continued and completed work on many of its Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax-funded projects. From the 2005 SPLOST, engineering/design has started or been completed on each of the 336 identified projects. Construction has started on 319 projects with 310 projects reaching completion. Major projects under way or completed in 2014 include the widening of Floyd Road, improvements to Queen Mill Road and the completion of Noonday Creek Trail, Phase 2C.

From the 2011 SPLOST, engineering/design has started or been completed on more than 160 identified projects in the program. Construction has started on 120 projects, with more than 90 reaching completion. Projects completed or under way in 2014 include the Skip Spann Connector, upgrades to Shiloh Road/Shallowford Road and improvements to Cobb Parkway at the Mars Hill Road intersection.

2005 SPLOST projects underway/completed in 2014:

Floyd Road. The ribbon-cutting event celebrating the completion of the $5.6 million Floyd Road safety and operational improvement project was held in September. The project widened 1.1 miles of Floyd Road between Clay Road and Hicks Road to a standard four-lane, median-divided roadway consisting of two 11-foot wide travel lanes in each direction and a 20-foot wide grass median. A 10-foot wide sidewalk was constructed on the west side of the roadway and a five-foot wide sidewalk was constructed on the east side.

Noonday Creek Trail, Phase 2C. Phase 2C of the Noonday Creek Trail project was completed in September 2014. The project included the construction of 2.5 miles of multi-use trail along Barrett Lakes Boulevard between Duncan Road and Noonday Creek, and along Noonday Creek from Barrett Lakes Boulevard to Bells Ferry Road. This $4.27 million project added two pedestrian bridges over Noonday Creek along with sections of elevated walkway.

Queen Mill Road. This 1.8-mile project currently under way will add safety and operational improvements to Queen Mill Road between Mableton Parkway and Veterans Memorial Highway. The project will also add curb, gutter, sidewalks and drainage improvements where needed. The construction cost of the project is $3.57 million, and it is scheduled for completion by summer 2015.

Nance Road. This $3.2 million project constructs a new bridge over Butler Creek and provides safety and operational improvements to Nance Road from just west of the Cobblestone Golf Course entrance to Lakeview Way. Improvements to Lakeview Way are also in progress. Construction activities began in April 2014 and are scheduled for completion in early 2015.

2011 SPLOST projects completed/under way in 2014:

Resurfacing. In 2014, the county awarded $23.2 million for four resurfacing contracts as part of the 2011 SPLOST. Since October 2011, these contracts have resulted in a total resurfacing of 1,257 streets (390 miles) within the county’s four commission districts. This represents a cumulative investment of $76 million in preserving county infrastructure.

Drainage Projects. Fifty-two drainage projects were identified through the end of 2014. Construction has been completed on 48 of the projects. Nearly all of the projects replaced deficient metal drains installed in the 1960s and 1970s. The cost of the drainage projects completed to date is $3.9 million.

Sidewalk Projects. Through the end of the year, 28 sidewalk projects were completed and 13 are in design or under construction. This construction includes sidewalks that fill in gaps, provide safe routes to schools and sidewalks deemed necessary for transit, activity centers and safety-related issues. To date, these projects represent an $8 million investment in pedestrian facilities.

Shiloh Road/Shallowford Road. Construction on the $11 million Shiloh Road/Shallowford Road safety and operational improvement project was completed in November 2014. The project upgraded the existing roadway to two 11-foot wide travel lanes, added a 12-foot center turn lane, and provided turn lanes at major intersections on Shiloh Road/Shallowford Road, from Wade Green Road to Canton Road. In addition, bike-friendly lanes and sidewalk were added to the corridor.

Cobb Parkway at Mars Hill Road Intersection Improvement. Construction is complete on the $1.8 million intersection improvement project. This project added left turn lanes onto both Cobb Parkway/U.S. Highway 41 and Mars Hill Road, lengthened the westbound left turn lane on Cobb Parkway/U.S. Highway 41 and widened Mars Hill Road to receive the left turn lanes from Cobb Parkway/U.S. Highway 41. The project began in October 2013 and was completed in October 2014.

Skip Spann Connector. Construction on the $13 million Skip Spann Connector began in April 2014. The Skip Spann Connector will provide a new bridge over Interstate 75 north of Chastain Road to provide direct access from Kennesaw State University to the Town Center economic activity center. The project will provide 19 percent reduction in daily traffic along Chastain Road at the I-75 interchange. It will also provide congestion relief, improved access from KSU to the Northwest Corridor Managed Lanes access ramps at Big Shanty and the GRTA/CCT park and ride lots and pedestrian and bicycle access between KSU and its stadium. Construction is scheduled for completion in spring 2016.

Floyd Road. The groundbreaking event for the $4.8 million Floyd Road safety and operational improvement project was held in September. The project consists of improvements to Floyd Road, from Veterans Memorial Highway to Clay Road. These improvements will widen the roadway to accommodate four lanes with a divided median, add an eight-foot wide to 12-foot wide multi-use trail on the west side, and a five-foot wide sidewalk on the east side. The project will also add dual left turn lanes from Floyd Road onto Veterans Memorial Highway. Major construction activities are scheduled to begin in early 2015 with a planned construction duration of 18 months.

All 2011 SPLOST projects for the fire department (and all Public Safety departments) have been completed.  Five rescue trucks were purchased at a cost of $125,292 with SPLOST funds in 2014 and placed into service during the year.  

In December 2013, Fire and Emergency Services purchased 18 EKG monitor/manual defibrillators. This upgrade enabled crews to continue current Advanced Medical Life Support procedures in addition to transmitting 12-lead EKGs to hospitals and detecting carbon monoxide levels in a patient’s bloodstream. They were purchased through the 2011 SPLOST at a cost of $529,603.

In June 2014, Fire and Emergency Services purchased eight complete sets of vehicle extrication tools (cutter, spreader, rams, pump). In addition, the department purchased five additional spreaders for upgrades to existing units. The bid also included vehicle stabilization struts for all extrication units. This purchase allowed the department to totally switch to a single brand and simplify maintenance and training. The total cost was $359,995 and came from the 2011 SPLOST.
2014 was an active and productive year for the PARKS team managing projects under the 2011 Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs SPLOST program. The program is comprised of an $82 million budget with 172 projects in 50 parks and facilities. To date, 31 percent of these projects have been completed and another 41 percent is under construction.

To make the available funding go as far as possible, PARKS. staff is directly involved in many of the construction activities ranging from roof replacements to painting to laser grading and athletic field construction. The majority of the work continues to be in selecting and managing the efforts of a variety of professional architecture/engineering firms and construction contractors.  An added challenge is to perform this work in parks/facilities with the least possible disruption to users.

Examples of projects completed during 2014:

Sewell Park:  Swimming Pool/Splash Pad; Athletic Field Renovation and Building Replacement

After the more than 50-year-old Sewell Park Pool closed for the 2013 summer season, workers demolished the entire facility with the exception of the main pool. The pool reopened in May 2014 with a brand new bathhouse, splash pad water feature and new decking, landscaping and filter room.  Attendance this past season doubled the previous summer’s attendance.  

In addition, the existing concession/restroom building was replaced at the athletic fields, baseball fields were re-graded and sod replaced, dugouts, score stands, backstops and fencing were replaced, electrical and athletic field lighting improvements were completed, along with re-paving the access roadway and parking lots.  

Tennis Center Building Replacement

Harrison, Kennworth and Terrell Mill tennis centers have been completely replaced.  Architectural and engineering designs are complete for Fair Oaks and Sweetwater tennis centers.  

West Cobb Aquatic Center

West Cobb Aquatic Center received new HVAC equipment that allows for excellent air quality and customer comfort.  The facility also got a new lobby floor, new pool finish coating, wall paint lighting fixtures and an entirely new roof structure. It reopened in May

Field Renovations

SPLOST park renovations were underway throughout Cobb County. Two parks (Noonday and Sewell) were reopened in 2014 after receiving extensive improvements. The soccer and football/lacrosse fields at Noonday Park were completely renovated with new turf, drainage, irrigation and lights.

The PARKS Land Unit assisted with ongoing SPLOST projects by completing construction of seven ball fields, one football field, constructing building pads for five maintenance buildings and installing landscaping on several projects.

bridge illustration



Cobb County Airport-McCollum Field began construction on two major projects – a new air traffic control tower and a customs inspection facility – while also completing construction on the extensions of two taxiways.

tower2The new 78-foot air traffic control tower will improve air traffic controllers’ situational awareness (height, glare, obstacles, etc.), expand the capacity for future equipment and will meet current FAA standards for security and personnel space. The existing tower will be demolished, but the airport administration base building will remain and undergo renovations. The $2.9 million project is expected to be completed in February.

The 2,900 square foot general aviation customs facility began construction in fall 2014 and will allow international arrivals into Cobb County Airport. The $800,000 facility, funded by the airport’s fixed base operator Hawthorne Global Aviation Services, is expected to be operational by summer 2015. Earlier in 2014, parallel taxiways were extended 610 feet to the end of the runway. This $1.2 million project improved the efficiency and safety of runway operations by eliminating the need for aircraft to taxi on the runway prior to takeoff.

Cobb Community Transit
In 2014, Cobb Community Transit developed an innovative reservation-based public transportation service for south Cobb. The flex service will fill gaps in existing fixed-route service through three zones in Powder Springs, Austell and on Powder Springs Road. Riders will be able to make reservations for curb-to-curb service anywhere within the five- to seven-mile zone or board the bus at a designated collection location. Implementation of the flex service is expected in 2015.

CCT also made route service improvements to better serve Cobb riders. Time point modifications for Route 30 were implemented in July 2014 to improve on-time performance. Additionally, CCT modified Route 20 to extend service south on South Cobb Drive to serve Cumberland Parkway and the Home Depot Support Center.

Connect Cobb Northwest Atlanta Corridor Environmental Assessment
The Connect Cobb Environmental Assessment continued in 2014. The assessment has taken a closer look at benefits, effects and potential mitigation measures of the locally-preferred alternative identified through the 2012 Connect Cobb Alternatives Analysis.

Connect Cobb is developing a transportation project that will expand mobility for all users along a 25-mile stretch linking northern Cobb County to Midtown Atlanta along the U.S. Highway 41/Interstate 75 corridor. This corridor would link the MARTA transit network with key Cobb County destinations, including Cumberland and Town Center Area Community Improvement Districts, Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University, as well as numerous large shopping centers and Dobbins Air Reserve Base.

Cobb in Motion – 2040 Comprehensive Transportation Plan
Technical work for the update of the 2008 Comprehensive Transportation Plan was completed in 2014, with presentation to the Board of Commissioners and cities and final document delivery planned for early 2015. Cobb in Motion: 2040 CTP, prepared in coordination with the cities of Acworth, Austell, Kennesaw, Marietta, Powder Springs and Smyrna, identified local transportation priorities grounded in the community’s overall vision and plans for the future.

South Cobb Transit Evaluation and Implementation Plan
The South Cobb Transit Evaluation and Implementation Plan was completed in 2014. The Board of Commissioners approved modifications to CCT Route 20 and Route 30. The BOC also approved adding three new transit flex zones anchored near Cobb Hospital, and adding a new Route 25 connecting Cumberland to south Cobb. Implementation of the new routes will occur in 2015.

This study also recommended a new transfer center to support these new and expanded services near Cobb WellStar Hospital. The Cobb DOT Planning Division coordinated with multiple county departments to develop a program and preliminary design for the facility, began the site selection process, and sought federal grant funding to aid with construction of the Austell Road/East-West Connector Transfer Center.

Cumberland Circulator Implementation Plan and Route 10X Implementation Plan
The Cumberland Circulator Implementation Plan and Route 10X Implementation Plan were initiated in 2014 and are scheduled for completion in 2015. Cobb County was awarded competitive regional grant funds to operate the Route 10X connecting Kennesaw State University to Life University, Cumberland and downtown Atlanta.

Future Plans
Looking ahead to 2015, the Planning Division will begin work on two major projects: the Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan and the CCT Comprehensive Operations Analysis. The ADA Inventory and Transition Plan for pedestrian rights-of-way will provide a survey and documentation of existing facilities and a prioritization process for ADA-compliant retrofit construction. Additionally, a comprehensive operations analysis of CCT will review and evaluate Cobb’s transit operations. The COA will identify opportunities to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery, as well as ensure service is provided in the most cost-efficient manner possible.

Traffic Operations
Closed-circuit television camera coverage was expanded by 38 percent to 90 cameras during 2014. Cobb County uses these cameras on thoroughfares to minimize traffic delays by improving traffic signal operations, improving management of traffic and supporting traveler information systems.

The BlueTOAD travel time monitoring system was expanded from 19 locations to 100 locations. The system now covers almost all thoroughfare roads with speed limits in excess of 45 mph. The BlueTOAD program, which began with a partnership with GDOT, is used to measure traffic signal performance, improve signal operations and support incident management and traveler information systems. The system alerts control center operators of traffic conditions and potential incidents while also providing a congestion map to aid travelers.

Ten dynamic speed display signs, or radar speed feedback signs, were procured and installed as part of a pilot project to determine their effectiveness on specific roadways within the county, including one school zone. The $43,000 project, funded by the 2011 SPLOST, is expected to conclude in late 2015 and will result in a suggested county policy on the use or exclusion of these signs for traffic calming purposes.

Several other projects helped improve county traffic operations in 2014. The flashing yellow arrow operation for left-turning traffic, which was first implemented in the Cobb County in 2013, was expanded to 12 intersections to improve roadway safety. In addition to routine traffic signal retiming activities, Cobb County and the state DOT collaborated for a comprehensive retiming of 40 traffic signals in four corridors: CH James Parkway, Roswell Road, South Cobb Drive and Veterans Memorial Highway. Additionally, a project to upgrade key traffic signs throughout the county began in 2014. The project, funded by the 2011 SPLOST will bring the signs up to recently changed Federal Highway Administration standards (including size, type and retroreflectivity) and is approximately 75 percent complete.

Utilities issued 1,513 permits for utility work within the right-of-way. This permit review and construction inspection effort minimized the effects of utility construction on Cobb roadways, thus improving safety and preserving roadway infrastructure. Permit fees of approximately $240,000 from telecommunications companies offset the corresponding permit and inspection costs. The online electronic permitting system, which was launched in 2013, was expanded in 2014 to include electronic payments for permit fees.



SewerThe Water System’s triple AAA bond rating was reaffirmed in 2014 by the nation’s top bond rating agencies, indicating their confidence in the system’s financial stability.

While increasing development activity associated with the area’s improving economy resulted in a continuing return toward historic development fee levels, water demand was somewhat less than expected in 2014, owing primarily to weather patterns.  Total revenues were about 6 percent less than projected, but this shortfall was at least partially offset by reductions in operating expenses.  The system operated in 2014 without an increase in rates and expects to do the same in 2015.  

The South Cobb Tunnel is expected to be fully operational in early 2015. Although initially scheduled for completion in the summer of 2014, issues with the Influent pump station associated with the project resulted in significant delays.  It appears that all technical issues have now been resolved and anticipate resolution of contractual issues during 2015.

A second project of note, the Sutton WRF Biosolids Receiving Station, was completed near the end of 2014.  This station will allow the introduction of dewatered sewage solids, received via truck delivery from other treatment facilities, to be processed at the Sutton plant, resulting in a reduction in landfill requirements and significant ongoing cost savings.

Currently, the Water System is increasingly focused on renewal of existing water, sewer, and stormwater pipelines than has been the case in the past.  About 23 miles of aging water mains were replaced in 2014, and, in addition to normal levels of sewer and stormwater pipe replacements, a substantial effort to reline failing pipe was initiated utilizing trenchless technologies.

The Water System has now fully implemented a billing system upgrade.  The upgrade provides enhanced navigation for call center customer service representatives and the opportunity to initiate new procedures designed to streamline business processes.  The improved efficiencies have enhanced service to customers, reducing queue times and allowing more immediate responses to issues.  Continued adjustments are made to the Web site portal for easier use and to encourage paperless transactions.

The Water System received a number of awards in 2014. The Water Efficiency Program won the EPA WaterSense Large Utility Partner of the Year Award for its efforts in public outreach related to the efficient use of our water supplies.  Of particular note, this was the third such award received by the Water System’s program in the last five years.  

All four of the county’s wastewater treatment facilities were recognized with gold or platinum awards for operational effectiveness.  The System Maintenance Division received a gold award for outstanding operation in the Large Utility category, and the Water System’s laboratory was selected for the state-wide Quality Assurance Award in the Large Municipal category. 

The Water System’s Watershed Stewardship Program received several state-wide recognitions, including the 2014 Public Education Direct Media Award, the 2014 Watershed Award and the 2014 Rivers Alive Waterway Cleanup Award.  In addition, the Georgia Fats, Oils, and Grease Alliance honored Cobb County with its 2013 Program of the Year Award.

The area of public education and outreach continues as a focus for the Agency and serves as a national and statewide industry model in environmental education.  The watershed stewardship “Ecological Tips” video series and Thalweg newsletter, and water efficiency “Water $aver” newsletter are continuing opportunities to influence the community to become better environmental stewards.  The Water System is proud to be tasked with management of crucial elements of Cobb County’s quality of life.