2011 Cobb County Annual / Popular Report
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Cobb Commission Chairman
For much of our community, its families and businesses, this last year has been challenging. Slow economic growth and high unemployment have placed a tremendous strain on our efforts to provide essential government services and the many quality of life services we have come to enjoy.
Your elected officials and county staff have worked hard over the last several years to identify ways to cut cost and increase efficiency with minimal service impacts. The board of commissioners created a citizens oversight committee to dig into the operations, spending, funding and effectiveness of our county government. The committee is expected to report back to the board of commissioners early in 2012 with its recommendations on what works well and what to focus on to improve how we do business.
This year, all areas of county government cut their operating budgets by 10 percent, many of our employees took unpaid furlough days and we placed plans for expanded services on hold. Voters approved a 1 cent sales tax to support our existing infrastructure while the board of commissioners put in place a minimal and temporary increase to the millage rate. By cutting costs and securing needed revenues, the county was able to balance its budget and maintain one of the highest credit ratings in the nation.
I am encouraged to see our local economy expanding and good things are happening. Recent announcements from companies such as Home Depot, Novelis, CCH Small Firm Services and Osmotica Pharmaceuticals have resulted in many new jobs and financial investments in our community.
As we close out the current year, there is no time to appreciate how far we have come. We as a county must be focused on working together to grow our economy, protect our infrastructure investments and to preserve the high quality of life our residents enjoy.
District One Commissioner
Despite the nation’s economic problems, District One has achieved positive developments during the past year. We have experienced growth in single family home construction and many subdivisions have been completed to meet growing demand. This demonstrates not just the desirability of living in our district, but the continuing potential the area holds for our future. We are in the process of closing out our 2005 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax transportation projects, including work on Barrett Parkway. The country’s second roundabout located at Burnt Hickory and County Line Road, which is open and moving traffic safely and effectively. Our residents have shown their quality of character as well with the successful forming of the Friends of Leone Price Park, which held its first work day this year. We aren’t just working to maintain what we have. We are looking to provide for the future of our community and those who live here. Quality of life isn’t just a phrase in District One. It’s what we work to achieve.
District Two Commissioner
In District Two, we continue to plan for the future. The board of commissioners received the final report for the Johnson Ferry Urban Design Plan, which will help us with efforts ranging from fostering community partnerships to improving the visual nature of the corridor. Likewise, the Vinings Vision Plan will help improve the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors. In addition, the plan will help preserve the rich historic and cultural resources Vinings has to offer. We have numerous developments getting started and underway, which will provide for those who decide our district is a great place to live and work. Meanwhile, the Citizen’s Oversight Committee continues to provide useful insight and advice during these challenging economic times. We all work for you, and the committee’s efforts help provide a clearer path we can follow. The county’s response to the severe winter storms of 2011, although challenging, demonstrated the hard work and commitment of our employees. They deserve our thanks. I will demonstrate my own commitment by continuing to work with the community and the residents in formulating plans for Cobb County. Adhering to these road maps will lead us to great places.
Jo Ann Birrell
District Three Commissioner
My first year in office has been a very humbling, challenging and rewarding experience. All that has been accomplished in the district and for the county could not have been done without the volunteers who serve on the various boards and committees, our wonderful department heads and staff and the input and feedback from citizens of Cobb. 2011 saw an approved master plan for Mabry Park, a revised Purchasing Ordinance that gives preferences to local vendors and the launch of the Keep it in Cobb Committee. In addition, more than $50,000 was raised at the Library Foundation’s first annual gala, the Cobb Convention and Visitors Bureau is now Cobb Travel and Tourism and our communications team kept Cobb residents informed at every turn. The recycling centers throughout the county now include a book recycling program. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that 2012 brings as we continue to push for fiscal accountability and transparency through consolidation, streamlining and reorganization. The county tagline "Expect the Best" is only possible with the invaluable expertise and teamwork provided by county staff. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you in 2011 and will continue to serve you in 2012.
District Four Commissioner
Cobb County is working to bring a unified vision to continued improvements in District Four, particularly in the Six Flags, Mableton and River Line areas. Our South Cobb Implementation Strategy brought together a variety of accomplishments made in the area during the past five years and set the groundwork for how our county departments will persist with progress there. It also helps bring together various government and private groups so we can collaborate on the best way to accomplish these goals. Additionally, the state Department of Community Affairs designated a portion of the Six Flags Enterprise Zone and “Opportunity Zone,” which will help reduce taxes for businesses that create new jobs. These efforts, matched by the hard work of Cobb County government employees, will help us realize our full potential in the years to come. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of representing this fine community. Together, we can reach our goals.