Board of Commissioners
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Cobb Commission Chairman
The past year has been better for us than I would have expected. And even as we continue to get good news this year, we are poised and ready to move forward into 2013. We will seize every opportunity that presents itself in order to maintain and keep this community as great as its reputation.
Cobb’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this year on a plan to reduce property taxes. This vote was the first step in a five-year effort to reduce the general fund portion of property taxes back to pre-recession levels.
In 2011, I made a commitment to balance the county’ budget and provide property tax relief at the first opportunity. This past year, commissioners approved the initial step in this effort. We will reduce our current millage rate from 7.72 mills to 7.52 mills. Current estimates are that a .20 decrease each year during the next four years and a .10 decrease in the fifth year will enable us to return to 6.82 mills. We will do this with a continued focus on providing an efficient and effective level of government services.
Our 2011 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax has already started almost half of the 170 transportation projects planned. This puts the program well ahead of schedule. For instance, we’ve completed 15 construction projects, although we had only planned to have five done by this time.
Most recently, the commission approved numerous upgrades to the technology Cobb County Department of Transportation uses to manage traffic and make everyone’s drive easier. It’s just one of many ways that we maximize every expenditure and make every cent count.
Our fiscal conservatism is reflected in our consistent “Triple A” for our General Obligation bonds since 1997 from the three major rating agencies. This places Cobb in the top 1 percent of counties nationwide and puts us in the best possible position to seize the moment for continued improvement of our community.
I ask that you join with myself, commissioners and county employees to help make our combined efforts have an impact for the betterment of Cobb County. Together, we can make the best possible difference.
District One Commissioner
Cobb County and District One have seen ever-increasing progress in economic development and the services we are able to deliver to the community this past year. This has resulted in a quality of life difficult to match in the metro region. In our district, we’ve seen the completion of several single family subdivisions. Thanks to the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, we were able to complete the Big Shanty connector, bringing traffic relief to the Town Center and Kennesaw State University areas. We opened the Senior Wellness Center in Marietta, bringing needed services to residents. At our Safety Village, we have also begun providing classes to our senior citizens. Sponsorships from businesses such as Metro Atlanta Ambulance and UPS have helped us continue to add to the village, and thereby continue the safety education of our youth. For our part, we’ve continued to streamline government operations and make it more cost efficient. I now serve on the county’s compensation committee, which was formed based on the recommendation of the Citizens Oversight Committee. I pledge to you that I will continue to serve your interests by keeping costs down and government responsive to your needs.
District Two Commissioner
If there’s one meeting I always look forward to having, it’s the town hall meetings held in District Two. They allow me to meet with you face-to-face and hear your concerns. I believe this is the best way to share information about happenings in the county that can impact you and the best way for me to get information about what you believe needs to be done in our district. A lot of great things have happened in our part of the county during the past year. For example, the roadwork around Sope Creek Elementary was improved and this will impact the lives of both the children who learn there and the families who will use it to their benefit every day. It was made possible by Cobb’s willingness to work with the community in a true partnership and maintaining communications between the county, neighbors and school officials. Meanwhile, there has been about $500 million worth of development across the district from Vinings and Smyrna to Cumberland and into East Cobb, and we can expect some exciting new projects to be built here in the near future. I believe such efforts will continue to improve our quality of life and, by extension, our county. I look forward to working with you this next year to continue to build upon the positives our district achieved during 2012.
Jo Ann Birrell
District Three Commissioner
We are grateful for and proud of our many accomplishments in 2012. We have engaged residents, a committed County staff and a second-to-none business community. We implemented the Canton Road Redevelopment Foundation, Inc. to spur redevelopment and investment opportunities along Canton Road. We are home to the new Home Depot Call Center, the Kaiser Permanente expansion around Town Center area and will be home to two Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets and the Movie Tavern. Additionally, the Keep it in Cobb Committee and the Purchasing Department hosted two "How to do Business with Cobb" seminars. While our business community expands, our residential base does also. We welcome new neighbors as 7 subdivisions are under construction. Current and new residents can travel a portion of the district with some ease thanks to our first roundabout in District 3. Mabry Park will be a jewel in the community, as we work hard to bring its master plan to life. This year, we introduced a weekly newsletter to inform citizens of road projects and community events in District 3. 2012 has been exciting and we anticipate many new opportunities in 2013. I am truly honored and humbled to be your public servant.
District Four Commissioner
After 12 years of representing District Four, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve you as a county commissioner. Even during difficult times, I have seen community residents and county government come together in a constant effort to improve south Cobb County. I am proud of our successes, especially the regional library we built in south Cobb, which I consider a centerpiece of the district. I also take great pride in the South Cobb Recreation Center on Six Flags Drive. The multi-million project became part of a campus that includes a building for the Boys and Girls Club of America, a new aquatic center and a location for our local health department. During my tenure, we’ve seen paving and other improvements to the Silver Comet Trail, the creation of the Mable House Amphitheatre and additional developments that have improved the quality of life for our residents. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for District Four and will join the ongoing effort as a private citizen to make it a better place.