All bond issuances should be voted on by citizens
Oct 24, 2016
I am sure that many of us feel the same as Mr. Lawrence (“We’ve got to do everything possible to move traffic along,” Letters, 10/13/2016).
Unfortunately, I don’t believe this will happen.
1. Per the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority bond indenture all Cobb County taxpayers will receive additional annual property tax assessments to cover revenue shortfalls under the Sun Trust Park bonds. The Sun Trust Park bond indenture can be found at: emma.msrb.org/EP869776-EP673662-EP1075327.pdf
2. Based on my Oct. 6 conversation with a representative of the Cobb County finance department in response to my Oct. 4 email to Commissioner Ott, I found that excess revenues in the amount of $6.4 million collected via countywide property taxes for the now fully funded $40 million Parks Bond will be transferred to the Cobb County General Fund and from there to assist in the payments on the Sun Trust bonds, amortization of which begins July 1, 2017.
The third FAQ on the undated Cobb County Government website noted below states that .33 mills currently being levied for the Parks Bonds will be transferred to help pay for Sun Trust Park. It further states that it was approved by a four to one vote taken Nov. 13, 2013. I certainly hope the year is a typo as the Sun Trust Park bonds did not come into existence until 2015.
I have been unable to locate the Parks Bond indenture so am unable to determine the authority of the Cobb Commissioners to divert excess funds from the Parks Bond assessments to Sun Trust Park, however, I feel that a tax assessment should terminate once the purpose for which it was levied is fully funded.
Considering this transfer of funds and the fact that the Sun Trust Park bond obligates all Cobb County taxpayers despite our not being given an opportunity to vote on it, I suggest the following: All future proposals for the issuance of bonds by Cobb County not only be put to the vote of the taxpayers but full disclosure be made by making a final draft of the complete bond indenture available to the taxpayers before a vote is called.