An open letter to the Cobb Board of Commissioners on parks bonds
Sep 21, 2016
As a supporter of the 2008 Parks Bond initiative since day one and having heard the proposed 2017 budget discussions of Aug. 23 and no response to public comment on the matter at the Sept. 13 Board of Commissioners meeting, I am concerned about the lack of results in putting Cobb County voters’ authorization of November 2008 back on track. As you understand better than I, this is mighty “late in the game” of finalizing the 2017 budget, having nothing to show for all that’s been written and said about making good on county leadership’s commitment established by the 2008 referendum decision.
Unless I am mistaken, only two commissioners have expressed any real support for finding the solution in 2017. As I understand the others’ views: A do-over on the referendum is not right; packaging it into a SPLOST initiative that can’t be voted on before March next year and then actually resourced many months later is nearly as wrong as the idea of starting all over; and then leaving it entirely for the next chairman to deal with ... what is up with that?
In a way, it’s unfortunate that the recreation board’s effort you directed won’t be complete before late October. But that’s not to say that you can’t commit funding in the 2017 budget to act on their findings and recommendations. And God forbid that another cycle of volunteer citizen effort of this scale at your behest could be wasted.
As I pointed out earlier, the decision was made in 2008: $40 million. A millage rate increase to cover it is not anathema to me and surely a majority of Cobb taxpayers would share that view if that’s what it were to come to. Wouldn’t you go for it rather than cut a different line on the budget to accommodate it? The only question remaining should be which properties to save from development.
So I wrap this up with a plea to make the $40 million dollar green space acquisition happen without further delay and a thank you in advance. I am confident you will come up with the right answer. Thank you for your time.
Sep 8, 2016
RE: Funding of $40 million Park Bond - MDJ Around Town, Aug. 6
Dear Commissioner (JoAnn) Birrell,
I could not agree with you more. The full $40 million Park and Greenspace bond should be funded ASAP! You state that $19 million is left in the 2008 bond so just divert $21 million from some other source such as the water system or our property taxes to fully fund the bond. The BOC obviously had no problem diverting funds from the water system to the general fund. Also, absconding with, without our permission, almost $9 million per year for 30 years to a private organization, the Braves, from our property taxes. With the Park Bond, you were given our permission with an overwhelming vote of 67 percent in favor of the $40 million. Since the BoC funded the Braves with $400 million it should be a snap for the BoC to come up with (divert) a paltry $21 million.
In a recent opinion article in the MDJ, Mr. Yarbrough compared Chairman Lee with Mr. Iacocca of Ford Motor Co. He said that the Braves may turn out to be Lee’s Mustang. Am now beginning to believe that it may be his Edsel!
Robert F Roth
Sep 6, 2016
Eight years ago, a promise was made by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners to its citizens to abide by the results of a referendum which unambiguously asked whether the board ought to issue a bond of indebtedness in the amount of $40 million for the purchase of land to be used for public parks. Sixty- seven percent — a supermajority — of those voting answered in the affirmative. Yet eight years later, no action has been taken to comply with this mandate, and the latest working budget allocates no money for park land. The promise has not been kept.
This is a question of honor. A promise has been made by Cobb County which it can and must keep. Failure to do so flouts the will of a supermajority.