The 2008 Park Bonds should be issued now, yet at the Tuesday, July 26, 7pm Board meeting, Commissioner Lee plans to reduce the Debt Service Fund, which pays for park bonds, by .1 millage (equal to an $8 refund for the average homeowner this year). This .1 reduction would zero out the Debt Service Fund for future Park Bond funding, because the Braves will take the rest of the millage in that fund, .23 of the total .33 millage currently available.
(Email the Commissioners here if you can't attend the July 26 7pm meeting.)
1) The Chairman's efforts to reduce the millage again threatens the easy issuance of Park Bond 2008.
2) Reducing the rate nets approximately $8 per homeowner vs keeping it the same rate and using the money to fund the Park Bond, which would save 100s of acres of valuable Cobb parkland to enhance our communities and provide an oasis of greenspace amid all the rapid development.
3) The millage represents tax dollars collected from citizens, and shouldn't we have a say in how it is used?
4) Reducing the Debt service fund to "zero" puts the future funding of the Park Bond in jeopardy especially if the economy underperforms.
From the Marietta Daily Journal article Cobb Commission Chairman proposes even lower millage rate: "Lee said he believed the county could operate normally under the revenues to be collected under the proposed millage. 'As long as our economy is expanding, we can maintain the lower millage rate and still fund everything we need to do,' he said."
We want to make sure the 'everything' includes funding the Park Bond 2008 Referendum as planned. For years many Cobb citizens were told the Park Bond 2008 funds could not be issued due to the economy, but we just learned the 2006 Park Bonds will actually be paid off 2 years early (in 2016 instead of 2018), which means the 2008 Park Bonds could have & should have been funded before.
The money for Park Bond 2008 has been and can continue to be there, we just need the Board of Commissioners to do the right thing by using the .1 millage available in the Debt Service Fund to fund the Park Bond 2008 as intended. Would you rather have 300 acres of pristine parkland or a one-time $8 refund? The choice is clear.
Plus, the longer the Board waits to fund the Park Bond, the less acreage we can buy with $40 million voters approved. In fact, at least 15 of the 29 "crown jewels" selected for purchase with the Park Bond 2008 funds by the Cobb County Citizen Advisory Committee have already been developed.
Many other properties chosen as parkland haven't been saved yet, such as the 54-acre Baker goat farm in District 1, the 54-acre Tritt property in District 2, 46-acre Bells Ferry property in District 3, and the 23-acre Furr property in District 4.
Every district in Cobb has green jewels that need saving. Of course, the Board could purchase these properties or any properties as parkland at any time even without a Park Bond referendum, before it's too late.