Sunday, May 22, 2011
Some ideas on moving away from a system based heavily on property values.
A major problem for local governments all over the country (and especially Cobb County, Georgia) is the effect on revenues due to shrinking property values. Most local governments fund their budgets by way of property taxes. From the government's perspective, property taxes are a great way to fund government services. Property values are generally stable and usually increase at a reasonable rate. As such, local governments have (in the past) been able to predict with some certainty how much money they will have to spend in the next year's budget. Some communities even get somewhat creative with their "No Tax Increase" pledges by simply reassessing everyone's property as a function of general inflation in real estate values. However, what…
Sunday, March 27, 2011
A roundup of the top headlines making news in the past week.
1. Cobb SPLOST results certified -- The Cobb Board of Elections on Monday made official the March 15 referendum that extended the single penny sales tax for a wide range of transportation and other improvements by a slender 79 votes. 2. Cobb commissioners spurn tax increase -- Four of the five commissioners, including Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell of East Cobb, said Tuesday they would not support raising any millage rates to close a projected $31 million county budget deficit for fiscal year 2011. 3. Cobb TSPLOST wish list unveiled -- County offiicials had an open house to disclose priorities for the 2012 metro Atlanta regional transportation SPLOST referendum, including the widening Roswell Road in East Cobb, as well as a $230 million …
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Ott chastened by changing goals for citizens financial review panel.
The chairman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners laid out plans Tuesday to find ways to tighten the county’s belt and move forward with adjusting the current budget. Finance officials are predicting Cobb could end the fiscal year in September with a $28 million shortfall if nothing changes. On March 22, county staff will present the commissioners with several options to make up the shortfall before the fiscal year ends. The commissioners will then need to agree on a strategy moving forward so that a revised budget for the remainder of this year can be approved by April 12, Commission Chairman Tim Lee said. Lee also announced plans to move forward with a citizens oversight committee that will establish priorities for county-provided services…
Monday, March 7, 2011
After Saturday's rainy rally, another 'Ax the Tax' event is slated for this weekend.
- Kim Koch
Monday, March 7, 2011
Bad weather over the weekend didn't deter opponents of the Cobb Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, and they have another "Ax the Tax" rally planned Sunday, two days before the referendum. James Bell, director of the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, which sponsored Saturday's rainy rally on Marietta Square, reminded those in the crowd about the the March 15 vote and offered a rundown of his group's contention that past SPLOST money has been misspent. One example is the recent removal of trees that had been planted along Piedmont Road, which will be replaced with new trees as part of an appropriation in the new SPLOST. According to rally participants, the cost of the 1 percent sales tax breaks down to about $600 a year per Cobb County family…
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Early voting ends March 11, with the referendum set for March 15.
As of Friday morning, 1,315 voters in Cobb County had cast their early ballots in the decision for or against a new Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or SPLOST. That number includes residents who have requested mail-in ballots and those who have brought in ballots, said election officials. Early voting started Monday and ends March 11. The actual vote is March 15. If approved by voters, the special four-year tax would begin Jan. 1, 2012, just as the current one ends. The new one-cent on the dollar tax is projected to generate $492 million for parks, recreation and transportation maintenance projects. A forum on the subject was held Wednesday evening with about 130 residents present. Arguments for passage of the SPLOST were presented …
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
News and events related to the local option sales tax referendum.
1. The central Cobb voter registration office is the location for early voting in the Cobb Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum that began on Monday. Citizens may cast votes in person of the March 15 referendum Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, March 11. The central voting office is located at 736 Whitlock Avenue, Suite 400, near downtown Marietta. 2. If you want some more information or wish to hear opposing sides in the SPLOST debate, the League of Women Voters of Marietta-Cobb is holding the only public forum on the issue Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Cobb Board of Commissioners meeting room, 100 Cherokee St., 2nd floor, downtown Marietta. The participants will be Lance Lamberton of the Cobb County …
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The March 15 Cobb SPLOST referendum looms amid heightened anti-tax sentiment.
Over the last decade (especially the last couple of years) Americans have watched the size and scope of the federal government literally explode. The election results of 2006 and 2008 were partly due to unrestrained spending and earmarks by both Republicans and Democrats. The elections in November sent a resounding message to Washington from Americans that “We’re mad as Hell and we’re not going to take any more!” That message has reached almost every state and local government as well. Obviously, the recession has had profound effects on the American people and American business. But one of the most profound revelations from this recession is the severe lack of fiscal restraint and maturity among elected officials everywhere. It is obvious…
Monday, February 7, 2011
Debate sponsored by League of Women Voters of Marietta-Cobb.
Cobb residents interested in the proposed SPLOST extension can hear from both sides at a forum Feb. 23. If approved by voters in a March 15 referendum, the special four-year tax would begin Jan. 1, 2012, just as the current collection period ends. The new tax would generate $492 million for parks, recreation and transportation maintenance projects.. Arguments for passage of the SPLOST will be presented by Rose Wing of Citizens for Cobb’s Future, which supports the extension. Lance Lamberton, president of the Cobb County Taxpayers Association, will give the opposing view. The forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Marietta-Cobb, will begin at 7 p.m. in the government complex at 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta. The forum will also …
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Serving up some of the top stories from our first month online.
Since East Cobb Patch launched right as the holiday season began, we're spending some time this week highlighting some of the top stories from our first month in case you missed them. We went live after the November elections but sat down with some newly elected officials for Q & A sessions. And we jumped in right from the start as political pressure heated up on the Cobb Board of Commissioners, which has called for a March 11 referendum to extend the current Single Penny Local Option Sales Tax through 2017. 1. East Cobb Parks, Libraries Defended -- Advocates for improvements to parks and library facilities in East Cobb spoke in favor of the proposed SPLOST referendum as the Cobb commissioners grappled with a package that would meet …
Friday, December 17, 2010
Commissioners vote to preserve full services at East Cobb, South Cobb facilities.
The Cobb Board of Commissioners voted Thursday night to reverse an earlier budget decision and keep open the government service centers in East Cobb and South Cobb for at least 10 months. The unanimous vote came after Bob Ott and Woody Thompson, commissioners in the respective service center areas, received a heavy volume of complaints. The centers house public safety and tag offices that were not part of the budget cuts, as well as business offices where citizens can pay property taxes, water bills and apply for business licenses. Those offices were to have closed on Jan. 1 and would have affected five full time employees. Instead, the $250,000 cost savings will come from the reduction of one full-time staff position and privatizing the…