Rush to vote on Braves’ move amazing
November 22, 2013 12:00 AM | 1427 views | 4 4 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

It is amazing that Cobb leaders are rushing to vote on the Braves financing deal by Nov. 26, the deal just having been made public on Nov. 11, and an abbreviated outline of the financings just released on Nov. 14. Something with as much potential impact on Cobb County should not be done in such a hurry. Cobb taxpayers should be allowed to vote on whether we want the county to spend $300 million of our tax money to subsidize what one has to assume is a wealthy sports franchise.

For openers, we should wonder about a couple of things the Braves cited as rationales for the move.

They said Turner Field did not have good access to major roadways. What? You can walk from Turner Field to access ramps for I-75/85 and I-20. Somewhere down the road, the Braves could use that same reasoning to give Cobb County the shaft.

We read the Braves have an option to buy the 60 acres from a private landowner. If the Braves can afford to buy it, let them do it. But if ownership is then transferred to the Cobb Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, that little sleight-of-hand will take the property off the tax digest, so that’s one more cost (loss of tax revenue) to Cobb taxpayers.

Right now, the Cobb Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority owns the Cobb Galleria Centre and the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center. That real estate is exempt from property taxes if you check the tax assessment records. A check of the online tax assessor records also shows an appraised value of over $5.5 million for personal property between the Cobb Energy Centre and the Cobb Galleria Centre on which it appears no tax is being collected.

One very troubling phrase in the financing details is that Cobb will finance $8.6 million of its annual subsidy to the Braves by a “reallocation of existing revenues.” If the county has this much money to transfer to the Braves every year, I’d rather they reduce our property taxes by a commensurate amount. There needs to be a lot of explanation on this annual $8.7 million “reallocation of existing revenue.”

Finally, there is some rumbling that if we get the Braves, MARTA will not be far behind. The last thing we want is for Cobb residents to have to pay the extra MARTA sales tax and for Cobb County to be on the hook to underwrite MARTA’s probable future needs due to its mismanagement.

Paul Chellis Marietta
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MayrettaGuy
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November 22, 2013
I have a few comments in no particular order here:

1.) Apparently there's a big rumor that Colonial Pipeline has a couple very large gas lines that run directly under that piece of property. Supposedly this will throw a major kink into their (un)thought out plans. That's very interesting but just a rumor so far. Keep an ear out on this one though.

2.) Everyone is pretty scared that MARTA will come to Cobb. I don't think so. Take a look at the ticket sales map the Braves released. Most of the fans are coming from the north/east. There's just not enough fans coming from the city to justify MARTA rail or bus. If anything CCT could be expanded to pick up fans just outside the county lines at various park and ride locations.

When it comes to Cobb County residents,

*****!!!!!THERE NEEDS TO BE A VOTE!!!!!*****

Whether the tax payers pay the entire bill or even if it doesn't cost them a dime, there should be some input from the citizens. The impact that it will have on the county, financially and even non-financially is too great. If the majority of residents are "for" the new stadium like most news outlets are claiming, then our elected officials should have no fear in putting it before us so we can decide for ourselves.

I don't like the area around Turner Field anymore than the next guy, and I like the idea of having my hometown ball team so closeby, but is it really a good deal for Cobb residents? I don't think so.
AmericanMale
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November 22, 2013
First, I love the Braves and would love for them to call Cobb home. BUT, I do not trust Tim Lee and his hand-chosen allies to do what's best for Cobb citizens!

I know county and school district funds are separate. However, this decision WILL impact an already cash-strapped school district!! Here's some insight:

Gwinnett County is the largest district in the state and Cobb is second largest. They are very similar. But, Cobb receives no state equalization grant funding and Gwinnett receives millions. WHY? Those grants are based on property digest wealth (not actual taxes collected). That means valuable land that doesn't generate taxes ALSO hurts our revenue stream from the state!

So not only will it fail to generate property taxes, it will also push our state EQ grants lower for our school district! SPLOST funding will rise, though, so we can afford to build more buildings, but we won't be able to staff them.

Do the deal, but WITH a supporting tax revenue stream!
Concerned Citizen
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November 22, 2013
I am also amazed at how fast this deal is being pushed through. It takes a certain amount of time to build an organized opposition movement, and as Cobb County tax payers, we should have that right. We need more time to consider the pro’s and con’s of the Braves coming to Cobb, along with more town hall meetings and public discussions on this major issue.
Lib in Cobb
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November 22, 2013
@Paul: Thank you. I have been asking very similar questions. We, as the taxpayers of Cobb, are going to pay up for this money pit at some point.
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