Competitive EDGE: Program best backed by private funds, not public
January 17, 2013 12:00 AM | 1968 views | 8 8 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cobb Chamber’s “Competitive EDGE” program is back in the spotlight this week after being talked up by Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee in his “State of the County” speech at the Chamber’s First Monday Breakfast.

“This program, EDGE, is the most important initiative we as a community can take on in 2013,” Lee said. “It is imperative that we all take part in its execution and its success. It is vitally important to the long-term success of our great county.”

The Chamber unveiled its EDGE program — modeled on a similar program used by Gwinnett County — to great fanfare in 2011, envisioning a public-private partnership worth $4 million for the next five years. The program would have a total impact of 16,454 new jobs and a payroll impact of $796 million, according to the Chamber.

But the Chamber miscalculated the level of enthusiasm for the program, especially when it came to the $500,000 per year in public dollars it was hoping to see come its way from the county government, local cities and two local school boards. It got quick “No”s from Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin, the school superintendents and most of the cities. The only county commissioner to show enthusiasm for it was Lee.

After the elected officials declined to pony up, the Chamber put the EDGE on its backburner.

THERE’S NO QUESTION that Cobb needs to be competitive when it comes to economic development. As Lee noted in his speech, businesses don’t land here just by chance anymore.

And the Chamber and Lee have now put the EDGE program back on the front burner. Indeed, the Chamber has quietly raised $630,000 from private sources for the program in the past year or so, an indication of just how important they think it is.

Lee did not specifically say on Monday that he thinks tax dollars should be used to pay for the EDGE. And we hope it doesn’t come to that.

As Lee correctly stated, it will take a community-wide effort to keep Cobb competitive going forward. And our local governments and school boards can do their part by keeping taxes low, providing quality services more efficiently, minimizing red tape for business and by maintaining quality public education systems.

With the economic outlook still highly uncertain, budget holes to fill, take-home pay going down and health-care costs going up, this is not the time to be diverting tax dollars away from the core missions of local government.

* THE CHAMBER’S COMPETITIVE EDGE PROGRAM may well give Cobb a competitive edge, and we wish it success. But it’s a program that needs to be supported financially by private funds, not public dollars.
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talk is cheap
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January 18, 2013
Cobb has not worked a plan.

Talk alot, but NO ACTION!

The proof is the Cobb Parkway corridor. As soon as you come off the exit from I-285, if you don't turn left to Vinings, a right turn will drop you immediately into an uncared for, negleted area.

Smyrna has brought nothing to it's city in the 25 years of the Bacon dynasty, except public buildings paid for by the 50,000 taxpayers in Smyrna.

A city that large should have at least ONE vibrant area. You would think, being right by the Galleria, the city should be more than smoke shops, gas stations,mexican resturants & churches, transient & low income apartments. But it's not!

Welcome to po' Smyrna. Po' n proud!

I see the buildings and condos being built in the Perimeter area. The home prices in Dunwoody are solid.

Gwinnett scouted out the tech businesses. They have become known worldwide now, as a financial tech/data center.

Check their chambers list of large corporations and companies that are moving their world headquarters to the I-85 corridor, which is growing Norcross, Duluth & Suwanee.

They will reap huge benefits from a high tax base & educated , higher income residents.
Be Careful
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January 17, 2013
I saw the Chamber EDGE presentation in a meeting about a year ago. It was a pitiful power point slide show any elementary school student could have put together. They were quoting numbers pulled from data more than 5 years old.

The kept saying "this wil happen", and "that will happen", without offering any evidence to back up their claims.

TIC
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January 17, 2013
The public sector has already funded their portion of the economic development initiative.

The county and every city has at least one person dedicated to addressing economic development issues.

I don't know, but I suspect that the public sector (funded by tax dollars) in Cobb is already contributing more than $500,000 a year.

Now it is time for the private sector to come to the table in a significant way. The Chamber is the vehicle for the private sector effort.

They are the ones that need to motivate the private sector to participate and contribute.

If their leadership (the Chamber) can't manage it without the dedication of even more public dollars then replace them and find someone who can.
Kudos to TIC
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January 18, 2013
Kudos, TIC. Finally, finally, someone with intelligent comments and solutions and great insight and good writing presentation comes along--you. Thanks.
Changing World
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January 17, 2013
Demographics are changing in this country and so are income levels. I think the South are the ones that are having the hardest time dealing with this fact, and it is a fact, like it or not. Income levels have changed. Housing prices have changed. Need for corporate office space has changed. With this comes a greater need for private citizens to accept this change. There is no need to resist it. It is here. We are an America in transition.
Agree With You
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January 18, 2013
Yep. Yep. Yep. You are so very right. We are in perhaps the greatest change our nation has faced ever. Right on. Those that can't and don't accept it will just be unhappy forever. We all need to come together to make the transition a happy one and a fair one for all of us, while respecting all people and giving all due respect...the wealthy included. We need to be all inclusive in our fairness and be very, very, very, extremely careful to not become a socialist society during the transition that is taking place in America, but to remain a democracy.
Get It Yet?
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January 17, 2013
It will take a community-wide effort to keep Cobb competitive going forward, not naysayers and downer people that will post out here about Smyrna and Bacon. Ho-hum, this is not about your hatred of Smyrna and Bacon. That said, demographics are not only changing, the work force is changing to many more telecommuters that do not require the office space in the Galleria area I worked in for years--I am one of them. And my company sees the advantage of this. This entire country is in a time of change and a lot of things are uncertain for all of us. Obamacare. Even government leaders do not understand what is in store for 2014. Housing prices. While my parents depended on a retirement income from the sale of their house and their pension from a company they worked many years for, this is no longer the case. Please do not post about this article with accusations of corruptness. We are in a changing environment that is a challenge for everyone right now. We need to offer support to our elected government leaders. We can offer constructive rebuttal, but they are our leaders like it or not. Facts are facts--there is not as large a need for corporate office space as their once was; look up corporate office building vacancies. There is less of a need for local bars and restaurants as people trim their budgets. I bought a short sale in Kennesaw for $130 that sold for $215 five years ago. Get it, people, get it. The buzz word right now is survival. I have a family member that owns a home in coveted Grant Park they paid $210 for 5 years ago and the house next door goes for $130 which is a joke of what they will actually get--lucky at $80 maybe, just maybe. Get it, people, get it, at the situation we are in. NOT as a county--as a country. Get it people and stop posting out here of your hatred of Bacon.
irked
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January 18, 2013
Perhaps we should let the private sector decide what the private sector will look like.

Perhaps those businesses already here in Cobb not focused on building things or not in the medical profession have a different priority than the handful of developers and WellStar people that created this plan.

Do we need more development if we cannot support the development we allowed years ago?
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