Principal weighs in on Franklin Road area
by Rachel Gray
October 18, 2013 12:39 AM | 3336 views | 9 9 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Suzanne Payne and Susan Marshall, who both live near Marietta High School, point to a detailed poster board with maps at the city’s 2nd town hall meeting this month about the $68 million redevelopment bond.<br>Staff/Rachel Gray
From left, Suzanne Payne and Susan Marshall, who both live near Marietta High School, point to a detailed poster board with maps at the city’s 2nd town hall meeting this month about the $68 million redevelopment bond.
Staff/Rachel Gray
slideshow
MARIETTA — Marietta High School Principal Leigh Colburn says the high transiency rate along Franklin Road, with thousands of students moving in and out of the city school system, makes it difficult to prepare those young adults for graduation.

“I want a commitment from this city to stabilize that area,” Colburn said during a town hall meeting at her school Thursday evening about the proposed $68 million redevelopment bond.

About 35 people turned out for the meeting with most eager for more details before making a final decision on Election Day, Nov. 5.

If it passes, the $68 million bond would be used to purchase and demolish properties along Franklin Road to parcel together cleared land to entice developers.

Greg and Susan Marshall, who have lived in Marietta since 1979 and own a home near the high school, said they are leaning toward voting for the bond, but want to make sure it is the right choice. Greg Marshall said he wanted to know what the bond amount would mean for his family financially.

If the bond passes, it would increase property taxes by 2 mills over a projected 20 years. That means the owner of a $200,000 home would see a tax increase of $160 per year and the owner of a $400,000 home would see a $320 annual increase, according to the city.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said there is a chance the proposed redevelopment efforts intended for Franklin Road could cost less than the $68 million that the resolution would authorize the city to borrow.

The loan amount could be extracted in chunks, meaning the amount of debt the city would owe could be less, Tumlin said.

Joan Major, who lives in the Carriage Oaks subdivision off Whitlock Avenue, said she already voted for the bond Thursday morning.

“I do believe we need development on Franklin Road and I do believe in this project on Whitlock,” Major said.

Marietta residents have until Nov. 1 for early voting at the Cobb Elections Main Office at the West Park Government Center at 736 Whitlock Ave. between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Of the $68 million allocated for the bond, $4 million is earmarked for pedestrian and landscape improvements to Whitlock Avenue.

Dan Conn, the city’s public works director, said a portion of the money would be used to line the street from Oakmont Drive to Kirkpatrick Drive on both sides with sidewalks.

The less than one mile stretch, a block west of North Marietta Parkway to a block east of Marietta High School, would also include new traffic signal technology that could help with the commuter traffic congestion, Conn said.

Tumlin said if the redevelopment bond does not pass Nov. 5, there is a chance the street improvements on Whitlock Avenue could be accomplished with federal funding and a new special purpose local option sales tax. The 2011 SPLOST expires in 2015.

Groups seek Yes and No votes

At least two political action groups have taken to the streets, positioning yard signs and passing out literature to push residents to either vote yes or no on the bond.

The signs are “starting to pop up all over Marietta like kudzu,” said Lance Lamberton, president of the Cobb County Taxpayers Association, which is behind the group Vote NO.

Lamberton said his group has not filed a report with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission to disclose how much has been raised or spent on its Vote NO campaign.

“Our side does not have to file a report because we are only spending $28 for the signs, and have raised less than $100 for our campaign,” he said.

Lamberton said the cost of printing brochures, which he has passed out at numerous city meetings, were donated by a printer.

On the other side of the debate is Vote Yes Marietta, co-founded by public policy strategists Heath Garrett and Mitch Hunter, who filed their campaign disclosures with the state Aug. 30.

The report says Vote Yes Marietta raised $1,800 in cash contributions, including $500 donations from city attorney Doug Haynie’s wife, Susan Haynie, and Travis Watson of Austell, a dentist with Atlanta West Dentistry.

The report also says Vote Yes Marietta spent about $520 on “Voter Data for the city of Marietta” from the public relations and political consulting firm, SSH, Inc.

That information has been used to send registered voters glossy flyers in the mail and call home phones with automated messages about the crime issues surrounding Franklin Road.
Comments
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anonymous
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October 19, 2013
The Dropout rate exists because of many Factors

not just Franklin Rd. The School Board and Mayor plus Ms. Colburn are so concerned about the students and Families on Franklin Rd that they want to Displace them .. Marietta wants to become a lily White System and if you look closely .. Brown Vs. Board does not exist in this system . Tell The Truth - most of the Families on Franklin Rd. are of the darker hue That is the real issue .
Vote NO
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October 18, 2013
Voting NO. MCS just want fewer poor kids on their rolls. The city in general has attempted to demolish and push out all low-income people in the last ten years, and I vote no. How about dealing with the issues of poverty and bringing all citizens up, offering community ed classes and outreach to the people of that area, giving them real opportunities to be a part of the community instead of OM shunting them to the side or sending them out into the county?

Make no mistake: Colburn isn't worried about the transient kids. She's worried about the ones who stay. Understandable to some degree, but don't pretend to be concerned about kids whose houses you are about to demolish so some developer can come in and build a warehouse or a strip mall. Taking 1,600 low-SES students out of MCS? Administrators are thrilled.
anonymous
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October 18, 2013
You obviously know nothing about the principal at MHS or her impeccable character. Why are you not concerned that kids are being raised in such a bad, dangerous area. Ask a police officer who patrols that area-
anonymous
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October 18, 2013
The problem is that the people don't stay in one place long enough to benefit from the outreach. Believe me, tons of outreach and resources go into that area, from the city and the school district. Clearly you have no idea what's going on or you'd know that already. Be happy with your no vote and move along.
why lamberton
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October 18, 2013
Why is Lamberton from Cobb County Taxpayers Assocation involved in a City of Marietta property tax vote? This is not a Cobb County tax and it will not have any tax impact the wallets of ruralburban Cobb, so why is the Me Party stirring someone else's pot? Shut yourselves down, Tea Freaks. Leave the liberal city folk alone please. If the city folk want to tax themselves, why is that any kind of issue to you?

Tea Freaks aside, why is this tax described as $160 per year for 20 years on a $200,000 home? Why not describe it as what it is? It's $3,200 out of pocket for a $200,000 home which means you can't save and invest that $3,200, so the opportunity cost for the owner of a $200,000 home is more like $10,000.

Which homes around downtown Marietta cost as little as $200,000 anymore? Hardly any! That is a West Cobb price, so Marietta taxpayers are looking at $15,000 to $25,000 lost over 20 years to Franklin Rd.

Speaking of opportunity cost, claims were made the Franklin Rd project will happen whether or not the bond passes. That means the $68 million bond is optional because $68 million can be found elsewhere in the city budget. Where would that $68 million come from? Whatever it would be spent on if the bond passes, that is what we are really voting on!

And of course, lest we forget last time and the time before that and the time before that, $68 is bare minimum theoretical cost due to "we did not anticipate that prices would go up during the 20 year project and did not budget for that," so we are talking more like $300 million before we're done aren't we
anonymous
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October 18, 2013
Yea these people are pushing Marietta Care for Franklin Road but probably don’t like Obama Care and Marietta have only lost a few million here and there on these types of projects. Marietta has knocked down public housing and pushed crime into Cobb County. This in turn has helped hold down prices of recovering neighborhoods in Cobb County way to Marietta. Be sure to vote yes for more taxes and help an rich construction company out.
Offering Help
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October 18, 2013
To lower the number of students retained and increase the graduation rate it is important to implement programs, activities, and procedures for the involvement of parents. To increase parental involvement, community collaboration and business partnerships the Marietta City Schools Office of Communications, the Office of Special Services and the Office of Curriculum must take a more active role. Our Board of Education should start holding these offices and the Superintendent more accountable.
Principal's comments
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October 18, 2013
I am not for the bond and I was at the meeting. The principal did not weigh in supporting the bond and this article makes it sound like she did. She started her statements saying she had worked with the Franklin Road students for more than a decade and whether the bond passed or not that she wanted a committment from the city to stabilize the area. Most of the opponents of the bond want the same thing, we just dont think the bond is the way to do it. I couldnt tell if the principal was for the bond or against it. She said she'd love to keep all of her students - she just wants them to live in an area with less in and out so the school can prepare better the city's young people for jobs in our city. I had the impression that her comments to the city were meant to let the city know that if the bond didnt pass, she wanted them to know they still needed to work to improve the area. I thought this was the most balanced meeting Ive attended with a lot of back and forth. Mayor Tumlin, I dont support the bond but I appreciate having the opportunity to come and be better informed. I think you all need to do a better job of saying what you are going to do with the money and how the area is going to change. Right now, there are too many questions unanswered for me to support the bond.
ProJour
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October 18, 2013
As a school system employee, Ms Colburn is prohibited by law to advocate for or against any political issue in her role as principal and on school system property. She can share information about the issue, which it appears she was doing here.
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