Officials: Growth prompts need for more staff
by Nikki Wiley
February 03, 2014 12:00 AM | 266 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

MARIETTA - Nurturing growth in Cobb County is becoming a more difficult job, and another county staffer is needed to help head up revitalization efforts, Cobb's community development director says.

As the county transitions from suburban to urban, more redevelopment projects are being tackled and responsibilities of Cobb's Community Development Agency are growing, said Rob Hosack, director of the agency.

The Cobb Board of Commissioners will consider spending about $150,000 to hire a deputy director for the development agency. That amount includes costs of benefits and advertising the position. About $72,000 is allotted for the position's salary.

Hosack was paid a salary of $146,927 last year.

The request for the new development position follows Cobb Chairman Tim Lee's statement last week the county is considering plans to buy up aging apartment complexes along Six Flags Drive for redevelopment.

It's a plan similar to the one Marietta voters approved in November. Marietta residents gave the city permission to raise taxes to fund a $68 million redevelopment bond issuance, the proceeds of which will be used to purchase aging apartments on Franklin Road, raze them and sell the empty lots to developers.

But instead of holding a referendum, like in Marietta, and letting elected officials take the lead on the project, Cobb's potential plan would be handled through the unelected South Cobb Redevelopment Authority.

Hosack said the county's development agency is responsible for providing staff support and administration for the Redevelopment Authority.

Responsibilities growing

Other duties of the development agency, which has a budget of $7.2 million and 100 employees, are also growing, Hosack said.

"We have over the years been kind of assuming a number of responsibilities related to like revitalization and redevelopment," Hosack said.

He pointed to the Braves' move to Cobb as the latest example.

New opportunities will be presented, Hosack said, but Cobb will also have to consider how to handle specialized building inspections and other issues that the county hasn't dealt with in the past.

"We think we're probably going to have to change some of our laws as it relates to vendors," Hosack said.

Cobb also maintains a county-wide redevelopment inventory, which includes south Cobb and Canton Road sites, and Hosack expects duties associated with that to grow this year as more sites are identified.

An effort to prevent duplications of services, including water, sewer and parks, among Cobb's six cities and county governments will also be taken on in 2014.

"I think this is going to help the agency focus on a lot of the new more urban stuff that we're going to encounter and what we've been expecting to encounter as we become more developed and more urban in nature rather than suburban," Hosack said.

New human resources coordinator needed

Commissioners will also consider a request for a new human resources coordinator in the county's human resources department, which has a budget of almost $2.5 million and 23 full-time staffers.

The request is for about $93,000, which includes costs of advertising the new job and benefits. The salary request is for about $41,000.

Tony Hagler, director of human resources, was paid a salary of $105,890 last year.

Cobb has seen an increase of about 70 percent in job applications over the last four years, Hagler said.

"Now that the economy has gotten better, there's much more turnover," Hagler said.

That means more time is needed to process applications.The human resources coordinator position was not filled when the last employee to hold the post retired, Hagler said.

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