In November, we entered into a historic public-private partnership that will have a positive impact on our county for generations to come. While our timetable for approval was condensed, our deliberation and analysis was thorough. This project, like any other, would only move forward if it proved to be a good deal for Cobb County.
Fortunately, we were in a strong position to take on the investment required. Our AAA bond rating was reaffirmed in April, and we remain the lowest-taxed county in metro Atlanta. While maintaining our fiscal conservatism, our long-term eye has been toward investing in the infrastructure we need to best manage our community’s growth.
So when the Cobb Commission approved the Memorandum of Understanding last November, it was apparent the Braves coming to Cobb County was a good deal for both parties. Today, I’m happy to report that recent projections indicate it’s a great deal for Cobb County.
Our original economic projections regarding the impact of the Braves were modest, relying on conservative numbers and an incomplete vision of what the organization’s mixed-use development would look like. What we have now is a much clearer picture of the true economic impact of the project, and there is little doubt it’s one that will positively transform our community for years to come.
Our tax revenues are 7.7 percent higher today than those original projections, enabling us to pass on a 10 percent reduction in the annual millage rate for the Cumberland CID Special District. Those revenues will continue to climb in the coming years.
In the first full year of operation, the ballpark and mixed-use development will yield $12.6 million in sales and property taxes to Cobb County. This is on a site that, in 2012, yielded only $307,000 in tax dollars.
This is a tremendous return on investment for Cobb County. As a point of reference, Cobb County homeowners will pay $86.7 million during the course of the first 10 years of the project. During this same time frame, the return to the community is projected to be $132.3 million through enhanced sales and property tax revenues. Cobb County schools stand to receive an additional $63.7 million in tax revenues during the first decade of ballpark and mixed-use development’s operation.
These numbers don’t even take into consideration the ancillary benefits connected with the project, such as increases in property tax values, payroll tax revenues and the more than 6,000 new jobs projected for Cobb County.
As I noted earlier, the partnership with the Braves is a great deal for Cobb County. Working with my fellow commissioners and our county’s talented staff, it’s been our goal to make that so. That’s the Cobb County way: identifying strategic, future investments that will yield a positive return for our community while maintaining our commitment to be the most fiscally responsible county in the country.
I’m excited about the beginning of this new chapter in the Cobb County story, knowing investments like these that will further enhance what makes this community such a special place to live, work and … play ball.
Tim Lee is chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners.