Funding Braves stadium by voodoo gov't action
July 05, 2014 01:05 AM | 1455 views | 2 2 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR,

The citizens of Marietta pay both county and city property taxes. We currently pay .33 mills in county property tax for a county parks bond passed in a county wide referendum in 2008. I also pay .61 mills for a $25 million city parks bond passed in a city wide referendum in 2009. Obviously, I am paying for duplicate services and have never received any benefits from the tax money I have contributed in support of the county’s recreational land acquisitions, recreational facilities and recreational programs.

It now appears that by some voodoo government action the county is going to shift the .33 mills of property taxes I and the other residents of Marietta pay for the county parks bond to the County General Fund when these bonds expire in 2017-18 to finance construction of the Braves baseball stadium. I consider this action both legally and ethically wrong.

The stated purpose of the original 2008 recreational bond was to acquire public open space in unincorporated portions of Cobb County. It was not passed to build a professional baseball park. Even if County officials can by some legal loophole change the purpose and extend this bond for an additional 30 years, the residents of Marietta should not be made a part of this switch and extension.

The citizens of Marietta will receive absolutely no public benefit from the expenditure of our tax dollars for the construction of a major league baseball park. It will not generate revenues for our school system and might actually increase the cost of Marietta police and fire services. It will definitely create increased traffic congestion resulting in increased air pollution, increased cost of living due to travel delays and increased health risks to area residents.

I have directly asked county and city elected officials in person and in writing for the dollar amount of the Marietta taxpayer’s contribution to the construction of the Braves stadium. I was promised an answer but have yet to receive it. There is also no statement in any county document I have found describing any economic benefits to the citizens of Marietta resulting from their financing of the stadium. Until these questions are answered and the residents of Marietta are allowed a referendum to determine their willingness to invest their tax dollars in a professional baseball stadium, I believe that the use of public funds to finance the stadium should not go forward.

I join as a plaintiff with the complaints to be filed on 7 July 2014 challenging the Cobb Board of Commissioners’ assertion that there will be no new or increased taxes levied to fund the Braves move to Cobb County. The shifting of the purpose of the .33 mills of the County’s 2008 parks bond from the purchase of open space to the financing of a professional baseball stadium and extending the .33 mills for an additional 30 years is in effect a tax increase for the citizens of Marietta. It is being undertaken without our consent and without our knowledge of the total direct and indirect costs to be incurred by the residents and businesses of Marietta.

Please consider this my opinion as a citizen of Cobb County offered to intervene in the matter to be tested in the Superior Court hearing scheduled for July 7, 2014 presided over by the Honorable Judge Rob Leonard.

Larry Wills

Marietta

Comments
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Jim Morris
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July 06, 2014
I'm usually a big fan of Larry's research and commentary in the MDJ but he really needs to get out more. I've lived in downtown Marietta for many years and paid my county taxes because I'm a part of that larger community and government, also. I leave Marietta city to play disk golf at the county's Oregon Park, went to a fine lecture and tour of the county's Shoupade Park outside of Smyrna just yesterday. I enjoyed two Pebblebrook HS Performing Arts productions at Jennie T. Anderson Theater this year; look forward to the Cobb County Fair, etc. Let's not make this such a small and isolated world, folks. Building healthy recreational opportunities, as well as community education and culture are all appropriate uses for tax money. I voted for it, I use it.
Commit future BOC?
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July 05, 2014
How can the present Board of Commissioners commit a future Board to approve a 30 year tax increase ? Is that legal ?

The parks bond is legally binding and will soon be paid off. How can the present Board of Commissioners "extend" that bond which was passed for a specific limited purpose without a vote of the citizens ?
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