MARIETTA — Commissioner JoAnn Birrell invites the public to turn out to a 7 p.m. meeting tonight at the East Cobb Senior Center to learn about the projects that may be funded through a new 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax.
The meeting will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the senior center, located at 3332 Sandy Plains Road in Marietta.
County staff will be on hand to answer questions.
Birrell said she’s hearing from residents who want improvements made to Mabry Park, a 26-acre undeveloped property the county owns off Sandy Plains and Wesley Chapel roads.
“I think there’s going to be a big contingency supporting Mabry Park,” Birrell said. “The friends group has talked to me about it, and I know they sent some emails to get the supporters of Mabry Park out to show their support to keep it on the list. I know they’re coming out.”
Birrell objects to county Chairman Tim Lee including an earmark to fund a bus rapid transit line on the SPLOST list. Lee has moved the earmark down to a “Tier 2” project, which means it will only be funded if more taxes are collected than projected under the SPLOST.
“I think it’s going to hurt the chances of the SPLOST passing. The majority of the feedback I’m getting do not want it on the SPLOST,” Birrell said. “I am not in favor of the list with BRT on there.”
Birrell said Lee will need support from two district commissioners to keep the BRT on the list.
“If he makes the motion to approve the list as is (on July 22), I guess somebody would have to do a substitute motion,” she said.
Birrell is supportive of a $55 million line item to build a new headquarters and evidence storage room for the Cobb Police Department. The existing police headquarters is on North Marietta Parkway near the Square. The Cobb Police Department has outgrown its building, Birrell said.
“And they definitely need the evidence storage capacity because that is way over the limit now and there’s no room to grow and expand, and when you’re talking about court cases and evidence, you’ve got to make sure those records are safe,” she said. “We just have no capacity left at the evidence storage facility now, so to combine that with the headquarters and keep it all under the same roof that would give police headquarters more room, and also it would give the 911 center additional space to move into because they need the room too.”
Birrell also supports a $52.9 million line item for a new training facility for police and firefighters. The existing training facility is off County Services Parkway.
“Cobb has a more extensive training program than the state requires or any other county in the area,” Birrell said. “We have an 18-week class that we put our officers through, and it’s more extensive training, and the fire range needs to be enclosed so it doesn’t impact the neighborhood behind there with the noise and all. They just need more room and they need a better facility to train.”