Commissioners express support for 6-year tax
by Sarah Westwood
July 06, 2014 04:00 AM | 2918 views | 7 7 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — A poll of Cobb’s four district commissioners reveals they are leaning in favor of a six-year term for a proposed 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax.

During a meeting between the Board of Commissioners and the county’s mayors last month, Lee asked the mayors if they supported a six-year SPLOST. All said they did, with the exception of Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, who was absent.

Next, Lee asked the four district commissioners. Commissioner Helen Goreham said she supported a sales tax renewal for that length of time, but the other three said they needed more time to consider the idea.

Commissioners will vote July 22 on whether to call for a SPLOST referendum on Nov. 4, the length of time the tax would last and the list of projects it would fund.

Commissioner Lisa Cupid expressed her support.

“I would hope the public would support a six-year SPLOST because it enables us to do more,” said Cupid, who represents south Cobb.

“But I understand why there may be some concerns about having a six-year SPLOST. Having a six-year SPLOST means you’re committed for six years, and you’re committed to one thing and not to doing something else.”

Each commissioner has prepared a wish list of projects for his or her own district that would be funded by a cut of the projected $750 million SPLOST haul. All say they configured their lists based on the six-year projection.

“My list turned out to be a six-year SPLOST list. But I put on it what I thought were needs,” said Commissioner Bob Ott, southeast Cobb’s representative. “So, I looked less at how many years it should be and more at what are the needs of my district are.”

Ott said he would look at the final list and determine if the projects on it were “needs” rather than “wants” before saying for sure how he would vote.

“It appears to me the votes are there to make it a six-year SPLOST, so I have gone through the project list as if it is a six-year SPLOST,” he said.

Commissioner JoAnn Birrell, whose district includes parts of Marietta and east Cobb, said her list already exceeds the amount her district would expect to collect from a six-year renewal.

“Of course, those lists are changing daily with input from us and staff,” she said, “but I feel like in order to do the projects we need, I’m leaning toward six years, but I’m still waiting to see the final list and input from the public.”

Residents can weigh in on what projects should make the list’s final draft during public hearings scheduled over the next two weeks in each of the districts.

Goreham said she supports a six-year tax “because SPLOST has been proven to be a great economic tool that helps keep our property taxes low and provides the best product and service to our citizens.”

Lee said the county needs the money. A six-year tax would “enable us to be a little bit better planners and execute the program,” he said.

Lee said he was hopeful the four district commissioners would come out in favor of the longer SPLOST renewal option.

“They seem to be heading that way,” he said. “But time will tell.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
July 08, 2014
I wonder if they would ask for six years if the law said that if it fails, you cannot ask again for 6 years.

I bet we would see much shorter times if the law was don't ask till your previous ask has expired.
Joseph Pond
July 06, 2014
To quote Nancy Reagan- Just Say NO!
Dave Z
July 06, 2014
This surely goes without saying, but substantial funding for Mabry Park and Price Park are needed to pass this SPLOST.

Maintenance may be the biggest need, but potholes ain't sexy.

Just Wait
July 06, 2014
There is nothing "special" about this tax anymore and it is not surprising that all the Commissioners are in favor of it.
Russ Wood
July 06, 2014
I can understand why Commissioner Cupid, a Democrat, thinks we should raise taxes so government can do more. What is sad is that all the Republican commissioners and the chairman share the same view. Small government Rupublicans have been extinct in Cobb County for a while.

July 06, 2014
Russ, these Cobb republicans are anything but believers in limited government these days. They are corporatist who are looking to use the taxpayer pockets to fill the trough for all their cronies. I do not see any difference between them and the democrats(other than that they will at least say they are against how obama is running the country).

I know. I am sure that was a whole lot of extremist ( and racist) stuff I just said right there.

Common Sense
July 06, 2014
I thought they said that SPLOST was a one time tax? How many moons ago did they say that and how many SPLOST initiatives have we had since? Notice how this is always the "go to" route when we need money...more taxes!! And don't them fool when they say, "Well, it is only 1%, and it is only for four years." Yeah right...What happened to good old fashion budgeting?
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