Reasons many to back Marietta’s ... Redevelopment Bond
by Randy Weiner
July 16, 2013 12:22 AM | 1377 views | 1 1 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Randy Weiner
Randy Weiner
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Here’s why I plan to vote “yes” on the $68 million Redevelopment Bond on Nov. 5.

 Increased stability in student population for Marietta City Schools

• Ask any MCS principal or teacher about the negative effects of a transient student population. The higher the mobility rate (associated with poverty), the lower the school’s (and students’) performance. Each year several hundred transient students come into school mid-year, leave mid-year and come in a day or two before tests, and the district is 100 percent accountable for their performance. The New Georgia accountability system (CCRPI) uses the graduation rate to a large degree (30 percent), to determine the overall school score. A school’s graduation rate is closely tied to the transient rate. Kids who stay in the school system year-round perform better.

• Having a dense, transient population on Franklin Road makes it very difficult for those students to receive a quality education and graduate high school, therefore continuing a cycle of poverty.

• Real cruelty comes in by ignoring the reality, looking away while young kids are raised in a crime-ridden, gang-luring, drug-dealing and overall unstable environment. With people constantly moving in and out of Franklin Road, this problem is bigger than assigning additional police patrols.

 Franklin Road is one of the most undervalued and underutilized roads in Cobb County

• Based on the 2012 Tax Assessment, the 11 apartment complexes plus the one townhome and condominium complex brings in a total school tax revenue of $785,583, yet it costs a little over $6 million (local expense of $5,454 per student) to educate the 1,100 students who live on Franklin Road.

• At a recent City Council meeting, I listened to Beth Sessoms explain just how underutilized Franklin Road has become — one apartment complex (25 acres) generates $67,000 in school taxes. A light Industrial complex (25 acres) would bring in about three times as much at $202,000 in school tax, not to mention the dramatic decrease in Fire and Police responses. The Franklin Road Ship has been sinking for many years.

• Some say there is no guarantee that new developers will come once the land is cleared and ready to be sold. They are correct, but I say the probability is extremely high. We already know businesses are interested in the area due to its proximity to I-75 and U.S. 41, but businesses have moved away due to the crime and unstable conditions of the area. If a 100 percent guarantee is the only threshold to take action, then nothing will change and conditions will deteriorate, guaranteed.

 Provide better living conditions for Franklin Road residents

• High concentrations of poverty only attract and breed more poverty. When children are surrounded by crime, gang activity and other deeds associated with high poverty, that’s all they see and know, making them more likely to succumb to self-destructive behavior and drop out of school. This type problem does not fix itself and will continue to worsen unless the area is stabilized and primed for redevelopment.

• The Marietta Housing Authority has been authorized to help relocate residents. The MHA has a long history of helping residents know their housing options throughout Cobb and providing the help needed to find better, safer affordable housing.

• Our elementary schools are quite full and more growth is expected. Additionally, not all 11 complexes will be eliminated and children will still attend our schools. We have maintained some students in our schools who previously lived in now-closed federal projects. They chose to live in Marietta.

 Much needed road improvements for Whitlock Avenue

• Sidewalks and pedestrian lighting along Whitlock Avenue will alleviate safety concerns and connect Marietta Square to the many residents who live along and around Whitlock.

• The $4 million earmarked for Whitlock Avenue is long overdue and will address the deteriorated and safety conditions along one of Marietta’s most beautiful, historic and heavily travelled streets.

 Low cost to homeowners

• If passed by the voters, the $68 million bond would raise the city’s millage rate by 2 mills. This will be offset by the reduction of the Marietta City Schools millage rate decrease of 1.187 mills.

• When trying to sell the public on the $7 million, five-year auditorium bond in 2012, the Marietta School Board told voters that if SPLOST IV passed in March 2013, as it did, the school district would use SPLOST money to help pay off the MHS auditorium and reduce the school district’s millage rate by 1.187 mills.

• On July 23, 2013, the BOE will vote on a reduction of .475 mills, the first of two millage rate reductions. The second vote will be July 2014 for a reduction of .712 mills, for a total of 1.187 mills.

• The total net increase will be .813 mills — approximately $75 per year on a home valued at $200,000.

Government helped to create this problem many years ago by zoning in many high-density rental units in a very small area. It’s going to take today’s government to help fix it.

Randy Weiner

Chairman,

Marietta Board of Education

Comments
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Louie in Marietta
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November 01, 2013
As a single father who has chosen to live on Franklin Road for economic reasons, I'm not certain why we should support this measure. First, why hasn't there been community hearings and Q/A sessions to clarify which of the complexes will be razed.

I know one complex has been razed since I moved in (almost 5 years ago) and nothing has been with open land in quite awhile. Further, while I know there is crime and drug use in the area, why wouldn't more police patrols and code-enforcement fight the problem? If transient students really are such a drain on resources, why not work to make those families feel safer in their homes as opposed to kicking them out?

I've decided to stay on Franklin Road because I haven't seen much in the way of crime (first hand) in my time there and I didn't want to bounce my son from school to school to school every year. We have connections with our neighbors (of all colors) and we look out for one another in our little community. Instead of buying up the apartment complexes on the road to destroy and redevelop, why not buy deteriorating properties where the struggling businesses are? Why not give those business owners a fair market value for those properties and then redevelop those plots? Why not buy the closed hotels or other strips for redevelopment?

I know its not the cleanest or the nicest place in Marietta, but there are GOOD and HARD WORKING families that live there. Why not figure out a way to help them instead of forcing them to leave?

This is just man's opinion.
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