Cobb’s Board of Commissioners gave its stamp of approval Tuesday for County Manager David Hankerson to begin negotiating the details with the Georgia DVS. Hankerson will negotiate with a member of the State Properties Commission, the organization that oversees the state’s real estate, within the next few weeks, said Robert Quigley, a spokesman for the county.
The Georgia Department of Veterans Services, which oversees the applications for basic veteran benefits, including for education, disability and licenses, is much-needed in Cobb, said Marine Corps veteran Mike Boyce.
“That’s wonderful news,” Boyce said. “The needs of the veterans in the county are great, particularly those coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan and we need to be prepared to start serving them when they get back from the service.”
The Georgia DVS is expected to lease a 1,150- square-foot office at the Powder Springs Complex at 1150 Powder Springs St. between the county’s community development and property management offices.
Construction is expected to begin as soon as the State Properties Commission approves the agreement put forth by the commissioners Tuesday night, said Quigley. The new offices should be completed by this summer, he said.
The offices will serve as a place for veterans to file paperwork necessary for getting veteran benefits. Cobb is home to 10 percent of Georgia’s veterans, the most of any county in the state, yet there is no local office of the Georgia DVS where veterans can file basic paperwork. Instead, Cobb veterans are required to drive long distances into Atlanta or Cherokee County to file required paperwork, Boyce said. A closer office is much-needed, he said.
“Cobb needs to be prepared for returning veterans,” Boyce said.
Designs for the new veteran’s center will be drawn up by county architects, and construction is expected to cost nearly $50,000, according to Wednesday’s meeting agenda.
The Georgia Department of Veterans Services is anticipated to lease the new office space for five years and pay the county $10,000 for the space each year, making up the initial costs of construction by the time the lease runs out.
All utilities, including gas, sewage, power, electric and water will be paid for by the state veteran’s offices, as well as necessary office staff, according to the agenda. Two full-time employees from the Georgia DVS are expected to work in the new offices, Boyce said.
The county will be responsible for any future required maintenance and repairs at the facility.