Birrell invites public to attend tonight’s SPLOST meeting
by MDJ staff
July 09, 2014 04:00 PM | 2281 views | 2 2 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JoAnn Birrell
JoAnn Birrell

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.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Ben Twomey
July 10, 2014
at "woe". The key word in your response is "probably". Since your "$10,000 a year per vehicle" figure is hogwash, the rest of your argument is invalid. do you seriously think anyboyd spends $192.00 a week on their car. Get serious!
July 10, 2014
I will never understand the obsession with asphalt, the internal combustion engine, tires, oil and gas that exists here in the supposedly most conservative county in the world.

If we are so conservative, why can't we understand how public transit costs a fraction of the cost of everyone operating private motor vehicles on public roads?

The local media (funded by US 41 etc car dealer ads) run story after story about the cost of building rapid transit this, rapid transit that, comparing it with building roads, but in the comparision equations the privately borne costs of roads are always omitted so the results look as though public transit costs more when the opposite is actually the truth apples to apples.

If you live here, you probably spend $10,000 every year, forever (adjusting for inflation), on each car your family operates, but the media leaves those costs out when car dealers tell them to write stories about how expensive public transit is!

..and never mind about all the maimings and fatalities resulting from our automobile use. Public transit is what's dangerous! Somebody might run off with your iPhone right?!?!
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