“I’m so opposed to (the BRT) that if it’s in there — tier one or tier two — I won’t vote for (the tax), and neither will anyone in my family,” said Powder Springs resident Ed Baker, who was one of about 80 people who attended a public meeting about the tax Tuesday at the West Cobb Senior Center.
Representatives from every department of the county government talked about the projects Cobb officials hope to fund with the proposed 2016 special purpose local option sales tax.
Commissioners will decide Tuesday whether to put the SPLOST measure before voters in November.
Commissioner Helen Goreham said she is in favor of the SPLOST measure and will be voting for it, though she said the project list is not yet complete.
“Obviously, we have to have it finalized for the meeting and the vote, but it’s still a work in progress,” she said. “Mine is pretty much massaged down at this point, unless there’s a lot of comments that come in on the written forms. You know, there’s always time for a tweak here or there.”
Bob Weatherford, a candidate in Tuesday’s runoff election to replace Goreham, attended the meeting and said the BRT shouldn’t be on the SPLOST project list because it might cause the measure to fail.
“Well, certainly (citizens) have been opposed to the rapid transit.
There appears to be a groundswell on that,” he said. “And all along, I’ve said that I was undecided on it. The main reason is I want to wait and see what the financial plan is and the environmental assessment. I think something that major ought to be a separate bond issue and not on (the SPLOST) because it will hurt it.”
Still, Weatherford acknowledged the need to address the county’s transit issues.
“What that answer is, I have no idea,” he said. “But I know we need one. And here, everybody’s against (the BRT). So, I’m not for what they plan because it’s too big a chunk out of what you need for other things. But I’m for some solution somewhere.”
Weatherford’s opponent in the runoff election, Bill Byrne, did not attend the meeting. Goreham has publicly endorsed Weatherford as her successor.
West Cobb resident David Welden also said he will not vote for the SPLOST if the BRT is on the project list, but said he is undecided about the other projects because of the length of the proposed SPLOST.
“We can only have one, one-percent SPLOST, and if we book it up totally for the six-year period, we can’t add newly discovered needs,” Welden said. “Six years is a long time, especially with things changing as rapidly as they are in Cobb County.”
The BRT aside, many residents in attendance expressed approval of other projects on the list, especially a proposed $8.6 million regional library, which will consolidate the current Acworth and Kennesaw libraries.
“I really like what they’re doing with the new library up there,” Welden said. “I think the police department is trying to do the right stuff. And certainly the parks organization, as far as I’m concerned, is the best managed organization in the county. They’re aiming the money carefully, I think.”