I was sorely disappointed with the recent actions of the Marietta City Council in which they overturned the decision of the City Board of Zoning Appeals in regard to MUST Ministries.

While MUST does feed and shelter some homeless, they do not require sobriety and employment search for adults. Their actions of feeding, clothing, sheltering and giving the homeless a place to take a shower does nothing to encourage them to try to better their lives and get off the streets. Instead it allows them to live somewhat better on the street.

Our tax dollars are being spent daily in the area of MUST because of the high volume of 911 calls received by both the city Of Marietta and Cobb County due to the actions of the homeless. The records show everything from an overdose to a dead body. The local businesses are suffering due to the problems with the homeless because local residents do not want to utilize them and deal with the panhandling for handouts and money.

It is interesting that MUST brags that they are a nonprofit based Christian charity who’s goal is to serve those in need but yet spends around 1/3 of their annual donations on salaries. And their CEO draws a salary of over $158,000 a year for a 40-hour week, per their filed 2016 Form 990, in addition to his salary as a full-time minister at a local church. And per the same they own about $10 million in property.

I fully believe in helping people who are down on their luck and have done it all my life. But there is a time and a place for it. Building a 6-plus-acre complex next to residential areas and not having a strict and enforced series of programs, for everyone who comes for help, is going to be a downfall for the area, especially the residential home values and future development or redevelopment.

It should also be noted that Councilman Copeland’s recommendation included a stipulation that MUST provide more security around their facility. But he failed to provide any security for the surrounding properties, some of which who help pay his salary.

It is a sad state of affairs when a local government sides with a self proclaimed Christian charity rather than the law-abiding, taxpaying citizens who support the city by their property and sales tax.

Shame on you, Marietta City Council.

Jim Smith



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