DEAR EDITOR:

Frequent articles in the MDJ speak to the financial successes of the Atlanta Braves and the Battery. The latest (on) Sept. 15, “The Battery is bustling, Braves tell Chamber.”

What I don’t read or hear about is the current year’s burden on Cobb County taxpayers regarding the payments due semi annually on the Braves stadium bonds. Any shortfall in the collection of fees and taxes designated for these payments must be made up from the Cobb County General Fund.

Payments of principal and interest on the bonds are due semiannually on Jan. 1 and July 1. These payments totaled $22,484,077.50 for 2020. While the amount taken from the General Fund in 2018, $5.8 million, (MDJ May 25, 2020) was down from the $8 million 2017 drain (I have been unable to find figures for 2019) Cobb was still operating in the red at the end of 2018 despite the increase in allocable revenues.

My questions to Chairman Boyce and the County Commissioners are, how close to breakeven did Cobb County come in 2019, how much did Cobb have to draw from the General Fund to effect the mandatory payments for 2020, how much money other than the bond payments is Cobb County spending on the Braves and Battery related matters in 2020 and what is the source of the funds?

My last question is based on a March 30, 2019, article in the AJC which stated that $10 million was taken from taxes and fees not included in the General Fund and spent on the park in 2019.

R.S. Pino

Marietta

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