BoC votes to issue the 2008 Parks Bond. Now, support a Parks SPLOST for the 11/17 election
This petition had 82 supporters
Open letter to the Board of Commissioners:
I wanted to thank each of you for voting to release the 2008 Parks Bond.
Yes, that was 2008 and this is 2017. I heard the Chairman say that he would try to find a way to fund the remaining $15 million from the 2008 Bond over the next few years.
A bold step for the county would be to contemplate a Parks SPLOST, perhaps combined with Public Safety needs. $24.7 million will not go very far towards meeting the county's need for greenspace. Many properties will be lost because there are not enough funds to acquire them.
A transparent step for the county would be to release the "final list" of all park properties vetted - not just the handful that can be purchased with $24.7 million dollars. Then the public can see why a Parks SPLOST is necessary.
Again, thank you for your vote today - unfortunately it is the bare minimum that could be done and it is long overdue.
I hope that leadership will emerge on the BoC and in the community to push this critical issue forward in the coming months.
Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.
Board of Commissioners have agreed to place the 2008 Parks Bond on the Agenda for Tuesday January 10 at 9 am. At least 3 Commissioners and the Chairman appear to be ready to vote to issue the bonds. That process would take 90 days, which would give the Commissioners time to complete their due diligence on the properties nominated. The legal amount that can be released is $24.7 million which all agreed will not go far enough towards acquiring greenspace the county needs. There was discussion about how to fund the $15 million that is no longer available for release based on the 2008 ($40 million) Referendum. Several Commissioners stated that they were open to a new Bond Referendum or a SPLOST.
The meeting was covered by WSB-TV, the AJC and the MDJ.
Jan 4, Wed BoC Special Called Work Session 9 am BoC Board Room, 3rd Floor - this is a meeting that can be attended by the public but will not be televised. Seating will be very limited. Three items will be discussed; creation of a task force on SunTrust Park, the Archer Class and Compensation (pay raise study) and the 2008 General Obligation Parks Bonds. Link to Wed Jan 4th BoC Work Session Agenda below.
Update to Parks Petition request
We have learned that the Commissioners are still visiting potential park properties. At some point in January there will be a final list, whether ranked or not. We believe that the new final list should be released to the public. This is the right and transparent thing to do. It will also make it clear to the public how little greenspace $24.7 million dollars will buy.
The Board of Commissioners has an opportunity on January 10th to make a motion to release the $24.7 million available of the ($40 million) 2008 Parks Bond approved by voters in 2008. This will be the first public meeting attended by incoming Chairman Mike Boyce. This would be the ideal time for all 5 BoC members to vote to issue the bonds. They are all on record as supporting it.
Finding $15 million to make up the $40 million (2008 Bond) will be like trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. The real magic would be how quickly that sum would materialize if the Commissioners would support a Parks SPLOST referendum and give voters a chance to approve it in a November 2017 Special Election. A March Parks SPLOST would be nice but given how slowly the County has moved on this particular issue, November is a more realistic target.
It makes little sense to constrain a Parks Bond or Parks SPLOST to $40 million if there is a need for a larger amount to acquire all properties on the final list. Why buy them all? Because they are still available in 2016/2017 but may not be around in the future. And no one in their right mind would want to go through another debacle like the 2008 Parks Bond. A SPLOST offers more certainty if the properties are listed with an adequate sum to acquire them.
Here is another option: there are unmet needs in Public Safety and no way to fund them. How about a Parks and Public Safety SPLOST for the November election?
1. Release the final parks list to the public in January.
2. Vote to issue the 2008 Parks Bond on January 10th
3. Resolve to support a new Parks (and Public Safety) SPLOST for the November 2017 election.
4. Acquire as much greenspace as possible with the $24.7 million
5. Vote to place a Parks SPLOST on the ballot by the required deadline for the November election
If Cobb County Commissioners can work together to take those steps, the County will go a long way towards achieving its target for greenspace acquisition.
Canton Road Neighbors, Inc.
WHY IS MORE FUNDING NEEDED?
$24.7 million dollars would be taken up by one or two of the large tracts favored by community groups for purchase. These are tracts in the 50 acre range, in prime suburban locations and under pressure for development. To put it in perspective for doubters, the rezoning of Hidden Forest on Big Shanty, Z-26 2007, required assembling a 52 home subdivision. Those homes were purchased for a total of @ $17 million. The tract was approximately 50.2 acres. Now, think about several large tracts that the public supports in Districts 2 and 3, and it is not hard to see why the available $24.7 million is not enough - and finding another $15.3 million will not be adequate for the entire county for the long term.
On November 8th, three of five of the Cobb County Commissioners voted against issuing the $24.7 million left of the 2008 Parks Bond approved by voters (67%) in 2008.
We have since learned that commissioners are in the process of due diligence on the properties listed, and are making site visits before issuing the Bonds. But the list of 13 leaked to the MDJ is not the final list. Commissioners have added their own recommendations to the list of 13 and those recommendations are being reviewed as well. Any late nominations by commissioners had to have been on the list prior to its April 15th nomination end date.
Take the time to let the Commissioners know where you stand on this issue and also let them know if you have a property that you feel strongly about. A Parks SPLOST would provide more money and a lot more certainty about the implementation and the outcome. All it takes is your support and the political will to get it done.
Today: Canton Road Neighbors, Inc. is counting on you
Canton Road Neighbors, Inc. needs your help with “Cobb County Commissioners: Issue the 2008 Parks Bond January 10, 2017 & approve a Parks SPLOST for the 11/17 election”. Join Canton Road Neighbors, Inc. and 81 supporters today.