T-SPLOST Discussed at Town Hall Meeting
Mayor Mark Mathews talks about the regional transportation sales tax proposal with Kennesaw citizens,
The City of Kennesaw held its quarterly Town Hall meeting on Tuesday with about 30 residents in attendance.
Mayor Mathews held the floor for most of the meeting, addressing current affairs in the city and recent construction projects, including the expansion of Jiles Road, which is currently underway and expected to be completed in the summer of 2012.
Mayor Mathews also spoke about the new Cobb County Regional T-SPLOST, which is currently making its way through the legislative process. The proposed T-SPLOST, if passed, will impose a one-cent tax on all ten cities which comprise the Cobb County area. Mathews serves on the 21-member Atlanta Regional Commission Board, which was instrumental in gathering public input and selecting projects.
The revenue from said T-SPLOST, which is estimated to be $7 billion, will be collected for ten years following its passage. Some $6.14 billion of that will go towards transportation development projects like improving the I-75 interchange at Windy Hill, and the extension of Highway 92 from Highway 41 towards Main street in Acworth.
Specific projects to be funded in Kennesaw include:
* A new road from the Busbee Frey Connector to Frey Road at a cost of $19 million.
* $9.8 million in intersection improvements at nine locations along U.S. 41 (Cobb Parkway) from Barrett Parkway to Bartow County.
McCollum Airport could also receive a new $2.5 million air traffic control tower and $690,000 in runway lighting.
According to Mathews, the residents of Cobb have historically been split on the issue of SPLOST, so he is not sure if this one will pass. "It's going to be very close if it passes in Cobb," said Mathews.
He did say that, if the proposed tax should fail in Cobb County yet pass for the Atlanta Region, the residents of Cobb, including Kennesaw, will be responsible for paying the tax like the rest of the region. A public hearing on the proposed tax is planned for Sept. 20 in Cobb.
Mayor Mathews also mentioned that inclusion in the Northwest Atlanta Corridor Rail System is still on the table for the City of Kennesaw. The cost of said project is estimated at $1.2 billion between all cities involved, though Mathews also mentioned that other studies have projected the figure to fall around $870 million.
In other news, Mayor Mathews said Kennesaw has earned the Parks and Recreation Department of the Year award for the State of Georgia. He said he actually didn't want word to spread to other cities as quickly as it did, citing concerns of a possible overwhelming influx of new residents taking advantage of the city's programs.
"The secret got out," said Mathews. "That's another big feather in our cap, but as the word gets out, that just means that we are going to have more and more people coming in and using our programs and taking advantage of all those great things that we have going on."
As the meeting approached its conclusion, the subject began to shift towards public opinion of the performance of leaders in the city. Mayor Mathews asked the citizens to give him some negative feedback. One citizen obliged, and expressed his frustrations with a lack of prosecution for violators of city code, especially in his particular area.
Mayor Mathews explained to him that due process restricts the speediness of prosecuting code offenders.
"Due process is great if you're being accused of something, but if you're trying to prosecute something, it can be your enemy," said Mathews. "If you can't follow (procedure), or you can't find the right person, then you're kind of stuck."
At the conclusion of the meeting, Mathews once again asked that citizens get more involved in city affairs. He said he would like to see a much higher citizen attendance at city council meetings.
Mathews also told those in attendance about the recent creation of the Citizen Advisory Group, which is an organization of citizens given the task of reviewing legislation and giving feedback to the city council.
"Register for our newsletter," said Mathews. "We can't solicit you unless you ask, so please ask!"