As you know, the SPLOST was created by state law to fund specific public safety, transportation, and facilities with public input and oversight. We believe the four year project list represents the fiscally responsible necessities to provide maintenance, improvement and rehabilitation of county roads, bridges, law enforcement and county buildings.
Using the most conservative metrics, county staff and independent analysts determined that failure to fund these needs over the next four years would ultimately cost the county and its citizens more due to deferred maintenance, continued traffic congestion, insufficient resources for public safety resources and loss of economic growth opportunities. SPLOST is fully transparent and accountable and is funded with cash – no debt.
One great feature of the SPLOST is that every project listed must be justified to the citizens in a very public manner. A complete list of these projects can be found at www.cobbsplost2011.org. I hope you will take the time to review it. While some may think that any one individual project is not as important as another, each item on the list was publicly vetted in two dozen meetings across the county and each item was publicly scrutinized by the county commission.
Academic studies have found that about 30 percent of the revenues from a Cobb SPLOST are paid by non-residents either working or passing through Cobb. Thus, those who utilize the benefits of our roads and services are helping to maintain them. This is the greatest benefit of the SPLOST.
Cobb County has the lowest tax rates in the metro region. Cobb is one of only nine counties statewide that does not levy the third penny sales tax. In addition, our property tax rates are the lowest of any county in the metro region. Cobb’s annual budget is 9 percent lower than the next lowest in the metro region and our property tax millage rate is 9 percent lower than the next lowest in the region.
Cobb County’s fiscally responsible management has been recognized nationally by various organizations. Cobb provides excellent services and facilities for less than any other metro County, and I believe the SPLOST is an important component of that. Just as Churchill said about democracy, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” The same holds true for taxes – none are desirable, but of the choices, SPLOST is among the best.
In order to keep Cobb the most desirable place in the metro region to live, work and learn, Cobb must continue to maintain and improve its roads, bridges, and facilities while providing the necessary resources to our public safety professionals to ensure our crime rate remains low. This charge is great, and the SPLOST generates important revenues to accomplish this. Without a SPLOST, Cobb would be forced to seek other sources of revenue to maintain critical infrastructure assets to keep Cobb the most desirable county in metro-Atlanta.
John Loud, President of the Kennesaw Business Association