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Cobb Chairman Candidates on TSPLOST and Economic Development

Check out what the four Cobb Commission Chairman candidates had to say at about various topics at a Mableton candidate forum on Thursday night.

Cobb Commission Chairman candidates have been making the rounds, attending several forums throughout the county. The questions usually asked at the forums have to do with Transportation Investment Act or TSPLOST and economic development or redevelopment.

Here are the answers they've given on both the TSPLOST and economic (re)development, along with their thoughts on backyard chickens:

On TSPLOST/Transportation Investment Act

  • Bill Byrne, former Cobb Commission Chairman from 1992-2002: AGAINST "It's as important to me to defeat this TSPLOST as it is for me to be reelected as chairman."

 "The TSPLOST is a proposal to raise your sales taxes for 10 years that would generate a billion dollars for Cobb COunty to build programs and projects that have no usefulness at all in Cobb County, let alone Mableton.

  • Larry Savage: AGAINST "The major flaw in the TSPLOST, it isn't about transportation. It isn't about moving people... It is a permanent tax. That tax will never go away...We'll spend more than our lifetimes ever trying to get the thing built. It's a lot of tax expense for all of us and benefits for very few."
  • Incumbent Chairman Tim Lee: SUPPORTS He encouraged voters to do their research about the transportation projects on the TIA list. "Make your own mind. Do your own research and determine whether or not it's in the best interest for Mableton, Cobb County, the region."
  • Retired Marine Mike Boyce: AGAINST "Would anybody in this room give somebody $689 million unless you know what you're getting for your money? Would you give anybody that amount of money for anything unless you knew what you were getting for your money, and especially tp the government?... This is not going to go to the benefit of everybody, not even close."

On Economic Development

  • Byrne: He said he has a five-point economic development program to work with the Cobb Chamber, not to replace it. “My focus would be to provide incentives to grow new businesses that are here, not necessarily bring in new businesses that want to come here. “ He would roll back property tax increases. He said “Cobb is a big business,” and more contracts should be awarded to Cobb businesses first.
  • Savage: He said the county’s economic development department and Cobb Chamber should resolve any conflict. “One of the things we need to do is get a grip on what’s wrong with that relationship and get it under control.”

He said he agrees with the Chamber’s Competitive EDGE Initiative, but thinks "they missed the boat in one area. They have ignored or overlooked the need and the desirability of attracting manufacturing companies.” Savage said he had a successful 40-year career in manufacturing and could bring those skills to the Cobb County government.

  • Lee: He said he worked with the Chamber to establish a new plan to recruit businesses and to help grow existing Cobb businesses. He said the county is also working with Cobb Works, Southern Polytechnic State University and Chattahoochee Technical College, to have job training and retraining of Cobb residents so they are better prepared for jobs in the future. The county is also focused on retention of businesses in the county, he said.
  • Boyce: “Let’s just fixate on one plan and for heaven’s sakes, let’s just finally do it. No more studies…Let’s just do it. Let’s see what happens. No more talking… This is not going to be a one- or two-year plan. This is going to almost be generational.” He also said having more support in South Cobb from code enforcement would help as well.

Which of the four chairman candidates has your vote and why? Tell us below in the comments.

See Also:

Brian July 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Quote: ""Would anybody in this room give somebody $689 million unless you know what you're getting for your money? Would you give anybody that amount of money for anything unless you knew what you were getting for your money, and especially tp the government?" My response: I'm not sure why people are running if they are that incompetent to make statements like that. T-Splost has a project list. It's only the direct to local government funds, which is a small percentage, that was up to the local government to develop project lists for. However, the county already has a backlog, so we know what projects the county wants to do that are not on T-Splost already or not yet federally funded or state funded. Quote: "That tax will never go away...We'll spend more than our lifetimes ever trying to get the thing built." My response: It has to be voted on again. So, no, it can't be forced on us for another 10 years. Again, candidates need to do their research before spouting nonsense. Otherwise, it makes them sound incompetent.
Bruce July 23, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Boy, Brian. OK, let's try this. Faye DiMassimo, the head of Cobb Transportation Dept. and Cobb Chairman Tim Lee have both repeatedly reference the Alternative Analysis Study, which will not be completed until 2013, about a year after the TSPLOST vote. Only then will Cobb know which projects will be funded and which will be CHANGED. We do not know yet if there will be a train or bus or whatever else. We do not know where the route would be if it is a train, what kind of train, the cost, or anything else. The AA study will decide that. And TIA/TSPLOST law allows projects to be changed if they are found to be "infeasible."
Bruce July 23, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention that Tim Lee admitted and Tad Leithead (head of the ARC and the Cumberland CID) that this is a 30 year project list. Only part of projects would be built, like the train line, if there is one. and many projects must be completed with federal dollars, which Tom Price tells us aren't there.
Brian July 24, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Can you give examples of any projects that don't have matching federal dollars? I know for sure that many of the S. Cobb improvements have matching dollars, as they are part of SAFETEA. The Windy Hill improvements have SAFETEA. These are unspent federal earmarks which will go away if not used, but it requires some matching state funds which haven't been put forth yet because the state doesn't collect enough in taxes. Usually, on projects like this, the federal government funds are available first. It's GA that can't pull the funds to fund the building of its own federal earmarks.

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