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CCT Decision Delayed

We're live as the Cobb Board of Commissioners holds it regular monthly night meeting at 7.

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners, fresh off a , returns to action at 7 tonight for its regular business meeting. The biggest item on the agenda is the discussion about cutting routes from Cobb Community Transit. We'll be covering the meeting live and, honestly, hoping things go quickly. After all, Florida and South Carolina are playing in the College World Series at 8. The agenda is attached at the right.

We'll have to wait until July for the commissioners to act on the recommendation to cut the three CCT routes, which DiMassimo emphasized were selected because they are low-performing routes.

The routes targeted for elimination Aug. 1 are 35, 65 and 70. The afternoon presentation from the Citizens Oversight Committee suggested that the cuts would affect 500 para-transit riders.

DiMassimo explained during the meeting that para-transit has to operate along the same routes as regularly scheduled bus service, so cutting the para-transit service is a side effect of chopping the least used bus routes.

8:31 p.m. And we're adjourned.

8:30 p.m. Commissioner JoAnn Birrell reminds people they can go to the Cobb police website to donate to help buy a new K-9 for the department.

8:26 p.m. Commissioners Helen Goreham and Tim Lee deny targeting any particular group with the proposed CCT cuts.

8:24 p.m. The final speaker represents a group home with developmentally disabled people who depend on the para-transit system. He says the bus routes shouldn't even be under consideration for cutting.

8:22 p.m. Speaker 5 is disabled from heart attacks and kidney failure. "I really depend on transit to go for dialysis treatment."

8:19 p.m. Speaker 4: "I’m here to restate and affirm" the previous statements about the para-transit service. He is disabled and legally blind.

8:17 p.m. She adds: "We actually need more routes in Cobb County."

8:15 p.m. Speaker 3, who has diabetes and high blood pressure, is a user of the para-transit system. She searched all over to buy a home on the para-transit routes and found one on the No. 70 route. She needs it to get to her job at Walmart.

8:11 p.m. She brought letters for Commissioner Woody Thompson to call for saving those routes.

8:10 p.m. Speaker 2 is a new resident of Cobb. She opposes the elimination of the CCT routes, particularly No. 70, and the para-transit services.

8:06 p.m. Speaker 1 is talking about achieving the perfect happiness of all peoples on all planets in all galaxies.

8:03 p.m. The Austell center plans are approved 4-0, and it's time for our second set of six speakers.

8 p.m. It is a LEED-certified project, with construction planned to start this summer and completion aimed for March. The board is getting the plans tonight for approval.

7:58 p.m. The center was destroyed in the September 2009 flooding. The new site is in Clarkdale Park on Austell Powder Springs Road. Federal Community Development Block Grant money is paying for this project, and the money may be used only for this project.

7:56 p.m. We've moved on to a discussion of the Austell Neighborhood Senior Center.

7:53 p.m. Now it's CCT time. But Transportation Director Faye DiMassimo asks that the issue be deferred until July 12. She says more time is needed to notify the para-transit users and make arrangements. But the recommendation to eliminate those three routes remains for next month.

7:51 p.m. The Cobb board whips through the first three transportation items, leading to the CCT issue.

7:49 p.m. Consent agenda time. Items 6, 8 and 9 are being pulled for future consideration. It's approved 4-0.

7:45 p.m. Speaker 6 is regular commentator Craig Harfoot. He questions the validity of the LEED certification for a number of reasons, including his belief that no building is truly green.

7:43 p.m. Speaker 5, Janet Anderson, is a user of the para-transit bus service as a special-ed teacher and mother. She needs the bus service to get to her job and get her children to school. She endorses the idea of spreading the cuts across the system, not eliminating three routes.

7:40 p.m. Speaker 4 also speaks on behalf of the para-transit program, which she says is a positive choice in a world of limited choices.

7:38 p.m. Speaker 3, the mother of a disabled son: It’s important that you understand the freedom this service gives these people. She says the bus is crucial to the special-needs community. It's a vital service.

7:36 p.m. Speaker 2: “I’m here to advocate for para-transit.” Cutting fixed routes will hurt seniors and the disabled, the most vulnerable citizens. He has a 23-year-old son with disabilities for whom the CCT bus is his only source of independence. The speaker calls for cutting back routes throughout the system instead of eliminating any routes.

7:30 p.m. Speaker 1, Chris Peters, says: “I rise in opposition” to the proposed CCT cuts. "Are we a county that serves all its citizens, or only the wealthy ones? ... A lot of people really depend on it. For them, it’s quite likely a matter of life and death."

7:25 p.m. S&P and Moody’s reaffirmed Cobb’s AAA bond status today, joining Fitch. Cobb County is one of 20 counties in the nation with triple AAA status, Finance Director Jim Pehrson says. "It provides a reassurance to the citizens of this county that things are done right."

7:22 p.m. It's public comment time. We have a full roster of six now and six later.

7:13 p.m. Support Services Director Virgil Moon is making a presentation about the LEED Gold certification for the new Superior Court building. This is the largest courthouse project in the Southeast to receive the award. Turner Construction, the largest green building in the country, is the contractor that pulled off the project. It has a documented 26.7 percent energy cost savings and 47.5 percent water savings. The project uses 21 percent recycled materials.

7:10 p.m. Commissioner Bob Ott is not here tonight, nor is County Manager David Hankerson, but the Sons of the American Revolution are. The SAR is presenting a copy of the Declaration of Independence to the county.

7:05 p.m. And we're off!

6:58 p.m. CCT definitely is the hot topic tonight. It appears we'll have many speakers on that topic.

Jenny Diehl June 29, 2011 at 12:28 AM
It seems that this reporter is more concerned with sports than with the elderly, disabled, working poor in this county. Perhaps you need to just watch the games, and allow someone who takes this issues seriously to report. You cannot have a viable economy based on the needs of the wealthier citizens only. At some point your tax base will again erode to the point of school, police, fire layoffs. And for those of you that view this as an issue for the poor and disadvantaged only, pray that you do not lose your job or your health. Also, I believe there is an American Disabilities Act that should be respected.
Michael Jacobs June 29, 2011 at 08:05 AM
Hi, Jenny: Thanks for your comment. I am not more concerned with sports than the serious issues involving para-transit and CCT. I should have left the College World Series joke out, but I was being honest half an hour before the meeting began: After the long afternoon session, I was hoping we would have a session that focused on the issues at hand and didn't get sidetracked by some unexpected debate. I was also trying to convey that I doubted the commissioners would have the stamina for another three-hour meeting. I believe I accurately and fairly reported the meeting, and my concentration was fully on what was happening in that room.
Lisa Cupid June 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM
Thank you South Cobb Patch for keeping us informed on issues that affect our area. I wrote my commissioner immediately after seeing your article on proposed cuts to CCT. Keep up the great work.
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