ATLANTA — The Atlanta Tea Party is gearing up to oppose the new Atlanta Braves stadium being planned in Cobb County, arguing the $672 million project is a bad deal for taxpayers.
The statewide group will be reaching out to county voters through emails and automated calls detailing its opposition and urging them to contact the county commission ahead of a key vote Nov. 26, said Debbie Dooley, co-chair of the Atlanta Tea Party. The group is also organizing an event for early next week, looking to call attention to the financing details of the project that calls for public funds to be used to cover 45 percent of costs.
“This is another example of the good ol’ boys getting rich and the taxpayers getting the shaft,” Dooley said in an interview. “They are going to have to raise property taxes.”
Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee has called the project an “excellent deal,” with the Braves assuming 55 percent of costs and no plan to raise taxes on residents. According to details of the 30-year-deal released by the county last week, the public’s share of the annual bond payments would come from reallocating $9.6 million in existing property tax revenue and collecting $8.3 million in new taxes on business and tourism.
A county spokesman did not respond to an email requesting a response to the tea party group’s opposition.
Dooley said the “devil is in the details” and expects local taxpayers will still end up bearing significant costs. Missing from the county plan were details on how it will pay for its portion of annual capital maintenance costs.
Anthony-Scott Hobbs, a tea party activist in Cobb County, said it’s unfair that an existing tax on property owners set to expire in three years will instead continue as a funding source for the stadium.
“It’s a great economic development opportunity as long as you do it right,” Hobbs said. “We were promised that property taxes would go down to pre-2010 levels and they haven’t.”
Bitter recrimination was the order of the day when the Richmond Braves ball club lit out for Gwinnett, Ga., four years ago. The AAA team had demanded a replacement for its aging ballpark, The Diamond, and local officials hadn’t come through. The city and surrounding counties were denounced as the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.
Now it’s beginning to look like they dodged a bullet.
County leaders in Gwinnett lured the Braves from Richmond by borrowing millions to build the team a spanking-new stadium. Residents were ecstatic over what the Gwinnett Daily Post termed the fulfillment of “Gwinnett’s dream.” A study plumped Gwinnett as “an ideal location” and “one of the strongest markets in the country” for a minor-league club. The paper said surveys showed “overwhelming support” for the proposal.
But the bloom, as they say, is off the rose.
Indeed, disillusionment set in almost immediately. A consultant’s study had pitched a stadium costing $25 million to $30 million. The price soon climbed to $45 million. By the time construction was complete, the cost had jumped to $64 million. Continue reading
For more than two years, Ga. 400 drivers have gone above and beyond, stopping to pay the toll after the toll’s promised cutoff date.
Now they have something to show for it: a dozen extra projects, either completed or under way, stretching along the highway all the way up to McFarland Road.
But, like so much else about the Ga. 400 toll, there’s a twist. Back in 2011, when the toll was set to end, the state could have already squirrelled away enough to do many of those projects, including the biggest and most important one. Continue reading
Usually, they’re the ones doing the talking.
State Rep. Brooks Coleman of Duluth and state Sen. Lindsey Tippins of Marietta, Republicans who chair the House and Senate education committees, hold great sway when the Legislature is in session. In recent weeks, however, both men have been traveling across the state on an education listening tour.
In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Coleman said they’ve gotten an earful. Continue reading
Weeks after DeKalb County shot down most of a request for enough cash to more than quadruple the budget of its beleaguered ethics board, a slow movement is taking shape to boost the body next year.
But the slow going on strengthening the board with more cash — in the midst of a political corruption scandal that left the elected CEO indicted and questions swirling about other county staffers — has already angered and frustrated county residents eager to lift that cloud of suspicion. Continue reading
ATLANTA — Some metro Atlanta pet owners are keeping an eye on their animals. They’ve spotted a coyote in their neighborhood several times.
Homeowners who live on Rickenbacker Drive and Pinecrest Road in Buckhead are used to seeing wildlife because they live near a nature preserve. But they said a coyote has moved from the woods to the streets and – even their yards.
A neighbor snapped a photo of a coyote in his yard. Minutes later a resident saw possibly the same coyote walk into the Blue Heron Nature Preserve.
“One of my neighbors saw one running along the property line near the condominiums,” said North Buckhead resident Jeff Henry.
One neighbor said she saw the coyote with a rabbit in its mouth.
“My girlfriend has a 4 pound Chihuahua, so we want to make sure that dog is closely watched. Don’t want to get snatched up by a coyote,” said resident Michael Levy.
TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. — License plate scanners will soon track cars coming and going from Tybee Island.
The island’s city council recently voted to install two license plate cameras on the Lazaretto Creek Bridge.
The Savannah Morning News reported that the cameras will first be used to track visitors to the coastal island for tourism studies. The council required that city officials create a policy about how the data are used and stored before law enforcement officials can use the system.
The system could notify police when it detects a license plate from a stolen vehicle, a car that lacks insurance or a vehicle whose owner is wanted on an arrest warrant, said City Manager Diane Schleicher.
For the second year in a row, Cartersville hosted Thursday a Hometown Connection meeting that allowed state legislators, and representatives of federal legislators, the chance to hear from city officials and learn about the city’s operations.
City Manager Sam Grove highlighted how Cartersville and its utilities focus on citizens’ quality of life.
“We’re a little different than the typical city that you find. … We’ve got six utilities: electric, gas, water, telecom, stormwater, solid waste. Some of these we’ve been working in for 100 years, and that’s our philosophy. … Now we do supply affordable services to our customers,” he said in his opening remarks. “They’re much more than a number to us. We have a strong relationship with our businesses, and as you see as we go through a discussion of our utilities, we have a relatively small number of businesses that do a lot of business with us and generate a lot of revenue and related costs.”