Cobb leader defends tax increase before skeptical crowd


Cobb County Commission Chairman Mike Boyce defended a proposed property tax increase before several dozen mostly skeptical taxpayers at a public hearing Monday.

Boyce cast blame on the previous administration, under former Chairman Tim Lee, for shifting debt service funds to pay for the Braves stadium.

“In my campaign I committed to paying for a parks bond that we voted for in 2008,” Boyce said, referring to his campaign promise to fund $40 million for new parks. “Quality does not come cheaply, but we are not spending extravagantly.”

The county has proposed a millage rate increase from 9.85 to 9.98 mills. That includes money for the county’s general fund, fire services and debt, with the general fund going up and the debt service going down.

The county would have to roll the millage rate back to 6.252 in order to avoid advertising a tax increase.

Lance Lamberton of the Cobb Taxpayers Association spoke in opposition to the millage rate increase. He pointed out that the millage rate increase comes as the county’s tax digest rose to its highest level ever — $33.6 billion for 2017. Also, many people have seen their assessments go up, he said.

“To add a millage rate increase on top of all that is adding insult to injury,” he said. “Quite frankly, I am disgusted with this turn of events.”

He asked what the chairman had done to reduce “wasteful spending,” including paying for expensive consultants, a Cumberland circulator “hardly anyone” rides, and hiking trails.

Another woman expressed similar sentiments.

“Not even one year of us getting rid of Tim Lee, and you’re trying to pull this stunt,” said Loretta Davis.

Boyce justified the increases and even starred in an instructional video explaining how the millage rate is set. Of the county’s $383.6 million 2017 budget, two-thirds go to pay for county staff, while public safety accounts for another large chunk.

He said even with the increase, the county could not afford to hire more police officers, as recommended by a study of the department.

If the new millage rate passes, the owner of a $275,000 home with a homestead exemption could expect to pay about $12 more, or $1,029.

Another public hearing will be held Tuesday. Chairman Mike Boyce will also host a series of town hall meetings to discuss the proposed millage rate.

Commissioners are expected to vote following the third and final public hearing on Tuesday, July 25 at their regular meeting.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

The AJC's Meris Lutz keeps you updated on the latest happenings in Cobb County government and politics. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in Cobb politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Fulton County restaurant inspection scores

Fulton County • Amara Restaurant, 870 Inman Village Parkway, Atlanta. 85/B • Stem’s Café, 3777 Campbellton Road, Atlanta. 90/A • Tannour Grill, 398 14th St., Atlanta. 100/A • The Sun Dial Restaurant, 210 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 98/A • Zest, 957 Canton St., Roswell. 87/B
Gwinnett County restaurant inspection scores

Gwinnett County • Lazeez Tava Fry, 4650 Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross. 100/A • New Dragon Chinese Restaurant, 5450 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners. 100/A • Schlotzkey’s Austin Eatery, 2260 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Duluth. 94/A • Teriyaki Box, 1766 Old Norcross Road, Lawrenceville. 96/A • Thai Star Restaurant, 5370...
DNA links Cobb County man to 3 rapes dating back to 2006, police say

A man who has served five sentences in state prison is behind bars again, this time accused of three rapes dating back to 2006. DNA evidence links Christopher Charles Sanders, 51, to the crimes, police say. Georgia Department of Corrections records show Sanders began serving prison time in August 1989. Ten years later, he was in the middle of his fourth...
Forsyth County restaurant inspection scores

Forsyth County • Buffalo’s Café, 1175 Buford Highway, Cumming. 87/B • Decker’s, 560 Lakeland Plaza, Cumming. 89/B • Main Moon, 7766 McGinnis Ferry Road, Suwanee. 97/A • Taqueria La Rosita, 337 Dahlonega St., Cumming. 80/B • Taqueria Los Hermanos, 3245 Peachtree Parkway, Suwanee. 94/A
Gridlock Guy: I-85 in Gwinnett was plain cursed last week
Gridlock Guy: I-85 in Gwinnett was plain cursed last week

Have you ever had one of those days? That’s rhetorical, because everyone has. Nothing seems to go right and the problems happen in succession. Then those trials cause more issues. Before you know it, you’re saddled with an inconceivable and seemingly insurmountable entanglement of logistical (and probably emotional) baggage. Come sit on...
More Stories