Bring Management Closer to Home.
Cobb County has four Commissioners who represent 750,000 citizens --- approximately 190,000 citizens per district. The proposed city of East Cobb will have 6 council members who represent approximately 60,000 citizens--- approximately 10,000 per district.
The proposed six council members would be voting on issues they are familiar with within the community they reside. They will not have to confront the massive county-wide issues that the Cobb County Commissioners routinely face. These councilors will make decisions that directly affect East Cobb. They will not be required to weigh Cobb's interests as a whole against decisions that will make East Cobb better.
Another important consideration is that all Cobb County elected offices are partisan. The proposed city of East Cobb will have a mayor and six council members who residents will elect on a non-partisan basis. A smaller non-partisan government will allow greater citizen control over the decisions being made on their behalf. A City Council managed by their fellow East Cobb residents will exercise their vote with a greater understanding of their actions' likely results. As Thomas Jefferson noted, "the government closest to the people serves the people best."
Yes. East Cobb schools will continue to be part of the Cobb County School District, and school lines will continue to be determined by the Cobb County Board of Education. The Cobb County schools in the East Cobb area are among our best assets, and nothing will change that. Such a change would require a Constitutional amendment, and that is not on the table.
No city center has been proposed or discussed. Any decisions about a potential government center would be left in the City Council's hands after the City has been put into operation. It is hoped that the City of East Cobb will ultimately have a city center for ease of operations, citizen convenience, and community engagement. No property or location has been identified.
The School Tax exemption at age 62 will continue. School taxes are per Cobb County school district, and your senior exemption will not change.
No! You will not lose your senior tax exemption. No city government in Cobb County can modify or eliminate the Senior Age 62+ School Property Tax Exemption on Primary Residences. The Cobb County and/or Marietta Board of Education cannot do so. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners cannot do so. The Cobb delegation (Cobb’s Senators and Representatives) cannot do so. Cobb County voters are the only people who could do so.
To reduce or repeal the Cobb County Senior School Property Tax Exemption would require legislative sponsorship by members of Cobb County’s Delegation (i.e., State Senators & Representatives serving Cobb), followed by 2/3rd majority support in each house of Georgia’s General Assembly. IF that were to happen, the ballot initiative would be presented to Cobb County voters where a majority vote would be required to adopt the proposed changes.
Bring Community Leadership and Organized Activities
Ability to Spend City Money on City Projects.
The financial control exercised by the City Council will allow it to spend money on projects that might not be on the County's priority lists. Parks, dog parks, bike paths, and jogging trails…imagine what the City of East Cobb could provide. And, these types of community improvements can lead the way to increased home values.
Not really. More commissioners still would not provide East Cobb with the complete benefits of cityhood. The size of the population represented by each Commissioner is a challenge as it increases the size and complexity of their workloads. Another real problem to consider is that commissioners from throughout the county vote on East Cobb's issues. It is not realistic to expect each Commissioner to know the impact of a new development project on East Cobb residents when they may not have ever been in that part of the county. They are not elected from East Cobb, and they don't even have to drive through the area to get to the County Commission meetings.
Cityhood would put decisions into the hands of people who know the area, be accessible for area residents to express their opposition or support, and have a greater interest in what goes on in the area because it literally is happening in their backyards. Further, the East Cobb City Council members are motivated to strictly decide what is good for East Cobb rather than what is best for the county overall. With a large county like Cobb, it is always possible that the three Commissioners representing other areas will decide that Cobb County as a whole or their own district will be served best by approving measures that are not ideal for the East Cobb area. They were elected to do what is best for the whole county, and that may not be the best for East Cobb, and there is little recourse.
For example, a non-local investor can acquire a commercial property, propose plans to build high-density commercial or residential properties, and apply to tear down a shopping center. It has the potential to force out thriving local businesses. Allowing a zoning change like this might make sense to the Cobb County Commissioners because it would increase Cobb tax revenues. But, it would not make sense for the community. Large increases in population would fundamentally affect the area surrounding them by increasing traffic and possibly impacting the local schools. You can be sure that an East Cobb City Council would weigh the merits of a change like this with a more community-focused review.
There are many sources of market value available online. And, you should consult a local real estate professional for specifics in your neighborhood. A little digging online turned up median home values on Redfin.com. Here is a table showing the median home value in January of each year from 2017 - 2020.
Ultimately, the question of outsourcing will be decided by the City Council. City services could be outsourced initially or indefinitely, and the City of East Cobb would still save money over its taxes paid as unincorporated areas of Cobb County.
East Cobb is not seceding from Cobb County. There should be minimal impact on the county. There will be no change to the senior tax exemption, and there will no changes in the funding and management of East Cobb's excellent public school system. The desire to have local control and to enjoy the benefits of being a city appeals to the best rather than worst instincts. It is designed to enhance our East Cobb friends' and neighbors' lives and not take anything from them or anyone else in Cobb County. In fact, an improved East Cobb will attract people and resources to Cobb and should have a positive overall impact.
No change is expected in property or sales taxes to increase or decrease current tax rates. The City of East Cobb is basing all its projections on maintaining the current level of property tax.
The idea is to get more for the taxes we pay rather than pay more taxes.
It is anticipated that the City will establish ethics and transparency policies that mirror or expand on those from Cobb County and other newly-organized metro Atlanta municipalities.
Cobb County, GA currently has six (6) cities. We compiled details on each city from information readily found online at the Cobb County website and Wikipedia. The Table Of Cobb County Cities includes the number of city councilors who represent the residents, in addition to the current Cobb County Commissioners. In the last line, we included that details for the proposed City of East Cobb to allow the comparison to be made. While the details remain to be finalized, this serves to provide an approximate comparison and illustrates the "City-Lite" approach would provide additional representation that is aligned with other cities in the county.
Table of Cobb County Cities
Local Rep Ratio (council:pop.)
Acworth 1840 9.68 22,818 1 Mayor + 5 Councillors 1:4,564 Austell 1885 5.95 7,170 1 Mayor + 6 Councillors 1:1,195 Kennesaw 1887 9.82 34,077 1 Mayor + 5 Councillors 1:6,815 Marietta 1852 23.48 60,867 1 Mayor + 7 Councillors 1:8,695 Powder Springs 1838 7.37 15,758 1 Mayor + 5 Councillors 1:3,152 Smyrna 1872 15.59 56,666 1 Mayor + 7 Councillors 1:8,095 Proposed City of East Cobb 2023 TBD 60,000 1 Mayor + 6 Councillors 1:10,000
Public safety is included in the new city services in an effort to create community policing and to tailor services to the needs specific to the City of East Cobb. Currently, there are 49 sworn officers out of precinct 4 responsible for covering 74 square miles. Based on analyses in the feasibility study of other newer Georgia municipalities, the proposed city could fund up to 71 sworn officers to cover approximately 25 square miles. This lower ratio of sworn officer to resident allows for more community policing and quicker response times. Having officers dedicated to the City of East Cobb also lends itself to building relationships, and more community engagement.
Learning from other recently incorporated municipalities, the City of East Cobb can tailor fire and rescue services in a way that cannot be done on a scale that Cobb County provides. For example, there are newer technologies for fire trucks to help response times. There are opportunities to maximize efficiency of resources when it comes to emergency calls not requiring fire suppression. Understanding the proposed city of East Cobb is bordered by two other municipalities, contains five senior living facilities, and has no main thoroughfares, no airports, no trains, and no industrial buildings creates an area unique and different from any other municipality in Cobb County.
The East Cobb Cityhood Committee has researched a multitude of topics regarding cityhood using information available on the internet, conducting interviews of leaders in municipalities, consulting legal counsel involved in the formation of municipalities, as well as engaging in dialogue with legislative leaders.
If you have any questions, you contact us by email at [email protected]
It is common for a bill to be revised multiple times during the legislative process. That is why you can see a full view on the Georgia General Assembly’s website a complete history, filings, and amendments to bills. As Representative Sharon Cooper stated in an interview on GPB Law Makers, “this is how the sausage is made.”
Using feedback from the 2018 cityhood effort, the map size and population was reduced. Aiming to have a population of 50,000-60,000 residents, the intersection of Johnson Ferry Road and Roswell Road/120 was established as a center point. The main thoroughfare is Johnson Ferry Road from its southern most point at the Chattahoochee River to its northern most point at Shallowford Road. From there, the map was extended as far east as possible, to the Cobb/Fulton border and equidistant west. The reapportionment office creates maps using federal census blocks and natural barriers, creating what you see to be the western boundary of the proposed city of East Cobb.
School attendance zones are unrelated and have no correlation to the city map.
Some voter precincts are split. This is not an unusual occurrence and has been the case in other cities and counties with no detriment to the voters or the community.
No! The city of East Cobb has been determined to be financially feasible without any additional taxes being levied. The feasibility study, conducted by a third party (Georgia State University’s Andrew Young Center for State and Local Finance) without any input from the cityhood committee determined there would be a surplus of more than $3M with an additional $1.8M as a contingency fund. This analysis is conservative as it does not include any revenue the city would receive from a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cobb County or any future SPLOST funds provided to municipalities in Cobb County.
IF, in future years, the elected members of the City of East Cobb deem it necessary, they can increase the millage rate by 1 mill. (What is a mill?) Any increase greater than 1 mill must be approved by a majority of the registered voters within the city limits.
A franchise fee is collected by your utility company on behalf of your local municipality or government. Municipalities are allowed to impose fees on utilities for the use of the municipality’s right-of-way and related costs. Currently, Cobb County charges unincorporated Cobb County a franchise fee on cable at a rate higher than Cobb municipality residents. It is safe to assume they will continue to collect this franchise fee. It is customary for municipalities to collect a franchise fee on other utilities such as gas, electric, and water. This fee is capped at 5%. When calculating the approximate cost to residents of the city of East Cobb, it is estimated to be an average of $230 per household per year for a family of four.
Regarding natural gas, there will be no increase in your utility bill as franchise fees are included in the base rate. The only difference will be that franchise fee collected by natural gas suppliers will be paid to the city instead of Cobb County.
For example, Georgia Power currently collects a franchise fee of approximately 3% from customers who reside inside the city limits. There is also an unidentified franchise fee (1%) collected but it is included in the base rate. If the city is created, it will receive the municipal franchise fee and a portion of the fee charged to residents living outside of the city limits.
Franchise fees are also collected on telephone service. These franchise fees are charged on land lines not cellphones. Only those with a telephone land line may see a franchise fee addition on their bill. If a city is established, the city has the option to charge a franchise fee up to 3% of the telephone bill. Again, this is for telephone landlines only.
In Georgia, cable providers pay between 3-5% in franchise fees to municipalities and counties for the use of public rights-of-way. You should not see a change to your cable bill. Additionally, there are no franchise fees if you have a satellite provider.
2022 SPLOST project have been voted on by the general public. Projects listed in the SPLOST booklet must be completed per law. Whether or not the city manages the projects to completion in-house or by others would be the decision of the new city. The following appears on the Cobb County SPLOST website:
6.12.12 Tritt Property Acquisition, District 2, Estimated Cost: $8,000,000.00
SPLOST funding will be used to acquire the remaining 20 acres of the Tritt Property. Nearly 30 acres of the Tritt Property, adjacent to Fullers Park and East Cobb Park, were recently purchased using 2008 PARKS Bond funds. Acquisition of the remaining 20 acres will complete the assembly of a nearly 125-acre park, offering a mix of active and passive recreation activities.
The referendum for the City of East Cobb will appear on the ballot during the May primary election. Early voting begins May 2, 2022. Voting concludes May 24,2022.
Below is the question that will appear on the ballot on May 24, 2022, for voters in the proposed city of East Cobb.
Q: Shall the Act incorporating the City of East Cobb in Cobb County according to the charter contained in the Act be approved? YES or NO
A “YES” vote is a vote in favor of incorporating the City of East Cobb
To allow for the city mayor and council to be elected in November 2022. If East Cobb City incorporation is approved in May 2022, its citizens will have an opportunity to run and be elected as mayor or to the council this November. Residents will have the ability to elect council members that accurately represent the views of the community. The sooner the council is in place, the longer they will have to prepare and ensure the city is launched successfully. Additionally, the City of East Cobb will have a seat at the table before the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expires in 2023. An MOU is an agreement between a county and a city that clearly defines what funds transfer from the county to the city along with what expenses are associated with the services that city offers. The MOU will positively affect the citizens and budget of the City of East Cobb.
It is not another layer of government. Rather, it is a transfer of government. The transfer of responsibility will allow city officials to administer services in a way that is tailored specifically to needs of the community. Furthermore, cityhood will increase accountability and accessibility of those elected to represent you. Cityhood will allow for a more communal government where your elected officials share the same appreciation, reverence, and concern for East Cobb as you do.
This provision is common as it also used by the City of Snellville, Adairsville, Jefferson, Tybee Island, and Euharlee, among others. The reasoning behind the affirmative vote due to abstention is that it prevents people from abstaining to deadlock a vote. It ensures that council members are not willfully neglecting their responsibility to the people. It also deters councilors from engaging in agreements that would create a conflict of interest.
The elected city council has the option to amend the city charter by a “home rule” amendment or local act to include the prohibition of high-density housing. The council can also limit high-density through its planning and zoning regulations.
The City of East Cobb will offer the following services:
- Planning and Zoning
- Fire Protection
- Law Enforcement
- Parks and Recreation
- Code Enforcement
- Municipal Court
Learn More: City Services Provided
The short answer is projected revenues exceed projected expenses. An important part of the cityhood process is the completion of a feasibility study. In Georgia, the General Assembly only accepts the professional feasibility studies prepared by the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University. The main purpose of the analysis is to estimate the ability of the proposed city of East Cobb to meet its expenditures with available revenue sources. Based on this analysis, the proposed city of East Cobb could expect annual revenues of approximately $27.72 million and annual expenditures of approximately $24.65 million yielding a surplus of approximately $3.07 million, and an additional $1.8M contingency. The feasibility study is conservative on both revenues (low) and expenditures (high).
The feasibility study did not consider any funds the city would qualify to receive through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Cobb County and its municipalities. There are two reasons for this. First, the current agreement between Cobb County and its six existing cities is expiring and is set to be renegotiated during 2023. And secondly that in addition to the City of East Cobb effort, there are three other new city incorporations seeking voter approval during 2022.
A MOU is an agreement Cobb County uses to define fund allocations to its cities for services the cities provide and that are paid for through the Cobb County General Fund. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) §36-70-2 makes it unlawful for a resident to be taxed twice for the same service. Therefore, the County transfers money to each city based on the services the city provides but Cobb County collects taxes for via the General Fund.
The feasibility study also does not consider the long-term reality that each city in Cobb County receives a portion of SPLOST funds to be used on projects specific to the city. These funds are allocated based on population. It is reasonable to assume the City of East Cobb would begin receiving SPLOST funding as early as 2028 as a source of revenue that is dedicated to specific capital improvements within the proposed city limits.
The cityhood committee believes government closest to the people represents the people best. State Representative Ed Setzler said it best, “In a county of 800,000 people, the idea that you have one local representative to represent 200,000 people and three of the five people that literally make every decision about your backyard, you cannot vote for. It is a dynamic that arguably should have been fixed 20 years ago.” The citizens of East Cobb want to maintain what we have, keeping low density, keeping taxes low, creating local representation (approximately 1 councilor per 10,000 residents), and tailoring public safety to the specific needs and geography of East Cobb.
Do you like this page?