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Cobb Ed SPLOST Foes To Hold Rally

The Cobb Taxpayers Association is organizing Sunday's event at the Marietta Square.

Opponents of the upcoming Cobb Education SPLOST IV referendum announced today they will hold a rally this weekend.

The Cobb Taxpayers Association said a "Rock the E-SPLOST" rally will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Sunday at the Marietta Square.

Among the speakers are former Cobb Commission Chairman Bill Byrne, who lost his bid to return to his old job in last year's elections; and Kim Euston, the former chairwoman of the Cobb Board of Education's Facilities and Technology Committee, which conducts SPLOST oversight.

Also fighting the Education SPLOST extension is the Cobb-based Georgia Tea Party.

“This rally represents the culmination of a tremendous grassroots effort to defeat the E-SPLOST,” CTA president Lance Lamberton said in a statement. “It is also an opportunity to thank our supporters for their hard work in fighting to reduce taxes and wasteful government spending.”

Advance voting is underway for the March 19 Cobb SPLOST IV referendum. Voters may cast ballots this week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cobb Elections main office, 736 Whitlock Ave., Marietta.

Voters are being asked extend the one-penny SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax), which would collect $772 million between 2014-2018 for construction and maintenance projects in the Cobb County School District and Marietta City Schools.

Of the $717 million for Cobb schools, nearly $40 million would be earmarked for a renovation of Walton High School, replacements of Osborne High School and East Cobb Middle School that would cost $30 million each, a $30 milion career academy and two elementary school replacement projects costing $23 million each. (see attached PDF)

A total of $20 million in renovations would be spent in Marietta, which would collect $55.4 million in SPLOST money if the referendum passes. Another $15 million would be used to help retire debt and $13 million is slated for technology upgrades. (see attached PDF)

SPLOST opponents have been critical of the Cobb career academy proposal, and gymnasium and theater replacements at various high schools.

At a recent town hall meeting in East Cobb, Lamberton told Patch there are too many "wants" included in the SPLOST IV project list, including athletic and performing arts facilities.

He cited the recently opened performing arts center at Lassiter High School, which cost nearly $15 million in current SPLOST III funds to build.

"It's a Taj Mahal! Give me a break," he said. "The needs are a lot less than what [SPLOST supporters] are calling for."

Although his group also opposed the 2011 Cobb government SPLOST which passed by fewer than 100 votes and last year's defeated Atlanta region transportation SPLOST, Lamberton said he's not categorically opposed to the idea of a sales tax.

"We're opposed to this SPLOST," he said of the Ed SPLOST, which was first approved overwhelmingly by Cobb voters in 1998 and has been extended two more times.

Lamberton said he supports HB 153, sponsored by State Rep. John Carson, R-East Cobb, which would create a "fractional" SPLOST that would enable the collection of less than a penny.

Cobb school board member Scott Sweeney said at the East Cobb town hall that a fractional SPLOST only would delay the construction of projects that the tax would pay for.

He and SPLOST supporters have said that if the SPLOST IV referendum fails, the Cobb school district would be forced to take out a bond issue to pay for construction projects that would end up being more costly. SPLOST taxes over the years have helped the district become debt-free.

But Euston has been especially outspoken against the SPLOST IV project list, saying it was hastily assembled and asked for the vote to be delayed until November.

Last fall, as the Cobb school board scheduled the referendum, she told board members that "anti-tax, anti-government sentiment is high in Cobb. This project list as it is will not pass in March."

Advance voting will continue from 9 am. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday next week at various satellite locations in Cobb:

  • East Cobb Government Service Center, 4400 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta;
  • South Cobb Community Center, 620 Lions Club Drive, Mableton;
  • Northstar Church, 3413 Blue Springs Road NW, Kennesaw;
  • Boots Ward Recreation Center, Lost Mountain Park, 4845 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs.

Advance voting also will take place at the main Cobb Elections office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday of next week.

Voters who cannot vote in person may apply to Vote-by-Mail by mailing a signed application to the Cobb County Elections Office at P.O. Box 649, Marietta, GA 30061, by faxing to 770-528-2458, or by scanning and emailing it as an attachment to Info@cobbelections.org.

Applications are available at www.CobbElections.org. Voted ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19. For any questions regarding registration or voting, call 770-528-2581. A sample ballot is available at www.CobbElections.org or at www.sos.ga.gov/MVP.

A sample ballot is attached as a PDF file.

Melinda Paris March 07, 2013 at 11:57 AM
I vote NO, we went through this last year, just having a "special" vote cost us thousands. We never get the money back through special school programs, we have been there done that for the last 40 years! Do something about our still high unemployment in this county, get people back to work FIRST. Let's put the priorities in place first, as usual we get the cart ahead of the horse. Its always the same thing, raise taxes!! Let's cut the fat in this county, and then there will be more money for schools, I don't see anyone going without an education from Cobb County, if they are, then its their choice, its not the taxpayers picking up the already too high tab! I'm sick of more, more, more, taxes, I VOTE NO, NO, NO, and ALL of my family and friends are voting NO! Find the money, its there!
badgergirl March 07, 2013 at 05:54 PM
I've just become a senior and totally SUPPORT SPLOST.
Melinda Paris March 10, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Sometimes, we have to say no to HUMAN WANTS, to me this is not CAPITAL NEEDS. There has to be a compromise, we can't give everything that people want, having a special held SPLOST vote cost money, someone in COBB needs to reign in all the spending, trim the fat, cut the waste, this is hard times, I'm not too worried about taking money from teachers and you give as a scare tactic, I don't believe we have received billions of dollars of upgrades, and if its been that much money, then its really shameful that the students of this county has gone lacking. Last year we knocked down a vote/in 2011 the penny tax continued by winning with less than 100 yes votes, so sounds like a lot of us are sick of the continuation penny tax. We are living in difficult economic times, leaders need to step forward, and do their job, there is money to do a lot of these "wants" in the county without continually to hit us up for more-The teachers I know are not worried about money being taken away, we have no promise that our property tax will not go up, this SPLOST tax began in 1998, and my property taxes have gone up since then, so no promise of that NOT happening again, just another scare tactic. Its time to hold the leaders of this county accountable, instead of giving them checkbooks and pens to spend out of control. You have your opinion, and I have mine, and yes REALLY I am voting NO AGAIN!
Melinda Paris March 10, 2013 at 01:46 PM
p.s. I learned a long time ago that the politicians will ALWAYS vote us more taxes everytime, I also learned a long time ago, I will not go into a voting booth and happily vote YES for myself to be taxed more, to me, (AGAIN MY OPINION) is probably the dumbest thing I could ever do to myself and my family. REALLY, Who goes happily to their voting center and signs up for more taxes? I did that one time and within two years had my taxes go up, and I thought is this the stupidest thing I've ever done? I believed the leaders that if we did this or that, then our property tax wouldn't go up, I believed them hook, sink, bait and LIES. I voted yes, I paid higher property taxes within 24 months, and that taught me a very valuable lesson to NEVER, EVER BELIEVE politicians and all their LIES. So, no matter what the special VOTE is for, I WILL VOTE No no matter what! I was stupid ONCE, I wont be STUPID TWICE on VOTING MYSELF in a NEW TAX or CONTINUING A TAX, yea I was one of those that voted yes in 1998, those days are over, NOT EVEN 1/2 the things have been built that they listed then, and THEY wont be NOW either. One day you will ALL see you have been taken and feel the way I do, but you probably gotta learn the hard way as I did. Good Luck to all, and again REALLY I'M VOTING NO AGAIN
Melinda Paris March 10, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Lawrence, Writing on a blog that our property tax WILL NOT go up is a line you might not want to cross, You or no one else can not predict what the Cobb Co. Government will do, that was a promise years before and one that was NOT kept. I understand the two are separate departments, but at the end of the day, its the tax payers that pay whether its to John, Sally, or Tim. You write we would have paid 1/2 BILLION dollars in interest, you WOULD have to have proof from a confirmed source that I could see to believe that. You know how many empty houses we have sitting around in Cobb? You know what the UN-employment rate is in Cobb as of today? We might need to clean out some teachers, not all teachers are great or needed. Teachers in this county make a fine salary for 9 months pay, PLUS awesome benefits, time off from a job they could not get anywhere else, there is people with degree's making FAR less than teachers in Cobb County, so don't get me started on that issue either, cause I hear from teachers that make 50,000 plus that believe they deserve more, that is far more than most people in cobb that have master degree's, people don't get what a crisis this county, state, federal level we're in. WE spend more per student in this county than ever in history, but yet we can't get those scores up higher?? hhhmmm, what's the problem, think a new gym, art centers will change that, how bout some lazy kids studying? now that's a concept. Can't fix all with more taxes,Cut the fat.
Melinda Paris March 10, 2013 at 04:14 PM
AX THE TAX! For you that want to walk into a polling center and VOTE YES, smile, cheer, and ra-ra, That's your American right. I've done that before too, but Thank goodness, I saw the light. I WILL NEVER, EVER VOTE myself a tax again as long as I live, I have lived through many years of lies from politicians, administrative so-called leaders about what they have planned for the "new" tax over the years, what a joke, just like right now, they are putting in sidewalks from Dallas Hwy, down Casteel road, what a waste, and let's talk about the sidewalk from Cheatum Hill Rd, down Dallas hwy to "almost Barrett Pkwy" that cost us several millions of dollars, its NEVER used, in two years, I've seen maybe 2 people walking it, how wasteful, I resent it, I'm sick of it, its called the sidewalk that goes to no where, Where should taxpayers say enough Lawrence? We have a county mgr THAT is useless, tell me what He has done, look at his salary and ALL HIS PERKS, and tell me there is not some high fat going on, I'm telling you there is money there to do what is needed, and then the WANTED projects may have to wait, We should be sensitive to the families of this county that are out of work and struggling and quit putting more, that's my opinion, all of this is my opinion, and our family and extended family/friends have discussed all the WASTE in this county, we are just plain tired of it. Again, if anyone that reads this wants to run out and VOTE YES, that's your right. Good Luck to all.
Melinda Paris March 10, 2013 at 04:21 PM
side note: I DO realize that Cobb BOE and Cobb Co Government are separate area's of Gov't, but the Cobb BOE is just as deceitful as the side of the Cobb Gov't, so again where is the difference? Waste is waste and its wasted in all area's of our county, someone above said move to Paulding, well for the record, their sales tax is a penny higher, and they pay higher property tax, as well as Douglas County, I mention this cause what do you see their schools getting? What do we see their scores look like? What do we "hear" about great things in their schools? Nada- so my point is we can keep the SPLOST, we can raise property taxes, and yet there will be no guarantee's of anything getting done, getting built, they have holes in their pockets up in the county, and all monies just get eat up with their fat salaries, fancy trips, fancy lunches and other crap. I'm done with this blog, as I'm sure everyone knows what I think and will be doing on vote day. But I will respect you and anyone else's right to go vote the way your heart tells you, one day when you vote yes many times, you will finally realize you have been had, unless you are ONE OF THEM, if you are, then shame on you for making us (citizens) of this county feel this way. I was born in this county, raised in this county, so I'm not someone that just moved in, I've been here and lived it for a very long time, so you will know I'm not just an newbie blowing smoke. I'm going to enjoy the beautiful sunshine, that I can count on~
Kim March 19, 2013 at 03:10 PM
I dont know if anyone who thinks they can "vote no to taxing themselves" is smart enough to understand they just might be voting YES to higher property taxes! What a smart move their making!! Whooohoo Tea Party thinkers
Melinda Paris March 19, 2013 at 05:17 PM
so now we're dragging the Tea Party into this SPLOST vote, now I see how it is, truly. I think they get enough school tax from the property owners already..Its unfortunate how things get really misspoken. I'm not part of The Tea Party, but know some awesome people that are, but I don't see how one thing has to do with another, sorda like saying Nancy Pelosi is crazy but people that like her are voting yes??? I voted YES in 1998, and every other time, but its real clear what the BOE is NOT DOING with the money, and some of us are tired of saying "Okay, I'll come vote yes again, so put out that dummy list of things to get done, cause we know you will always have excuses as to why they don't, sure I'll be right there to vote yes. Of course, we'll vote YES, its awesome to know what you (The BOE) are going to do for our children, and then nothing again, 1/2 the stuff never gets touched. So this time, I VOTE NO, First it was shame on the BOE for putting out false list, AND NOW ITS SHAME on me to fall for it ONCE again! That's my opinion and mine only, for you that want the SPLOST to pass, that's your right as well, so LAWRENCE, don't come attacking, I'm making my point, my opinion and mine only, Don't start attacking me like you did on another blog and making up things that I said, EXCEPT I didn't say them. For all other's Good Luck, it will be, what it will be. and I can't fix stupid.

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