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Government & Politics Blog

A glance at county, state & federal government services, decisions, and issues that effect East Cobbers.

Cobb County 2016 SPLOST Vote Scheduled November 4

On November 4, Cobb voters will be asked to approve whether or not to extend the county’s SPLOST for six more years. This article outlines Cobb County’s 2016 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) as adopted by the Board of Commissioners on July 22, 2014. The following briefly describes the purpose of each capital improvement and the anticipated corresponding funding. The 2016 SPLOST is intended to address the immediate needs of Facilities, Technology, Parks, Libraries, Senior Centers, Public Safety, and Transportation that affect the future of Cobb County. The SPLOST will be in effect for a six (6) year period from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2021.

Projects include replacing Animal Control equipment, vehicles and parking lot repairs; upgrades for 800Mhz Radio System, new radio towers, replacement of emergency weather sirens, improvements to Court Facilities, Public Health clinics, a new Medical Examiner laboratory and replacement of building systems, renovations, security cameras and equipment for Sheriff’s Office.

Projects include infrastructure preservation (resurfacing, drainage, bridges and culverts), pedestrian improvements, safety and operational improvements (intersections, roadways, and school zones), and congestion relief and mobility improvements (thoroughfares, traffic management, traffic signals, and planning). SPLOST funding will be leveraged to receive additional funding from other sources, including Federal, State, and Community Improvement Districts.

Public Safety enhancements include the replacement of Police Headquarters and Evidence Unit, renovation and expansion of training facilities, construction of a new fire station, purchase of essential vehicles and equipment, and  improvements/upgrades/renovations to various Public Safety facilities.

Funding for these projects will be used for upgrades, enhancements, and renovations to existing park buildings, fields, and facilities.

Projects include construction of two new Library facilities and upgrades to other existing Library facilities including technology enhancements and improvements that will allow for more efficient and effective use of space.

Projects include expansion of the existing North Cobb Senior Center and upgrades to other facilities to allow for more efficiency and greater use of space.

FACILITIES – $17,940,380
Projects include infrastructure improvements of existing facilities, and the construction of a new millwork shop and new fleet maintenance facility to support the increase in public safety vehicles.

TECHNOLOGY – $30,079,000
Enhancements will provide many upgrades to existing applications, create an eGovernment presence (web and mobile access to key county services), the construction of a new data center, and the creation of a disaster recovery site.

This component, comprising a variety of projects, has been identified by each Cobb City and accounts for approximately 26% of SPLOST revenue remaining after county-wide projects.

Readers can review in greater detail the proposed 2016 SPLOST projects, by visiting Users can search existing SPLOST projects, as well as proposed projects, by area, commission district or category, such as transportation, parks, and roadway and pedestrian improvement. Each link contains a fact sheet about the project.

The mobile map application can be used on desktop computers, smartphones or tablets. It is compatible with both Android and Apple iOS devices. For more information, or to utilize this tool, visit

(Reprinted from the October 2014 issue of EAST COBBER)

League of Women Voters Marietta-Cobb SPLOST Forum is Oct. 29

The League of Women Voters Marietta-Cobb will host a SPLOST Forum on Wednesday, October 29, 7-9pm, at Cobb County Commissioner Building, 100 Cherokee Street Marietta, GA. 30090.

Featured speakers will be Lance Lamberton, founder and Chairman of the Cobb Taxpayers Association and Justin O’Dell, Co-Chair of Secure Cobb’s Future.

Attend to learn more about SPLOST before voting on November 4. Forum is open to the public.


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League of Women Voters to host SPLOST Forum

The League of Women Voters of Marietta-Cobb and American Association of University Women will host a forum on the pros and cons of the Cobb County SPLOST 2016 on Wednesday, October 29. The forum will be held at the Cobb County Commissioner’s Office at 100 Cherokee Street beginning at 7:00 PM. The speakers debating will be Lance Lamberton, founder and Chairman of the Cobb Taxpayers Association, and Justin O’Dell, Co-Chair of Secure Cobb’s Future. This event will be televised on Channel 23. Contact 678-641-6256 for more information.


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Advance Voting began Monday

Advance Voting began Monday and continues through Friday, October 31. No reason is needed to vote early. Click here for locations and times. This election gives us the opportunity to “vote for kids” by supporting candidates who will always ask the question: “Is it good for children?” Our elected officials make decisions about every aspect of the lives of children: safety, health, child care, education, youth development and training. But other issues have an impact on children and families, too, including transportation, tax policy, environment, development, and regulation. Learn a little more about the candidates’ view on education by reading this survey which was organized and distributed by the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association.

Wildcat facelift: School eyes $20.7M for new gym, arts center

Wheeler High School Principal David Chiprany stands in front of the construction site at the school where the new gymnasium is being built adjacent to the old one. The new gym, Chiprany said, will be in-ground and seat 3,000 people. Staff-Jeff Stanton


The Cobb Board of Education on Wednesday discussed spending $20.7 million on Wheeler High School to build a new gym and performing arts center.

The board will take a formal vote at its Oct. 23 meeting.

The new additions will be the last in a series of renovations to the school.

“The campus was already in construction, so it just made sense to proceed with the next phase of construction,” interim Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said.

The first phase, which cost $400,000, was for demolition and greenhouse replacement. The construction going on now is costing $1.9 million and involves the reconfiguration of the campus. The reconfiguration includes a new academic wing and a paved parking lot.

The first phases were funded by SPLOST III, and the final phase is funded by SPLOST IV.

The last — and most expensive — phase will see the construction of a new gymnasium and performance arts building.

The gym will be more than 100,000 square feet and will seat 3,000 people. The performance arts center will seat 750.

Wheeler, which opened in 1965, is on Holt Road in Marietta and has 2,200 students.

Wheeler Principal David Chiprany said the current auditorium seats about 350 people and has old lighting and sound systems. The new performing arts center will also feature a black box theater and a horticulture classroom.

Chiprany said once the new gym is complete, the school would like to host regional basketball tournaments.

“One thing that’s interesting is we’ve had to deal with one gym the last four years,” Chiprany said. “It’s been really difficult. When that’s completed next year, we will have two gyms for the first time in four years.”

Chiprany has been the principal at Wheeler for six years, three of which the school has been under construction during.

At one point, Wheeler had 38 classroom trailers and teachers had to park at a nearby middle school.

“It’s a lot of planning,” Chiprany said. “Lots of collaboration and students and parents just adapting to the challenges, knowing the end result was going to be a beautiful new building, and eventually a new gym and theater.”


(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Aimee Sachs, October 09, 2014.)

Advance voting for election begins Monday


Advance Voting for the Nov. 4 General Election will be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mondays-Fridays, Oct. 13-31, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Cobb Elections main office, 736 Whitlock Ave., Marietta.

Six satellite voting locations will open later in October. For more information, including the “Vote by Mail” application, visit or call 770-528-2581.

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New department head to be considered by board

cobb county logo

Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee will present a recommendation to commissioners this month that Sharon A. Stanley, senior manager of network operations for the McKesson Corporation, become the county’s new Information Services Department director.

County Manager David Hankerson offered Stanley as his candidate of choice to Lee, who is scheduled to bring the recommendation to the Cobb County Board of Commissioners at the Oct. 14 meeting.

“I am pleased to ask the chairman to bring forward Ms. Stanley as my recommendation as the county’s new Information Services director,” Hankerson said. “Her skills and experience will be an important part of our effort to deliver quality services as efficiently as possible.”

Stanley, who has worked for McKesson since 2009, is responsible for the corporation’s Information Technology network and two network control centers. She previously worked as the director of network operations for Sprint.

She has also served as a commander in the U.S. Navy and an adjunct computer science professor of the University of Maryland and Wilson College.

The Cobb County Information Services department provides technology support to all county officers and departments. It is also responsible for the design, support, maintenance, administration, and operation of the UNIX and Windows-based servers, various application databases updates and maintains the county’s geographical mapping data.


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Cobb County honors public safety workers


The 15th annual Public Safety Appreciation Week began with the kick-off breakfast honoring public safety personnel at Cobb Galleria Centre Monday, Oct. 6.

Cobb County Police Officer Charles Vill (above center) was awarded the Medal of Valor, the highest award recognizing an individual for an act of bravery in a life-threatening situation. In February, Vill was shot five times by the driver of a vehicle he pulled over. Despite being seriously wounded, he maintained his tactical awareness. He acted quickly, moving to cover out of the line of fire, maintained control and provided clear and accurate descriptions and directions over the radio which ultimately led to the capture of his assailant.

Acworth Police Department Agent Kyle Arnold was named the Public Safety Employee of the Year. Arnold, currently assigned to MCS Narcotics, is one of the first entry officers when serving high risk warrants. This year alone, he has participated in the service of 15 to 20 high risk warrants. Arnold has handled major drug cases with high-level drug dealers.

Marietta Police Officer Paul Reynolds won the 2014 Award of Merit. In January, Reynolds provided emergency treatment to a seven-month pregnant woman suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. His tourniquet not only stopped the bleeding, but moved her broken femur back into place.

Smyrna Police Officers Tom Rooney was also honored with the Award of Merit for his actions during an apartment fire where he went door-to-door, evacuating people from the building. His actions were credited with saving at least 17 lives.

Cobb County Police Det. Tom Bastis won the Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual whose service and performance has exceeded the realm of the job. Bastis has worked for the Cobb County Police Department since 2003, serving more than five-and-a-half of those years within the Crimes Against Children Unit.

Public Safety Appreciation Week, which runs through Oct. 12, is sponsored by the Cobb County of Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit


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Early voting begins October 13


The 2014 mid-terms elections are quickly approaching. Early voting begins on Monday, Oct. 13.

Visit for locations. Click here for informational flyer with listing of locations.

Rebuilding Cobb’s Future: An Energetic Focus on Redevelopment

Join the Cobb Chamber and Cobb’s Competitive Edge for this year’s redevelopment forum, Rebuilding Cobb’s Future, on Oct. 7 at the KSU Center from 7:30-11am. This central gathering of stakeholders, developers, economists and leadership from local, state and federal agencies will explore the redevelopment opportunities in Cobb County.

This informative event, held in partnership with the Council for Quality Growth and Revitalize Marietta, will define the need for revitalization and redevelopment in Cobb and highlight the financial tools and incentives that allow developers to maximize their investment. The event also presents the opportunity to partner with local and state elected officials to implement stronger redevelopment policies.

Speakers and panelists will include: Dr. Ken Harmon of KSU, Jeff Fuqua of Fuqua Development, Mason Zimmerman of Pope & Land, and Al Martin of the Cobb Sports Alliance will discuss the topic of North Cobb and the Town Center Area CID. Beth Sessoms of the City of Marietta, Tad Leithead of the Cumberland CID, Mike Plant of the Atlanta Braves, and David Demarest of Jones Lang Lasalle will discuss the Marietta and Cumberland CIDs and the Atlanta Braves Project Development. Ed Richardson of the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority, Governor Roy Barnes of the Barnes Law Group, and Don Geiger of the Cumberland Courtyard will discuss the South Cobb/Six Flags area.

Our keynote speaker, former Mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla., Rick Baker, will discuss his instrumental role in revitalizing the area and using his “Seamless City” approach to redevelopment to overcome the challenges.

Breakfast and refreshments will be provided. Reserve your seat by registering online.



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