Cobb Budget: No Tax Increase, No Library Closings

The county commissioners are holding a regular meeting at 9 a.m., with the big fiscal decisions scheduled for the middle of the session.

We're live from the Cobb County Board of Commissioners meeting, where the five-member board is due to pass an amended budget to close a gap estimated at more than $31 million for the rest of fiscal 2011, which runs through Sept. 30. We'll be tweeting live at the various Cobb Patch Twitter feeds, including @EastCobbPatch, then copying the feeds into this file for further reading, thinking and commenting. The agenda for the meeting is attached.

Just to clarify a few budget things, the Windy Hill Senior Center and the adult day care center will close, but Commissioner Bob Ott said the Windy Hill center's closing has been in the works because it's the least used of the centers. None of the libraries will close, although they will have to accommodate $422,000 in cuts that will likely result in further reductions in opening hours.

The Parks and Recreation Department must cut $968,000 but won't have to close any facilities. The Mable House, however, becomes a rental-only facility, and various programs and services will be cut back.

A key element of the plan, in addition to the use of some $4.5 million in reserve funds, is the pending enactment of Georgia House Bill 280, which will allow the county to move around $2.5 million in 911 funds, $2 million to the general fund and $500,000 to the fire fund.

Ott says the decision to reject Powell "blindsided" him. He says he has no idea why the three commissioners voted against her because they never told him they had any objections. The vote came without discussion over the proposed appointment.

11:51 a.m. And the meeting is over. Thank you for following the meeting with Patch.

11:50 a.m. Ott says that the board usually goes with the recommendation of the commissioner. He's obviously not happy.

11:47 a.m. The board rejects Bob Ott's nomination of former Commissioner Thea Powell to the Citizens Oversight Committee, 3-2, with Goreham, Birrell and Lee opposed. The board unanimously approves Ott's pick of Bob Barr for the committee.

11:44 a.m. Birrell says everybody should vote for the animal shelter online so it can get a $100,000 award. She also mentions the next Mabry Park advisory meeting April 22.

11:43 a.m. Both Commissioners Thompson and Birrell just had new appointees to the Citizens Oversight Committee approved.

11:40 a.m. She is telling the commissioners several different ways they could save money.

11:37 a.m. New speaker Bobbie Jo Ryan, our last of the session, says she doesn't understand why there was such short notice on the plan to close 13 libraries. She says the threat to the libraries "lit a fire under my butt" to get involved and pay attention to the county government.

11:35 a.m. New speaker, regular Craig Harfoot, says the county shouldn't fund nonprofits, but he says he understands they keep the commissioners in office by saying nice things about them and telling people to vote for them.

11:32 a.m. A new speaker, James Travers, represents the fire department. First responders will be late getting to people who are bleeding, he says.

11:30 a.m. He says there is a lot of spending that is uneccesary. Money doesn't grow on trees, not even in Cobb County, he says. (We'll have video of part of Oak's speech later.)

11:28 a.m. Next speaker is a little boy, 10-year-old Oak Martin. He's home-schooled and uses Mountain View Library.

11:26 a.m. "I've got my checkbook right here," he says in offering to pay a millage increase to preserve fire services at the current level.

11:24 a.m. He would rather see the board raise taxes.

11:22 a.m. New speaker Chuck Cahn says he is concerned with cuts to the Fire Department. He says the potential increase in homeowner's insurance rates would be greater than the millage increase required to avoid cutting fire services.

11:19 a.m. "If you combine all the senior centers, you not only will not lose money, you will gain money," she says.

11:17 a.m. A 70-year-old speaker named Leslie Matheny (she cited her age in noting that although she is speaking on senior issues, she is not herself a senior) is calling for opening the new building on Powder Springs Road that was meant to be a senior center but never opened. She says it would work as a central location if the county is closing Windy Hill and other senior centers across the county.

11:15 a.m. The board upholds the denial of the license 4-0, with Birrell having recused herself.

11:13 a.m.  Hernandez acknowledges he has made a lot of mistakes but he's trying to support his family.

11:10 a.m. The board is holding a hearing over the denial of an alcohol service license to Jeffrey Hernandez, who works as a waiter at Bay Breeze in Marietta. He turned out to have a couple of felony drug convictions that he did not disclose in his application for the county license, according to the testimony.

11:07 a.m. The board votes to sell 1.75 acres of property because it is unserviceable for government. It should be worth $3.5 million.

11:05 a.m. All of the transportation items on the agenda passed unanimously. Now we're on to the support services section of the agenda.

11:01 a.m. On Item 7, a change order passes to cover a 65-cent change. "Is there any question we're watching every cent?" Lee asks?

10:59 a.m. We're flying through transportation items. The board approves sidewalk improvements on the East Cobb Trail Extension, among other items.

10:57 a.m. The consent agenda just passed 5-0 as we returned to more mundane parts of the meeting.

10:45 a.m. After that emotional hour, the commissioners take a 10-minute break.

10:44 a.m. Amendments to the budget for the remainder of 2011 pass 4-1, with Goreham voting no. Lee makes the motion with Ott seconding it.

10:43 a.m. Speaking to the crowd, she says if you have to wait when you call, it's because they are taking furlough days. She's the only constitutional officer to speak about the budget.

10:41 a.m. The probate judge says she met with her staff, and they said they would take furlough days, but marriage and gun licenses are going to take more time.

10:40 a.m. Goreham says she hopes she's wrong about that.

10:38 a.m. Commissioner Helen Goreham says she's happy the budget was balanced without a tax increase, but she doesn't believe a 10 percent across-the-board cut is actually achievable.

10:37 a.m. Commissioner JoAnn Birrell says public safety is a priority, but she appreciates the work that went into this plan. She says this is the best plan.

10:36 a.m. Commissioner Woody Thompson says he's uncomfortable with public safety furloughs, but emphasizes that it's only for five months.

10:35 a.m. Ott says spending will have to be watched carefully and things should be delayed until next fiscal year if possible.

10:33 a.m. Ott says the "wolf is away from the door" for now.

10:33 a.m. Ott thanks the filled room of people for coming out today.

10:32 a.m. Ott says that if they do have to furlough police, then make sure safety isn't compromised

10:32 a.m. Commissioner Bob Ott says his priority has always been to avoid police furloughs, but he says that's not possible right now.

10:31 a.m. Some people in the crowd are leaving now that they've heard the plan.

10:30 a.m. On June 28 the Citizens Oversight Committee will give its report to the commissioners.

10:29 a.m. Lee says the state and federal governments have made cuts that have trickled down to the county. He also says the school system will have to absorb child training costs that the county has covered.

10:28 a.m. Lee says there will be additional cuts in 2012.

10:25 a.m. Lee says the county has never had to take money from reserves before.

10:24 a.m. Lee plans to meet once a week with Pehrson and County Manager David Hankerson to track the financial plan.

10:23 a.m. The furlough days include the police. We will not let a 911 call go unanswered, Lee says.

10:22 a.m. Lee says when the county built the regional libraries, the intent was to close the smaller libraries eventually.

10:20 a.m. Lee says libraries will probably have reduced hours to accommodate the $422,000 cut.

10:20 a.m. Lee says the parks department will take a bigger hit than the 10 percent.

10:19 a.m. Lee emphasizes there is no millage increase.

10:19 a.m. Pehrson is done with his presentation.

10:17 a.m. The budget uses $2.7 million of general fund reserves and $1.8 million of fire fund reserves, cutting the general fund balance just below the minimum according to county policy.

10:15 a.m. One-time moves (mostly cuts) will save more than $16 million between the general fund and the fire fund. The debt service fund is a legal liability and can't be cut.

10:14 a.m. Libraries and senior centers will stay open but will have to make cuts.

10:13 a.m. Five furlough days across the board. The Mable House becomes a rental only facility.

10:12 a.m. There are $3.7 million in departmental cuts in the general fund, including more than $400,000 from libraries; an additional $732,000 would be cut from the fire fund. The toal is $4.4 million in cuts.

10:10 a.m. The county won't know the bottom line on the property digest until June.

10:09 a.m. The projected decline in the property digest is 6.85 percent, which isn't as bad as the 9 percent to 10 percent expected, which means the budget deficit overall is only $27.1 million, not $31.6 million.

10:06 a.m. Finance Director Jim Pehrson is going through the background. Now presents the bottom line: cutting one-time expenditures, reduing departmental operating budgets 10 percent and shifting 0.11 mil from the general fund to the debt service fund.

10:04 a.m. "We're at a time that is unique for Cobb County," Lee says in introduing the finance director for the final budget proposal. "We're in a tough situation."

10:02 a.m. Children and adults present budget petitions to an officer for the board.

10 a.m. "It's a resource used every day in every way in every region," she says. She also adds a plug for the senior centers.

9:59 a.m. Libraries have already taken a hit with reduced hours, she says.

9:58 a.m. She says libraries are used by everyone. She mentions all the books for required reading just for her three children. And she's just one parent.

9:55 a.m. The final speaker is Karen Hallacy. (We'll get the spelling cleared up after the meeting.)

9:55 a.m. Doyle says libraries are meeting a demand. Closing libraries is a serious issue, she says to applause. "Please don't close any of the libraries."

9:54 a.m. Doyle: "Remember the people who don't have Internet. They couldn't email you." 

9:54 a.m. She says people can't afford the Internet at home and they come to the libraries to use the the computers there.

9:52 a.m. She says home-schooled students and many others come to the libraries all the time. Libraries are vital.

9:50 a.m. The fifth speaker is Demi Doyle, who says she's here on behalf of all libraries.

9:49 a.m. "We can't afford one furlough day," Mestre says. He adds, "It's time to raise the millage rate. It's time. ... There's no more cuts in public safety. Y'all are proud of your public safety, prove it."

9:47 a.m. The fourth speaker, Jorge Mestre, is concerned about public safety and speaks on behalf of police officers.

9:40 a.m. Third speaker is a woman from East Cobb, Carol Harless. She mentions that it's National Library Week. Her concern is the closing of the East Cobb Library, which is new and is the third-busiest in the county, she says.

9:39 a.m. He offers documentation of waste.

9:38 a.m. Next up is John Sullivan, another retired police officer. He's talking about on-call issues and waste within the police department.

9:35 a.m. He does cite one law enforcement area to cut: the safety village.

9:35 a.m. He suggests cuts to other areas. He mentions the golf course as fluff and says CCT is "a Dracula draining blood from the county."

9:32 a.m. He talks about furloughs within in public safety: Public safety hasn't had a pay increase in four years. No complaints. But furloughs are hard to explain to the rank and file.

9:32 a.m. He's a retired deputy police chief and says he doesn't see how the police can cut anymore.

9:30 a.m. First speaker is Billy Mull: He says he's not here to bash anybody. He's not talking about libraries, but public safety.

9:29 a.m.: About 25 people raise their hands in support of the senior centers and a smaller number for the parks.

9:27 a.m. Lee says the board has received more than 5,000 emails against closing the libraries.

9:25 a.m. Lee asks all the people here to support the libraries to raise their hands. The count is 200 to 225, plus about 50 outside.

9:24 a.m. Time for the budget discussion.

9:23 a.m. Instead of a millage increase, the plan moves 0.11 mil from the general fund to the debt service fund and cuts the fire fund by 10 percent.

9:20 a.m. April 19 is Patriots Day. Commissioner Helen Goreham is presenting a proclamation to the the Sons of the American Revolution.

9:18 a.m. New budget proposal, called "the final budget proposal," has no tax increase and cuts the departmental operating budgets 10 percent across the board instead of shutting down specific facilities.

9:15 a.m. Commission Chairman Tim Lee is recognizing community banks by proclaiming this Community Bank Month.

9:11 a.m. Commissioner JoAnn Birrell is presenting a proclamation declaring April 25 to 30 to be Community Development Block Grant Week.

9:09 a.m. Commissioner Woody Thompson is presenting a proclamation declaring April Fair Housing Month.

9:07 a.m. Tim Lee plans to move the budget up in the agenda, right after presentations.

9:05 a.m. The invocation and pledge are out of the way. Standing room only in the meeting. Reached the limit, according to the fire marshal.

9 a.m. Only six members of the public are expected to be allowed to address the board.

8:50 a.m. The boardroom is full, with a large number of people wearing red paper hearts that read "I love my library." The proposed closing of 13 of 17 county libraries to help eliminate the budget deficit has drawn out the people.

Julia Harris April 14, 2011 at 01:01 AM
I agree with Michael. The issue here is the budget. It affects us all. Lord knows we're all struggling in the economy.
Maureen April 14, 2011 at 09:33 AM
I would like to know WHY Cobb County Fire Dept responds to calls when the elderly fall in their homes. A huge fire truck is called several times a year to our neighborhood. The GAS alone for that truck to get here and there is NO FIRE! I moved here from a town that had an ambulance service for health emergencies, staffed with EMTs. All I keep thinking is what if someone really has a fire in the meantime. My son believes it has to do with the law in GA for carrying oxygen in emergency vehicles. Is this why? One neighbor is alone due to the spouse staying somewhere else and they call 911 all the time. It's our tax dollars. And why I'm at it, why do I pay $3.50 a month for street lights that go on and off and the streets are dark. Let's change the bulbs to solar or keep them on or refund the monthly charge. A lot of comments and no one is thinking of solutions. It would make sense to call other counties or states and see if there are better ways of making things work for all.
Pam J April 14, 2011 at 12:57 PM
I'm curious too as to why the fire department has to go to every emergency. I don't think they used to do that. Like you said, all ambulance drivers have to be EMT's, I think. I believe that a few of the fire stations have the smaller vehicle they can drive instead of the big trucks, so maybe all of the stations should have one of those. And have you tried contacting the county about the streetlights? I'm not sure they have people driving around at night looking for burned out or just messed up lights.
Linda Rehkopf April 14, 2011 at 04:38 PM
Street light problems are handled by the power company that serves your neighborhood -- Georgia Power or Cobb EMC.
Wolfgang April 15, 2011 at 06:29 AM
I have had the opportunity to read some of the comments made so far, and honestly I am just worried about the lack of knowledge that is involved in the public's understanding of what the police force does. The truth is that with the exception of the time that the officer is at your door step and starts, "I regret to have to inform you'; or when he tries to touch your hand to comfort you when you have been violated; or is tromping through the woods looking for your child; is that police work is all about perception. The perception is that a citizen feels safe because there is a police force out there. The Police Chief is going to ensure that perception is maintained. So when you call and complain about that six year old riding up and down the street on a minibike, be assured that your response will not be delayed. Of course the question begs how that response is going to be maintained. Simply a burglary detective will put on a uniform and back fill the furlough. Of course his twenty to forty burglary cases will all be put on HOLD status. Of course those cases were probably generated by two to three suspects, but the fact that the Federal crime statistics have already been generated by the mere fact that the burglary occurred, solving the case will never bring those stats down, but we can at least maintain the perception.
Wolfgang April 15, 2011 at 06:35 AM
The simple truth about traffic stops and citations is even simpler. I can complete a traffic stop from blue lights to thank in ten minutes. That sweaty, clammy feeling you get when you see those blue lights is probably going to keep you from that critical phone call you have to make while driving to your third cousin twice removed, right before you get into a vehicle collision. Once I have to respond to that accident I am out of service for about an hour. Of course now, to fill that space, and to have an officer to be able to respond to your concern about those youths standing on the corner plotting the downfall of western civilization, we will take a detective from another unit, lets say, Domestic Violence, and put them in a uniform. Considering that theft and domestic violence account for the majority of non-traffic related contacts with the police the lack of follow up on DV cases will only lead to more complaints.
Wolfgang April 15, 2011 at 06:38 AM
Another misnomer I have seen about traffic citations involves revenue. Honestly, I have no idea how much your ticket is when I give it to you. But I do know that for the 100,000's of citations issued, the County generates less than 5 million dollars. I would be curious where the rest goes. The truth about traffic enforcement lies in what is known as the 'Blue Light Effect'. This is a high level concept that supervision wraps themselves in comfort with. It is a belief that by putting cars on the side of the road, that bad guys will be less inclined to take the risk to dive through the neighbourhood. When it comes down to it, the average CCPD officer has a ridiculous amount of training, probably has a degree or four or more years of military service and cares deeply about his/her job. While we all complain about our work and the silly things that our citizens do, we really want to help. But in order for you to help, you as a citizen should fulfill your right and responsibility to know and have held accountable what your police department is doing to serve you, not just what it looks like they are doing.
Pam J April 15, 2011 at 12:40 PM
Wolfgang, are you a police officer? I talked to a couple of Cobb County police officers yesterday and they said that furlough days would not hurt them as far as service was concerned. They were prepared to handle it. I don't know if that is a "script" they are "reading" from, but I do feel like they will be okay. They also said that the fire department will be fine too. People aren't happy about losing a week's pay, but as long as you don't lose your job, that can be dealt with. I know that some people are upset that the libraries are staying open, but also realize that some of the people working in them will probably be let go and the hours will be shortened (again). If you are a county employee, things are a little tough right now. And if they had hired me for any of the jobs I applied for in the past year, I would be right there with you. I am very happy to see people get involved in some of the big issues this year. I think that most of the time we are apathetic about what our county officials are doing.
Wolfgang April 15, 2011 at 10:51 PM
@Pam I am sure that there are many officers who have committed themselves to ensuring that there will be no interruption in service. I would actually suspect that it would be the majority, and for the citizens there will be little to no measurable effect. What I was hoping for the citizens to learn to ask is why do we keep doing the things that we do when they do not work. We as a department are very inflexible when it comes to adapting to change and I am very concerned that the citizens are not pushing their representative to explain themselves. I would start to ask that of the 31 million that was a shortfall, how much (20 million) has been pushed to next years budget? If we are having difficulty with a shortfall now, how are we going to close a budget with added debt forwarded on? As for my personal feelings, it is hard after more than two decades of work in which I have been shot at, having to shoot people, fought for my life and have the scars to prove it that I am going to be put aside for a week. But that is a personal feeling that in fullness doesn't bear on the question that yes I can manage without a week of pay. I also have had the opportunity to see what the economy has done to others. Some I regret brought the extent of misery on themselves, others, if not most have just been served hard. Back to tangent, citizens need to ensure that they are blinded by show and tell/divide and conquer tactics of the commissioners and demand accountability at all levels.
Pam J April 15, 2011 at 11:00 PM
So many of the prior comments seem to focus on the fire department, but the police have, what I consider, a more dangerous job in Cobb County. Especially in this economy where more of the "bad" comes out in people. And at least everybody has the time to prepare for a week without pay. Maybe eat out a few less times and save a little more money to get by. I was lucky to get three months severance pay when I lost my job, but people that don't get any severance and are put there with no warning are the ones that have the worst time. And I don't know you personally, but I am glad you are still around to talk about this.
Cathy Logan April 16, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Cobb County has too many police.
Bill April 16, 2011 at 04:38 PM
"Cobb County has too many police." ========================== Part 1 of 2 parts: Don't know what 'too many' might be, if you are a crook then probably there are too many, if your home got burgled then you might think there is not enough. One thing seems very clear to me: To many people are employeed at various levels of government. Makes no difference if it is city, county, state or federal. There are to many feeding at the government groughs. Generally they get better pay for government work than those doing similar jobs in private practice, they get good benefits and many are civil service. Having said that, I can think of exceptions, just one is the DMV, where the pay in Ga. totally sucks and it seems to me they can't keep people at what they pay. But as I said this seems an exception.
Bill April 16, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Part 2 of 2 parts (done this way because this site limits your comment length) We won't have any worthwhile reductions while we keep so many on the various government payrolls. Should they be fired? No, just put in a hiring and pay freeze for 2 years or so and the problem will over time take care of itself without adding to the unemployment lines. Also we should immediately cut down many departments to 4 day work weeks. Won't work across the board of course, for those departments that can't operate on 4 day schedules (law enforcement/fire/prisons etc) institute furloughs of 2-4 days per month. I see some unions in the Northern states bitching and moaning about potential cuts in pay and particularly benefits. If they can get better jobs then they should take them, my opinion is that if you have a job in todays bad economy then you should be pleased to have it, if you don't want it there are a heck of a lot of other people who would be glad to have it.
Pam J April 16, 2011 at 08:14 PM
I don't think we can ever have too many police officers out there. Better safe than sorry. And I have applied for a lot of jobs with Cobb County over the past year, and the pay scale is usually more than any of the jobs I have applied for in the private sector. Heck, they were advertising for a custodian at over $12.00 an hour. And if you look at the federal level, they pay even more. I believe that our police officers should be paid a lot of money because of the danger they are in every day. Not for writing speeding tickets, but for not knowing if the person they pull over is going to run or pull a gun on them. I would like to see the police driving through neighborhoods more often than sitting on the side of the road with their radar guns pointed at cars as they drive by. You are right about the DMV. If they need to let people go from other departments, put them in one of the DMV offices.
We must NOT tamper with our police protection. Police presence generates crime PREVENTION. Cobb county has always maintained a "don't even think about committing crime in Cobb" presence. It is for a time such as this. They are held to a higher standard the minute they put on the uniform and the weapon, including putting their lives on the line. This must be acknowledged and protected at all cost. Police are not to be treated like everybody else. THEY PROTECT EVERYBODY ELSE. Because of our police force, "everyone else" in Cobb gets to rest a little easier knowing that as many things are out of our control, there is one thing we can count on. We must rest easy knowing that our police force is a FORCE to be reckoned with. While everyone is struggling with the realities of doing more with less; the only peace of mind we have is that the law enforcement personnel is at peace, they are present, and assured that they are NOT like everybody else; they are to protect everybody else without the anxiety of being treated like "everybody else."
Maureen April 16, 2011 at 11:22 PM
This is just a thought and maybe an idea of how the community can help. On the millionaire show there was a community where men wore T-shirts called "Manpower"? The community had volunteers walk the streets of their subdivisions to look for abandon homes, suspicious activity, etc. What if we had a meeting to advise, possibly direct instructions from the police force, for this volunteer group to help bring attention to situations that they may not know of since they can't be everywhere all the time. As a benefit for the volunteers, maybe an incentive, like a point system, could be gained for the hours given to the team. I know there is a lot of legal issues but the call to police from anyone in this group would help them, make our neighbors feel safer, especially the elderly, and the known presence of this group would benefit all. What do you think? Yes we can make a difference with a positive attitude and appreciation for the police force already trying to keep us safe.
Amy Barnes April 17, 2011 at 01:17 AM
Reading your comments are like taking a breath of fresh air. Finally someone else is taking the same argument up that I am trying to put out there. AUDIT the departments! "To measure is to know." - a scientist.
Amy Barnes April 17, 2011 at 02:10 AM
@Wolf - I do not trust the County financial books - if we already have HALF a MILLION unaccounted for, then what ELSE are they hiding? Has anyone else asked WHY we are in a deficit, before trying to fill that deficit? I will be happy to tell you that the Animal Control officers are the nicest and most respectful ones you have on staff. As for the rest of the force... What about the strong-arm tactics that police use when "asking" John and Jane Doe to open the (car or house) door for a warrant-less investigation? Investigator: "We are required to do this by law." HA! My reply : "Your legal duty shall not infringe upon, nor waive any of, my Constitutional RIGHTS! Now get going - and leave me alone." Do you really think that I will allow a search, or even do as much as answer the door to angry-sounding, thumping, screaming police officers who crowd my doorway without a search warrant? And - YES - I have *actually* kicked Cobb Police off my property for using strong-arm tactics. After that, I bought out Home Depot's entire stock of No Trespass signs and had a party posting them all over my property. I am considering a fence, too.
Amy Barnes April 17, 2011 at 02:11 AM
... and too many fishing trips - they have to fill that artificial need for more prisoners with this shiny new jail we have.
mary kirkendoll April 17, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Look, NOBODY wants to speak the truth around here! The 2005 SPLOST has been MISmanaged,... STOLEN from the taxpayers! Drive around Cobb County-- it's a DISASTER! How to compare? Drive over to Peachtree Industrial exit north- unbelievably beautiful, As it works its way up past Doraville, through Norcross(totally revitilized historic city) , up through Duluth(absolutely beautiful!). Work your way east through side streets, & major roadways,.. take a peek @ Suwanee, Lawrencville, Sugar Hill & Grayson! Almost every CORNER of Gwinnett feels updated, lush landscaping along roads, new businesses, sleek buildings,parks, greenways, biketrails. etc. Gwinnett just looks clean & pretty!! (& yes there still are a few bad pockets of illegals,.. but you can tell, they are working hard to CHANGE it!!) I know you all want to remember 'the old rundown' Gwinnett,... but they have been taking care of business & it SHOWS! Cobb gold ole boy cronyism has wasted & pocketed much of the 2005 SPLOST , more than $700 MILLION? And now, you're going to let them do it again? We wouldn't be in a shortfal, if Cobb was being run in an HONEST manner. The money that's being pocketed would pay for ALL the police & fire we need! I'd move to Gwinnett in a heartbeat,.. if I could get enough peanuts for my devalued house , here in the poor 3rd world of corruption,... SMYRNA! Take a drive up Cobb Parkway, South Cobb Drive, Six Flags, Veterens Memorial (boy, some memorial)-& tell me where the money went??
Pam J April 17, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Sounds like a plan to me. You can put "neighborhood watch" signs at the entrance of your subdivision, but they don't mean much unless you have a lot of retired or unemployed people living around you. But I'm not sure how to get something like this started.
Pam J April 17, 2011 at 01:42 PM
I do believe they mismanaged the money somewhat. I guess one of the things they did was install the "countdown" walk signs at the intersections. They redid the bridge on Concord Road (thank goodness), and did several road paving projects. But you are correct in the fact that the areas that need help didn't get it. Every county will always have areas that aren't very "pretty", but you would think that the extra millions they got from us would have helped a little more. And Smyrna has been up and down. Years ago, nobody wanted to live there because nobody could pronouce the name. Then everybody figured it was the closest city in the county to downtown Atlanta and tiny little houses started selling for $350,000. So those people who bought the little 2-bedroom, 1 bath houses a few years ago for $350,000 are really feeling the heat.
Pati Alexander April 19, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Does nobody notice they are closing two Senior centers to balance this budget? As if that would actually make a difference? The Senior Day Center has 30 seniors, most of which have physical disabilities as well as dementia and Alzheimer's. The county has given these families just a few days more than 2 weeks to find alternative placement. 17 days to find placement that is affordable and comparable to what we are losing. Most of us keep our loved ones at home and we work full time to do so. Without this placement, some of us will have to quit our jobs. So, now we have libraries open, so I guess our Seniors can go there all day, instead. Right? These are the people who survived the Great Depression and these are the people that the Board has decided to throw under the bus. It is shameful...
The path of least resistance is usually the path taken. “We’re lost, but we’re making good time!” —YOGI BERRA, American baseball player, on his way to Cooperstown, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame
Maureen April 20, 2011 at 01:18 AM
I saw this closing also and my heart sank. I wonder if Bill (April 12 comment) saw this also. He states that there will be no closings, it was all political. I wonder if he saw this closing. I hate the elderly suffering at their most vulnerable time in their lives. They gave so much and they are always the victims. Where and how will their families cope? I am with you Pati on this one. Maybe these politicians have extra rooms in their homes for these stranded seniors? Doubt it!
C. onfused April 22, 2011 at 12:22 AM
I'm curious, what the Bible says about paying your bills, and paying your creditors.... is it considered stealing if you don't? I know what it says about paying your taxes... is it considered the same?
Confused. The Bible is pretty graphic on Debt. Yes, the Bible has the taxes part spelled out. However, debt is pretty well covered as well. It is clear that the right to collect debt is so strong in the Bible it is aligned with Forgiveness. In addition, it provides that people could be imprisoned or committed to slavery. The Bible absolutely has no respect for debt: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Prov 22:7 “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Owe no man any thing (KJV). Let no debt remain outstanding (NIV). Pay all your debts (TLB). Owe nothing to anyone (NASB). Keep out of debt and own no man anything (Amplified). Romans 13:8 See: Matthew 18:22-35 (New King James Version) While it does NOT itemize non payment of debt as a sin; it has the effect of stealing which is a violation of the 10 commandents, #8 You shall not steal. Debt is extended based on the commitment to repay. To not repay is stealing by deception. Is it a sin? You decide. (see article below.) What the Bible Says about Money: Debt by Jason Price on January 17, 2010 in Bible & Money, Featured, Get Out of Debt : http://www.onemoneydesign.com/what-the-bible-says-about-money-debt/ Is it a sin to be in debt? You may be relieved to know that no where in the Bible does it say it is a sin to be in debt. However, the Bible does encourage us to avoid debt.
Pam J April 22, 2011 at 03:05 AM
I'm confused as to why you are bringing religion into this conversation. We seem to be going off on a different road.
The inquiry from "confused" on 8:22pm on Thursday, April 21, 2011, prompted my response. Looks like "Confused" confused the discussion..............the road is the same.
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