Thanks for joining PATCH for the forum!! Scroll down to the bottom and read the play by play.
Lance - Those in support of SPLOST are quick to say everything will fall apart without it. But the commission's ability to slash from the original amount by millions. That proves it's not a SPLOST, that's a slush fund. Is this level of spending appropriate when 10 percent of Cobb residents are unemployed. Wouldn't a tax cut be a better idea?
Rose - A vote for SPLOST is a vote for your future. The commissioners are doing the best with what they have to work with. We have to do our part.
8:14 Closing Remarks
Lance - If this is the conservative way to go, then I'm a liberal. Find out what the needs are first and then see how much it's going to cost. Don't have an amount and say we've got four years to spend it.
Rose - Everybody participates in SPLOST. It's a pay-as-you-go. You know exactly what you are paying for. There is a time period in which it ends. I don't see a more conservative method to fund projects.
Question -In the down economy...are there alternate funding sources instead of SPLOST?
Rose - There were 23 meetings about the projects. The projects in the SPLOST are what people said they wanted. You may not agree with all of it, but you don't throw it out because you don't believe in all of it.
Lance - Obviously there are some needs in this. But there are many more wants. It's just not a good use of your money. County shouldn't be competing with the private sector as far as recreation is concerned.
Question - Comment on needs vs wants.
Lance -We didn't have the SPLOST before 2005. Our Triple A bond rating was strong. The picture they are painting is just trying to scare you. If you expand facilities you have to expand for the upkeep.
Rose - The county will incur debt. Our facilities will deteriorate. It will affect your property values. Roads are depending on SPLOST passing.
Question - What do you believe will happen if the SPLOST vote fails.
Lance - We are in a SPLOST now. There has been a lot of money out there for a while. Saying if you don't pass the SPLOSt you are endangering lives is a stretch. We need to do a better job with what we have now.
Rose - SPLOST is going toward capital improvements. Some of it is for new construction. These are vital to the county to continue to attract people and business.
Question -Will SPLOST dollars be used for maintaining or for new improvements.
Lance - $2,400 a family for the four years..
Rose - A Penny on every dollar. I'd be willing to pay that to save a child's life.
Question - What is the estimated cost to each resident if SPLOST passes?
Rose - It was a study conducted by Auburn University. I think the number is actually higher.
Lance - How can you possibly know that.
Question - Where does the figure come from that 30 percent of the sales tax money comes from those outside Cobb?
Lance - I think it is a misconception that if we don't pass a SPLOSt then we will lose our Triple A bond rating. Not so. It's not gonna happen. There have been times when there was no SPLOST.
Rose - These bond rating companies look at how you are maintaining your facilities. If we don't pass this there will be deteriation in our facilities.
Question - How does Cobb County's bond rating affected by SPLOST?
Rose - SPLOST brings jobs to Cobb County. Companies look at affordable living. They look at the best services for the lowest price.
Lance - You are taking jobs away from the private sector. You cut taxes to stimulate the economy.
7:30 Question: How do you believe that SPLOST affects jobs in Cobb County?
Lance - I don't believe that the milage rate will go up if the SPLOST doesn't pass. There are three commissioners up for election soon. Many counties have a SPLOST and their property taxes have gone up.
Rose - SPLOST has caused your property taxes to go down. SPLOST is the way to keep them down. You know exactly what your money is going to be spent on.
Question: Why do we always seem to have a SPLOST? What conditions would there be where there would be no SPLOST?
7:19 Lance - If you have a special election you have a lower turnout. They knew six years ago that the current SPLOST was going to expire in 2012.
7:15 Rose - there was a change in leadership going on.
7:14 Question, Why wasn't issue put on ballot last November?
7:13 Cheers from the crowd at "Ax the Tax"
7:10 Tax Payers Assoc....How do we go about meeting our needs without the SPLOST. Opposite side has tried to paint a gloomy picture if we don't pass it. Is the county doing everything it can to cut costs? There is no better time than now to cut taxes. This SPLOSt is full of wants that aren't necessary. Is replacing concession stands that work just fine the way they are, a want or a need? Is building a new skate park at Logan Farm a want or a need?
7:04 Citizens for Cobbs Future....Splost is a necessity for the future of the Cobb. What brings people here are the wonderful parks and good roads. SPLOST is the best way to fund roads, parks and public safety. Most conservative way to fund these amenties because it is a pay-as-you-go way. You know exactly what projects you are voting for. Best way to pay for your services. People outside of Cobb will be paying for it too. If you don't vote for the SPLOST you will incur debt.
7 pm Moderator is introducing representatives from both sides.
6:59 All 128 seats are full. And here we go.......
6:54 Commission Chairman Tim Lee is here.
6:48 A representative from both sides will be answering questions. Rose Wing of Citizens for Cobb’s Future, supports the SPLOST extension. Lance Lamberton, president of the Cobb County Taxpayers Association, will give the opposing view.
6:40 The format will be as follows...both sides will get a chance to make some opening remarks. After that the moderator will take written questions from the audience. Both sides will then get a chance to respond.
6:36 Lots of red and white "Ax the tax" signs.
6:31 The room is filling up fast.
PATCH is here live at the Cobb County government building for tonight’s SPLOST 2011 forum.
If approved by voters March 15, the special four-year tax would begin Jan. 1, 2012, just as the current collection period ends. The new tax would potentially generate $492 million for parks, recreation and transportation maintenance projects.
Arguments for passage of the SPLOST will be presented by Rose Wing of Citizens for Cobb’s Future, which supports the extension. Lance Lamberton, president of the Cobb County Taxpayers Association, will give the opposing view.
The forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Marietta-Cobb, begins at 7 p.m.