Dear Cobb County Board of Commissioners:
Regarding the forthcoming vote on approving Cobb County's budget for the next fiscal year, the Cobb Taxpayers Association and the Franklin Roundtable are pleased that what has been proposed, according to media reports, does not entail a millage rate increase, but we are disappointed that it does not provide a roll back of the millage rate to prevent a $51 million year over year tax increase due to the growth in the Tax Digest.
Cobb County taxpayers, like all taxpayers over the past year and a half, are suffering greatly from the most severe inflation this country has faced since the early 1980s, making it increasingly difficult to meet everyday obligations such as food, shelter and transportation. The pain at the pump and at the grocery store is felt most acutely by lower and middle income families in Cobb. Therefore, for any of us to see our taxes or rents increase because the county will not implement the aforementioned millage rate roll back would represent a failure on the part of the county to recognize the negative impact that such a tax increase would have on Cobb's taxpayers. This is especially true given the fact that the county has received tens of millions of dollars — much of it still unspent — from the Federal government under the auspices of COVID relief.
Moreover, the county has failed to implement any kind of budget restraint planning in these difficult times, but is instead offering dramatic increases in spending, such as a very substantial increase in the minimum starting salary for county employees from $11.50 to $17 an hour, hiring more staff (100+) and continuing to operate inefficient programs such as the Flex bus system, which provides a taxpayer subsidy of as much as $50 per ride. While we recognize that the county needs to raise compensation levels to attract and retain qualified employees, a more modest increase would be the more responsible thing to do at this time, given the financial straits so many of us are currently suffering under.
Simply put, now is not the time to increase anybody's property tax burden, so we respectfully request that you implement the above-mentioned roll back provision when approving next year's budget.
Chairman, Cobb Taxpayers Association
Chairman, Franklin Roundtable