Cobb BOC approves street light district; holds first public hearing on proposed tax increase

Commissioner JoAnn Birrell at the BOC dais.

By Caleb Groves, July 13, 2023

MARIETTA, Ga.- The Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved the creation of the Brookcliff street light district at it’s meeting on Tuesday, July 11.

According to District 3 Commissioner JoAnn Birrell this was the first such public hearing for a Street Light District since she has represented the commission district that includes the Brookcliff subdivision.

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Proponents within the Brookcliff subdivision created a petition for streetlights, with 75% of residents voting in favor, Jonathan Yee. of the Cobb DOT said.


Residents of Brookcliff who supported the street lights believe they will help improve safety in the neighborhood. Brookcliff resident Mike Golf said the neighborhood is and always has been too dark, especially with the old trees blocking out sunlight.

Walter Strother has been a resident of Brookcliff since 1979 and has seen Brookcliff attempt to become a street light district numerous times.

Other residents do not want to invest $45,000 for the installation of the street lights.

The BOC voted 5-0 in approval for Brookcliff’s Street Light District.

Tax increase public hearing

Afterward, The BOC held the first of three public hearings concerning the millage rates for 2023.

The property values in Cobb County have steadily increased since 2018.

However, critics of the proposed 18.02% increase (over the rollback rate) in property taxes believe it is only increasing the cost of living in Cobb County and making the county less affordable for tenants.

The millage rate is the amount of value the county can levy for every $1,000 in value. The increase in taxes is primarily due to the increase in property assessments.

With both the rise in property value and the increase in millage rates, critics argued the overall cost of living increases. Twelve people spoke and all but one of them were opposed to the tax increase.

During the public hearing, opponents spoke of their concerns about the millage rate increase, stating that the tax increase is only making living in Cobb County less affordable.

After many of the speakers, the audience applauded.

However, there are exemptions for homesteads. The tax policies in Cobb County favor home ownership rather than landlords and renters, Councilwoman Lisa Cupid said.

In order for a resident to receive this exemption, you must own and reside in that home. This exemption only applies to one property that a resident owns.

“I’m hesitant to share much during this hearing, but I just wanted to make an observation that maybe playing to a number of you is that our tax policy does favor home ownership,” Cupid said. “And that drives the exemptions for those who own and live in a home here in Cobb County.”

Cobb County still has a low millage rate in comparison to other metro Atlanta areas such Dekalb, Fulton, and Atlanta, Bill Volckmann, Chief Financial Officer, said.

The 2023 tax millage rate will be adopted at the BOC Meeting on Tuesday, 25, 2023, at 7 p.m. The next two hearings prior to the proposed millage rate increase will be held at the BOC meeting room at 100 Cherokee Street, Marietta, Georgia,on Tuesday, July 18, at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesday, July 25, at 7 p.m.

Caleb Groves is a Journalism student at Kennesaw State University, where he is a junior.

Originally from Minnesota, Caleb moved to Georgia with his family, where he now lives in Woodstock with his Father, Stepmom and numerous pets.

When he is not in writing, in class or coaching rock climbing, he spends his time listening to music and rock climbing both indoors and out