Cobb Commission Chairman candidates have been making the rounds, attending several forums throughout the county. The questions usually asked at the forums have to do with Transportation Investment Act or TSPLOST and economic development or redevelopment.
Here are the answers they've given on both the TSPLOST and economic (re)development, along with their thoughts on backyard chickens:
On TSPLOST/Transportation Investment Act
- Bill Byrne, former Cobb Commission Chairman from 1992-2002: AGAINST "It's as important to me to defeat this TSPLOST as it is for me to be reelected as chairman."
"The TSPLOST is a proposal to raise your sales taxes for 10 years that would generate a billion dollars for Cobb COunty to build programs and projects that have no usefulness at all in Cobb County, let alone Mableton.
- Larry Savage: AGAINST "The major flaw in the TSPLOST, it isn't about transportation. It isn't about moving people... It is a permanent tax. That tax will never go away...We'll spend more than our lifetimes ever trying to get the thing built. It's a lot of tax expense for all of us and benefits for very few."
- Incumbent Chairman Tim Lee: SUPPORTS He encouraged voters to do their research about the transportation projects on the TIA list. "Make your own mind. Do your own research and determine whether or not it's in the best interest for Mableton, Cobb County, the region."
- Retired Marine Mike Boyce: AGAINST "Would anybody in this room give somebody $689 million unless you know what you're getting for your money? Would you give anybody that amount of money for anything unless you knew what you were getting for your money, and especially tp the government?... This is not going to go to the benefit of everybody, not even close."
On Economic Development
- Byrne: He said he has a five-point economic development program to work with the Cobb Chamber, not to replace it. “My focus would be to provide incentives to grow new businesses that are here, not necessarily bring in new businesses that want to come here. “ He would roll back property tax increases. He said “Cobb is a big business,” and more contracts should be awarded to Cobb businesses first.
- Savage: He said the county’s economic development department and Cobb Chamber should resolve any conflict. “One of the things we need to do is get a grip on what’s wrong with that relationship and get it under control.”
He said he agrees with the Chamber’s Competitive EDGE Initiative, but thinks "they missed the boat in one area. They have ignored or overlooked the need and the desirability of attracting manufacturing companies.” Savage said he had a successful 40-year career in manufacturing and could bring those skills to the Cobb County government.
- Lee: He said he worked with the Chamber to establish a new plan to recruit businesses and to help grow existing Cobb businesses. He said the county is also working with Cobb Works, Southern Polytechnic State University and Chattahoochee Technical College, to have job training and retraining of Cobb residents so they are better prepared for jobs in the future. The county is also focused on retention of businesses in the county, he said.
- Boyce: “Let’s just fixate on one plan and for heaven’s sakes, let’s just finally do it. No more studies…Let’s just do it. Let’s see what happens. No more talking… This is not going to be a one- or two-year plan. This is going to almost be generational.” He also said having more support in South Cobb from code enforcement would help as well.
To hear more of what the candidates had to say Thursday night, watch the attached video clips.
Which of the four chairman candidates has your vote and why? Tell us below in the comments.