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Cobb residents disagree, criticize Cupid proposed Stormwater “Tax or Fee”


Cobb residents disagree and are voicing criticism regarding the proposed Stormwater ‘Tax or Fee’ by Chair Lisa Cupid and some members of the Cobb Board of Commission.

Whether labeled as a tax, fee, or even a spotted unicorn, citizens of Cobb are unequivocally denouncing what Cupid is proposing. Labeling it a tax, they are rejecting the latest initiative by Cupid to enforce a new stormwater fee on property owners. Despite Cupid’s assertion that this fee would ensure equitable distribution of stormwater receipts relative to the impact, residents are adamantly opposed, particularly given recent water rate hikes imposed by the County.

During a recent Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting, irate residents expressed their discontent on the proposed code amendment that the Commission seeks to impose such a tax (fee) on citizens. They argued that the proposed tax (fee) unfairly burdens homeowners, exacerbating financial strains amidst an already inflationary period, and is being rushed with insufficient time for public input.

Similar sentiments were echoed at a community meeting in District 3. Among the dissenting voices was Richard Grome, president of the East Cobb Civic Association, who pointed out potential double payments for many residents under the proposed system. Another resident labeled Cupid’s proposal as “a deceptive money grab,” and accused the board of neglecting residents in the aftermath of the 2021 floods. A Cobb landlord emphasized the disproportionate impact on tenants already grappling with high rents and inflation, indicating that any new tax the county imposes would be passed along to tenants. Resident Jan Barton criticized the lack of proper commitment to allocating future funds and highlighted the county’s aging infrastructure, which homeowners are being forced to address.

Commissioners JoAnn Birrell and Keli Gambrill sided with residents in opposition, questioning the necessity and effectiveness of the tax/fee. Birrell specifically objected to the water transfer practice, vowing to resist the fee as long as the transfer to the general fund persisted.

Cupid maintains that the proposed tax/fee aims at equity, ensuring that those with more impervious surfaces bear a proportionate share of the cost. District 4 Commissioner Monique Sheffield, who is also just as unpopular as Cupid in her district, and has been a solid yes vote for all of the unpopular and negative actions taken by Cupid, chimed in to back Cupid’s tax plan. She asked for clarification from Cobb Water System Director Judy Jones who attempted to clarify that the proposal constituted a fee rather than a tax. Jones also cited discussions among past county leaders spanning two decades and a ruling by the Supreme Court of Georgia. 

The commission will have a final public hearing for the amendment at its meeting on March 26, and it can vote to approve the amendment at that same meeting. Residents concerned about this issue are urged to contact the Board of Commissioners and to make plans now to show up at the meeting.

Regardless of semantics, whether termed a tax or fee, it represents additional financial strain for citizens already burdened with taxes. If the amendment is approved, Cobb residents can look for the new fee to show up in their water and sewer bill, which would go into effect in August.

Some residents express their intention to remember both Cupid and Sheffield’s latest action to place a new tax on their backs when they go to the ballot box during the Primary Election in May. Others assert that all of their negative actions since assuming office should be remembered when voting for the next Chairperson of Cobb and the next District 4 Commissioner. 


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