Tax and spend Cupid rejects mileage rate rollback proposal from Republican Commissioners
The recent Board of Commission meeting was packed with concerned residents of Cobb County who showed up to speak against the millage rate and any increase in taxes that will be placed on the backs of Cobb homeowners and businesses.
Speaker after speaker stepped to the microphone to beg and plead for the commissioners not to burden them with more taxes during this time when inflation has ravaged and negatively impacted many.
Each resident eloquently and impassionately expressed their opposition to the board keeping the rate the same. One of the council members of the new city of Mableton also was in attendance and spoke up for Cobb citizens during the meeting.
During her time at the microphone, City Councilwoman Debora Herndon told the commissioners, “Considering the needs of the residents of Cobb County, I just would respectfully ask if the board would consider not increasing taxes for this year.”
The board’s two Republicans, Commissioners Keli Gambrill and JoAnn Birrell, who heard the pleas of the community, sought an alternative to what was being proposed and attempted a counter-proposal to roll back the millage rate.
In supporting an alternate proposal to roll back the mileage, Birrell said she has heard far more opposition to the millage rate and budget since May than those who have expressed support.
Said Birrell, “So, their concerns and our concerns are inflation, being forced out of their homes, fuel costs, food costs, increasing and not being able to pay their mortgage.”
Birrell insisted that a rollback in the millage rate was “the only way to stop the overspending” which has occurred under Cupid as Chair.
The tone-deaf ‘tax and spend’ Democratic majority, under the leadership of Chair Lisa Cupid, shot down any attempt to lessen the burden on taxpayers. Instead, Cupid and the two votes she has securely tucked away in her purse, aka, commissioners Jerica Richardson and Monique Sheffield, voted 3 to 2 to approve holding the county’s millage rate steady from last year.
With that vote, the Cobb County Commission approved a $1.2 billion budget for the next fiscal year. Cupid and her commission failed to find ways to tighten their belts, which the community says they were elected to do, and operate a fiscally responsible government, which is not occurring.
The $1.2 billion budget represents a 3.8% increase over last year’s $1.16 billion.
Many in the community who may not understand how the mileage works may think this was a good thing. It was not.
The vote the Dems took will hurt every homeowner and business owner in Cobb with an impending tax increase. Yes, Republicans voted for tax relief and Democrats voted for tax burden.
To understand what this vote means, the public must dig a little deeper. On its surface, voting to maintain last year’s millage may seem like a neutral vote, but it is not.
Yes, Cobb’s millage rate will remain at 8.46 mills, but this is considered a tax increase under state law because the county will collect more revenue for residents and businesses than the year prior due to rising property values.
To be revenue-neutral and avoid a property tax increase, the Commissioners needed to vote to roll back the general fund millage rate to 7.168 and roll back its fire fund millage rate to 2.643 mills, which was the proposal of the Republicans on the board.
Under the Cupid-led vote, the county expects to collect $16 million more for the general fund than it did last year from property taxes. It expects to collect $17.8 million more than last year for the fire fund.
Shamefully, the Democratic members of the commission suggested to the speakers and community that the school district rate is what they should be concerned with, not the Commission.
The Democratic members of the commission all expressed a need for the extra funds that would be generated while the Republicans pushed for finding ways to make the monies already in the general fund work better and belt-tightening which Cupid has not been able to do since becoming chair.
Some of the speakers pointed to the Commissioners’ million-dollar contingency fund and the continuous use by Cupid of consultants to do her job as an area that should be looked at to address any true needs of the county.
“Cobb has always been the county that other countries looked up to, but we’re going in a downward spiral that needs to stop,” Birrell said.
Many in the community predict that the controversial vote will have lasting consequences. The fallout from this vote will linger going into an election year in 2024. Many are already sizing up and encouraging alternate candidates to Cupid, Sheffield, and Richardson.
Some say that the stench from this vote will block them from voting for any of the Dems and are happy to look at other candidates who will be better stewards of the County’s purse.
Meanwhile, Cupid has already announced her intent to seek re-election. Like the emperor with no clothes on, Cupid fails to see or acknowledge that this decision and others she has made as Chair have hurt everyone on Cobb.
The 2024 elections are fast approaching. Some say she and others should be judged on this vote and their inability to hear voters. In 2025, Cobb voters can provide her some clarity when they vote for anyone but Cupid for Cobb Chair.
The only way to stop this spiral is new leadership that is in touch with the citizens, which is not Cupid.