Everyone understands how difficult 2020 was...
Introduction by Chairman Mike Boyce
Everyone understands how difficult 2020 was. The pandemic challenged our lives in ways both extreme and small. We all initially felt the personal impact of the Declaration of Emergency and then the subsequent measures needed to protect us. Economic hardship threatened to devastate our finances while illness ravaged families and individuals alike across the nation.
We mourn those lost and salute all who have continued to endure. Throughout this national crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cobb County kept essential services running while adjusting operations to keep employees safe. Because of the efforts of our county’s workforce, essential businesses of Cobb remained open even in the worst weeks of the lockdown. We have worked closely with our public health and healthcare partners to inform the public while waiting for vaccines that could help bring this pandemic to an end.
During the past year, the federal government provided Cobb $132 million as part of the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the local economy. The largest allocation of $48 million provided grants to small businesses that were suffering. Commissioners also authorized grants to organizations for rental and mortgage assistance, not-for-profits, county and Marietta school systems, county municipalities, public health, support of county elected officials and county operations.
Cobb government continues to lead the way with a staff that works daily to ensure a quality of life that makes Cobb County a place where people can safely work, live, play and pursue their dreams. The Board approved a budget that maintained the same millage rate for the third consecutive year, providing continuity for our homeowners and encouraging businesses. The reduction in the transfer of funds from the Water Department budget to the General Fund was also continued, allowing the department more resources for its critical needs. Our AAA rating was renewed for the 24th consecutive year by the nation’s top bond rating agency, demonstrating our commitment to excellence.
Cobb County continued to meet its priority to public safety by increasing compensation and adding operational capability. The board approved a step-in-grade program and hazard pay for members of public safety (and other county staff) responding to the pandemic.
The new Public Safety Training Complex and Medical Examiner’s building, funded primarily by the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, opened this year. The move to the new police headquarters is under way. The 2022 SPLOST includes a new weapons range for the department and Animal Services building. The benefits of implementing community policing in 2017 bore significant fruit as the county saw no violent civil unrest despite scores of demonstrations during the summer in response to police actions in other parts of the state and nation. Along those lines, the board took firm positions against racism. Furthermore, it took decisive actions that embedded in the future our commitment to prevent any forms of injustice from gaining a foothold in the county.
The 2022 SPLOST approved overwhelmingly in November by Cobb County residents will reverse the declining trend by funding road resurfacing operations. These funds will increase the operational condition of many of the county’s roads and address other mobility and infrastructure requirements.
2020 may have been one of county government’s finest hours. The pandemic has brought out the best in our public servants and the community. Cobb’s quality of life has encouraged both people and businesses to continue to come here. They see that we are committed to providing the best services, the best quality of life and the best value for their money. They believe they will catch the rising tide by choosing our county.
Together, we have made a difference because we the Cobb family continue to deliver on our promise to Expect the Best.