Editor’s Note: This past February, a bill authorizing a local referendum on whether the area of East Cobb (HB 841),could  incorporate as a city was approved by the Georgia General Assembly. The legislative bill is available for viewing on the  Georgia General Assembly legislation website. The East Cobb bill contained a provision that would put the appropriate version of the question “Shall the Act incorporating the City of East Cobb in Cobb County according to the charter  contained in the Act be approved?” on the May 24 General Primary ballot. Registration deadline to vote in the primary is  April 25. A non-partisan information webpage, “Cityhood Resource Center” on each of the Cityhood proposals (East Cobb  is one of four communities in Cobb County trying to establish itself as a city) including maps, has been set up by Cobb  County Government. For more information, visit www.cobbcounty.org/communications/info-center/cityhood). To help  East Cobb County citizens make an educated vote, the EAST COBBER invited the East Cobb Cityhood group and the East  Cobb Alliance to present their opposing stances on East Cobb becoming a city.  



By Cindy Cooperman, East Cobb Cityhood Committee 

The time has come to ask yourself this question. HB 841 is a bill to allow the residents in the proposed City of  East Cobb to vote in a referendum to decide whether  we should incorporate. Since 2018, a group of concerned  East Cobb residents has been exploring this question to  provide you with the information and framework needed  to determine the best path forward. As part of this exploration, the group has commissioned two feasibility studies  with Georgia State, bench marked thriving new cities in  the vicinity, and engaged the community to understand  the needs and benefits. The conclusion is that the time has  come to vote Yes for East Cobb to become a city. 

Representatives living closer to the residents means  more responsive, engaged leadership and accountability. East Cobbers currently vote for 2 of 5 of the Cobb  County representatives making all the decisions for East  Cobb (approx. 1 rep/180K residents). Cityhood would  give residents representative government and local con rol, voting for 100% of the councilors and mayor, who  must live within the city (approx. 1 rep/10k residents). 

Cityhood will bring representation closer to the community for services that most affect the daily quality of  life. Zoning created and approved by East Cobbers preserves suburban neighborhoods. Doing nothing means it  is just a matter of time before you see mid-rises popping  up through East Cobb’s tree canopy. The service of  Local Ordinance addresses short-term rentals, like Airbnb,  and treetops/canopy, to name a few. We believe applicable revenue from fees and permits should stay in the  neighborhoods to benefit the residents. 

What will the redevelopment of East Cobb look like  in the future? 

Redevelopment is coming to East Cobb one way  or another. A locally elected council can and will maximize the benefit to the community with plans to reflect  the needs of the people who live here. Redevelopment  can happen in East Cobb without increasing density and  urbanizing single-family home neighborhoods. A locally  elected council of East Cobbers is the most reliable insurance to make sure our interests are best served.  

 A City of East Cobb will offer our own Public Safety  services that can be maximized to meet the needs of our  community of interest. East Cobb does not have excessive  violent crimes, gang activities, or frequent bomb threats.  However, we have a troubling increase in street racing,  fatal motor vehicle crashes, and theft. Cityhood means  we can introduce community policing to address these  types of concerns and issues most prevalent in East Cobb. 

Fire services will continue to be delivered to the  community with the same fire stations, equipment, and  possibly personnel that serve East Cobb with excellence  today. East Cobb does not have an Interstate, airport,  high-rises, or industrial areas like other parts of Cobb that  need a different type of fire protection. We have an  aging population; seniors make up over 17% of the population. East Cobb can benefit from an increased focus  on EMT services and improving ambulance transport  times. A City of East Cobb can redirect resources and  explore other efficient models for deploying resources  focused on East Cobb’s needs.  

Take control of our zoning, local ordinance, parks,  and public safety. Cityhood allows East Cobb to serve  its residents better as we enter the next chapter of our  community.  

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By Robert Lax, Board Member on the East Cobb Alliance Committee

East Cobb Alliance is a grassroots organization formed in June of 2019 to educate residents and  stakeholders on the community impacts of cityhood.  We are opposed to cityhood because it will mean higher taxes and fees for residents and businesses, and a likely decline in the excellent safety services we currently  receive from Cobb County. With approximately 90% of  our area residential and only 10% commercial, East Cobb  will be challenged to create the necessary revenues to  support a city. Eventually, all cities are forced to raise  taxes to continue their services and East Cobb will be no  exception, as the Feasibility Study has not budgeted for  fire equipment, training, park maintenance, raises in city  officials’ salaries, and pension funds. 

The cityhood bill gives a city council of six people  and a mayor broad powers to change zoning and levy  taxes, including special assessments and franchise fees.  Businesses, especially small businesses, will have to raise  prices under the burden of these fees. In fact, all cities  in Cobb County, as well as Fulton cities, have raised  taxes in order to be financially sustainable. In addition to  increasing taxes, other cities have increased commercial  development in order to increase the tax base. If you  don’t want to see more development in East Cobb, vote  NO on cityhood. 

Cityhood presents an even deeper threat to our  public safety. Our highly regarded Cobb County Police  Chief and Fire Chief have both expressed legitimate concerns about cityhood. They highlighted their current  quick response times, highly-trained response teams, specialized medical teams attached to firehouses, and  excellent 911 services. When they reviewed the sup port structure proposed by cityhood proponents, they  expressed concern about only having two firehouses  resulting in slower response times, no medical support  teams for each firehouse, no specialized highly-trained  teams in the police department, and fewer police officers in the proposed city. Cobb County Fire currently has  the highest Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating, which  lowers our homeowners’ insurance premiums. Only one  of the ten other cities incorporated in Georgia since 2005  has this top rating. 

While cityhood proponents have stated that their  primary objective is local zoning control, they have  not provided any written details on their vision or  plans for zoning as compared to the Cobb County  Comprehensive Plan. There is no language in the  city charter that limits high-density development. By  contrast, our county commissioners regularly solicit input  on zoning decisions and planning from the East Cobb  Civic Association as well as local communities. You can  make your voices heard. 

What we do know for a fact is that cityhood will cost us more in taxes and fees and that our highly rated  safety services will suffer. What we don’t know is how a  city council will change zoning, or whether they will ever  seek public input on their development decisions. Visit EastCobbAlliance.com for more information and reasons  to VOTE NO in the May 24th primary election. We don’t  need a city to keep East Cobb suburban!  


For more information and the latest events from the East Cobb Cityhood Committee click HERE.  For more information and the latest events from the East Cobb Alliance, click HERE