Just this past week, we confirmed that the $40 million Park Bond of 2008, which was approved overwhelmingly by voters, is still on the books and can be applied to purchase parkland at any point! However, we also recently realized that the Braves stadium bond financing package includes the very same unissued Park Bond of 2008. In other words, the Park Bond 2008 has not been used to purchase parkland yet, but now it appears that it may be re-purposed or re-appropriated to pay for the Braves stadium. We have asked for confirmation or clarification from the Board of Commissioners about this point, but we have not received a reply. We will update the blog with any news we get about this.
Here’s what we know so far. On the Cobb County Braves FAQ page, the Q&A related to funding $397 million of the Braves stadium appears to be based on extending or re-purposing past Park Bonds:
“Will my property taxes be used to pay for this? Currently .33 mills of your property taxes pay for the parks bonds that were issued in 1996, 2007 and 2008. The last of those bonds will be paid off in 2017 and 2018. The millage will then be shifted to the General Fund when these bonds expire to raise an equivalent amount of revenues of $8.67 million. Those monies will then be used to pay for bonds to finance stadium construction. The average amount of .33 mills per household is $26 per year and this shift of funding will not impact other government services such as police, libraries, parks and other services.”
Actually, .33 mills is only from the 1996 and 2006 (issued in 2007) Park Bonds, because the 2008 Park Bond was not used to purchase any property and did not affect the millage (property tax) rate. In terms of the history of these Park Bonds, the $30 million Park Bond 1996 was used to purchase much needed parkland, as was the $40 million Park Bond in 2006. The Park Bond in 2008 had already formed a Committee, which detailed a list of properties to purchase, but the Bond was not issued due to the economy and no amount of the $40 million bond money was spent on purchasing those properties.
We are asking that Park Bond 2008 be issued as soon as possible, before re-purposing the bond for any other project, such as the Braves stadium financing. Please support this endeavor by sending a quick email to the Board of Commissioners, asking them to use the Park Bond 2008 for parks.