REGARDLESS of those discrepancies, Fabric will get a nice payday courtesy of the 50 grand. But it actually will be paying about $3,000 more each year in personal property and inventory taxes in Kennesaw. That’s thanks to Marietta’s substantially lower tax rate (5.233 mills vs. Kennesaw’s 9.50 mills), made possible by the revenues transferred to the Marietta general fund each year from the city Board of Lights & Water. The Journal was unable to calculate the difference in real estate taxes connected with the move because those taxes are usually figured into the rent paid by tenants, which is what Fabric is and will be.
THE STATE approached the Chamber about eight months ago to help with the move, according to the Chamber’s Mathis. The Chamber, hoping to keep the business in Cobb, agreed to help, he said. City of Marietta economic development director Beth Sessoms was asked to help find bigger space in her city, but answered the city had no buildings available of the size needed. Around Town has learned that word of that conversation never made it upward to the mayor or council. Mayor Tumlin isn’t happy about that. He’s also needled that the Chamber, which often touts the need for cooperation among its cities in the hunt for economic prospects, would in essence rob Peter to pay Paul.
TUMLIN is even more irked that he was not given a “heads up” about the pending move by the Chamber, or given any hint of the Chamber’s involvement. Tumlin, who did not attend the Monday meeting, reportedly knew nothing of Fabric’s pending departure until reading about it in Tuesday’s MDJ and seeing it on Channel 11’s newscast. It’s probably just as well that he wasn’t at the meeting and was saved the embarrassment. Rubbing salt into that wound was the fact that the move was announced at the meeting by Chamber development committee vice chair Jim Budzinski — who is the chief financial officer and second-highest official at Marietta-based WellStar Health System. “Yes, WellStar is a great corporate citizen, but the City of Marietta does a great deal for WellStar as well,” said one official. A spoonful of sugar might have helped that medicine go down better. If the move was inevitable, why not announce it at Kennesaw City Hall, rather than at the Chamber meeting? And why not let Kennesaw officials get the glory, rather than the Chamber and WellStar? In fairness to Budzinski, part of his job as committee vice chair is to make such announcements each month at the Chamber meetings, but the diplomatic and more considerate thing to do according to several irate Marietta officials would have been for him to let someone else have the honor this time around. And Tumlin wouldn’t say it for the record, but strongly suspects the Chamber’s public dissing ofMarietta on Monday was subtle payback for his decision that the city would not make the large financial contribution sought by the Chamber to its new EDGE program aimed at beefing up its economic development efforts.
QUESTIONS: Did Kennesaw give Fabric.com “the key to the safe” in a possibly ephemeral quest to snare more jobs? Or did the Chamber and Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews just want to embarrass the City of Marietta for its failure to “get on the team”? Or did they simply forget to do their due diligence on Fabric.com’s true employment level?
THE PURPOSE OF INCENTIVES like those ballyhooed by the Chamber is to spur business growth and create new jobs. However, thanks to the conflicting numbers noted above, it remains unclear how many jobs — if any — will be coming as a result of the move.
MAKE NO MISTAKE: Gov. Nathan Deal is “all in” with the decision to build reversible lanes along I-75 from the Galleria area northward to relieve traffic congestion. It’s a welcome
development following eight years of gubernatorial slumber about the problem during the Sonny Perdue administration.
The 30-mile project would add two managed lanes on the west side of I-75 between the I-285 and I-575 interchanges. There will also be one new reversible lane added on the I-75 center median northward to Hickory Grove Road and a similar lane added along 575 north to Sixes Road in Cherokee County. A variable-rate toll (based on traffic volume) will be charged for access to the lanes. The biggest hitch in the project would be a decision by Washington to withhold $270 million in low-interest Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan dollars needed for the $950 million project. But not to worry, Deal told the MDJ’s Joe Kirby and Jon Gillooly during an interview in his office at the Capitol on Thursday. Even if that were to happen, the state would make up the difference, he said. “We would make every effort to do that,” he said. “But obviously, that’s not something that we foresee. The TIFIA loan program is a very well-established method of federal assistance on projects of this type and it is a loan, it is not a grant. It does have favorable terms on the repayment but if the federal government is going to pick places to cut and save money I would think there are a lot of those in the give away category in the grant side of things and they wouldn’t pick on one that’s a repayable category, which is what the TIFIA loan program is.” For more on Deal’s thoughts on the reversible-lane project, see Gillooly’s story in Sunday’s MDJ.
POLTICS: The Georgia Senate District 6 race (Buckhead,Smyrna) is turning into one of the most closely contested battles in the state this summer. Money is the lifeblood of politics these days, and state House Majority Whip Ed Lindsey will host a reception for candidate Josh Belinfante from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the home of Virginia and Oscar Persons in Atlanta. Then on Friday, retired Atlanta Falcons Coach Dan Reeves will host a fried chicken fundraiser from noon-1:30 p.m. for District 6 candidate Hunter Hill. That event will be at the CherokeeTown and Country Club,155 W. Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead. Jackets are required.
MORE POLTICS: The Cobb County Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Bill Byrne for Cobb Commission chairman. And Greg Poole has been endorsed for Superior Court by the Cobb County Association of Educators. … Commission Chair candidate Mike Boyce will host a “meet and greet” at the Rose and Crown Tavern onPowers Ferry Road from noon to 3 p.m. today. … A fundraiser for southwest Cobb Commission candidate Lisa Cupid is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Mexico Lindo onVeterans Memorial Parkway inMableton.
THE GEORGIA TEA PARTY will hold a rally from 10 to 11:30 a.m. today on Marietta Square. Much of the focus will be on opposition to the TSPLOST, reports chairman J.D. Brink. Pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution will be handed out as well at the free event, he said.