MARIETTA- Cobb County commissioners are expected to approve a contract that would potentially commit millions of additional tax dollars to the Braves stadium project. This, after Cobb officials slipped the paperwork onto a county web site after the close of business Friday.
Local citizens expressing their displeasure at the Cobb County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tue., May 27, 2014. Cobb Co. SCLC president Ben Williams was escorted from the meeting by police. 11Alive News
The county's own web site shows that it released the draft agreement stadium documents at 6 p.m. Friday May 23 – at the close of the work week leading into the Memorial Day holiday. Critics say the timing gave Cobb taxpayers exactly one business day to examine the material.
"It's just a slap in the face," said Rich Pellegrino of the Cobb-based Citizens for Governmental Transparency.
Pellegrino says he wasn't surprised that Cobb County originally pitched to taxpayers $368 million in bond debt, but now wants the board to approve $397 million. Critics say it adds even more risk for taxpayers.
"Because at the end of the day, if there's not enough hotel motel tax revenue raised, there's not enough car rental tax raised, then Cobb County voters are on the hook," said William Perry of Common Cause Georgia.
A county spokesman says the real number to focus on is the annual cost to pay off the debt. The county has always estimated that to be between 22 to 25 million dollars, depending on interest rates. The spokesman insists that's still the case.