Will my property taxes go up with a new city? Will they decrease?
The feasibility study prepared by the University of Georgia shows that the City ofMableton will have a surplus of $3.2 million per year without raising property taxes. Ultimately the decision to raise or lower taxes will be up city council. Given the surplus, the city can deliver better services without raising taxes. Of the last 10 cities created in metro Atlanta, 7 have lower tax rates than the unincorporated areas of their counties. If you look at all 10 of the new cities, the cities have an average tax rate 5.07% lower than unincorporated areas. The probability of lowering taxes with a new city appears to be much higher than raising taxes. We also know that the Cobb County Board of Commissioners voted to increase property taxes by 12.63% for 2022, which illustrates that your taxes can change now. (Recent City Taxes Link)
Wouldn’t a new city just be another layer of government?
No, it would be a shift of certain responsibilities from the county government overseeing 766,800 people to a local council representing 77,500 people in this area. The resulting representation would be more direct, with more accessible officials who live in our own community. The foundation of the American system of
government is based upon layers of government to bring more responsive andeffective government to the people. When a layer of government grows too large, it’s challenged in meeting the needs of the community. Our county commissioner, who works extremely hard for our community, represents approximately 191,700 people throughout the Mableton, Austell, Smyrna, Powder Springs and Marietta
areas. The city would provide 7 elected officials and employees with a focus on Mableton. Additionally, separating our area into a city should position our community to receive additional funding from state and federal grants. A city will be able to better address the needs of our community. If you don’t believe in layers of government, think about what our country would be like if we abolished all city, county and state government and centralized everything in Washington D.C.
Who will provide public safety services (police, fire, 911, etc.)?
Cobb County will continue to provide public safety services, including police, fire, 911, animal services, and emergency management. The Sheriff’s Office will also continue to provide services. We do not anticipate any change to the public safety services currently being provided. As a Georgia city, Mableton would always have the option of taking over public safety services, but we don’t foresee that happening. Cobb County does an excellent job of providing public safety services and there is no need for the city to take on those services.
What are the proposed city boundaries?
The proposed city is roughly bound by Hurt Road on the north, The City of Austell on the west, the City of Smyrna on the east and the county lines on the south. Please see our Maps tab for a map showing the boundaries. (City Map Link)
How can I help?
We need your help in spreading the word about the benefits of cityhood. We are seeking volunteers to help with information sessions, fundraising, knocking on doors, social media engagement, distributing signs, etc. Let us know how you would like to help. Please use the volunteer link to contact us and one of our team
members will reach out to you. We also hope you will donate to help fund signs, promotions, information sessions, etc. (Volunteer Link)
How will the cityhood question appear on the ballot in November?
The Ballot Question – “Shall the Act incorporating the City of Mableton in Cobb County, imposing term limits, prohibiting conflicts of interest, and creating community improvement districts be approved? Vote YES for the City of Mableton!
What happens after the referendum in November?
Assuming the referendum passes, a two-year transition period will begin. The Governor may appoint a transition committee to assist with preparing for the transfer of services from the county to the city. Elections for Mayor and City Council will take place during the first half of 2023. Once the elections are
complete, our newly elected officials will be sworn in and begin making decisions for our city. The two-year period allows time for a smooth transition.
How can a city improve solid waste management?
The City of Mableton will have the ability to contract with providers to provide trash service, large waste (bulk) disposal, and recycling. The surveys performed by the South Cobb Alliance showed that trash was the number one complaint of residents. The city could tailor a solution that works for both residents and providers. The city could take advantage of the economies of scale to increase service levels while decreasing the cost.
How can a city enhance code enforcement?
Currently our community has a shortage of Code Enforcement Officers and a surplus of Code violations. Many of these violations have gone unchecked for years. In the surveys done by the South Cobb Alliance, lack of code enforcement was number two complaint. A city could enforce the codes and provide immediate help to get violators into compliance. Often the violators don’t even realize that they are violating the ordinance. The county’s code enforcement efforts are primarily reactive to complaints rather than being proactive. Proper code enforcement involves working with people to achieve compliance, not just fining people. The city can create programs, possibly in conjunction with non-profits, to assist citizens who cannot afford to come into compliance. The bottom line is that poorly maintained properties deteriorate our community and they need to be addressed.
How can a city improve parks and recreation?
At one time the parks in the area had thriving youth sports programs. A city could kickstart these programs so that our children and community have an opportunity to grow and support each other. There are also many acres of undeveloped park land that could be developed with unique attractions for all ages. Thriving parks and recreation help create a stronger community.
How will the city enhance planning, zoning and economic development?
For effective and responsible development and redevelopment, the city can provide a thorough plan for the future. This plan can be used to attract new business into the community. The city can work to attract business specifically to our area, whereas the county’s efforts are primarily geared to attracting businesses to locate somewhere in the county. The county operates under a one size fits all zoning ordinance, which does not consider the unique needs of our community. A city would be able to tailor the zoning ordinance to our need and attract diverse opportunities.
What will be the structure of the city?
Mableton will have a mayor and six council members who will serve as the City Council. Each council member will represent a district of approximately 13,000 people, must reside in their district and will be elected by the voters within their district. The mayor will be elected citywide. City Council will employ a city manager who will direct the day-to-day operations of the city.
Will a new city have its own school district?
No, the Georgia State Constitution provides that no city can create a new school system. Where cities have school systems, such as Marietta, they were created before the prohibition was enacted.
Will the new city help our schools?
Cityhood is neutral toward schools. Schools are not a reason for city incorporation. Georgia law clearly provides that school districts are separate government entities and are not under the control of county or city governments. It is possible that as we create a stronger community, the schools will benefit from a “halo effect”, but that is only a possibility. Schools should not factor into the vote for cityhood.
Will cityhood change school attendance districts?
A city’s boundaries have NO effect on the Cobb County School District’s attendance districts. Attendance districts will change only if Cobb County School District redistricts.
What is the Committee for City of Mableton?
The Committee for the City of Mableton (CCM) is a campaign organization formed by community leaders to promote passage of the referendum to create the City of Mableton. CCM created the MabletonYes! Campaign.
What is the South Cobb Alliance?
The South Cobb Alliance (SCA) is a non-profit organization that was created to study the feasibility of creating a new city in the South Cobb area. SCA completed its mission and is not involved in the campaign.
How did this cityhood effort come about?
The possibility of cityhood for the South Cobb area has been a topic of conversation for many years. In 2015 and 2017 cityhood was discussed at community meetings held by civic organizations. Given the level of interest at the meetings, the South Cobb Alliance was formed in 2017 to study the feasibility of cityhood. Grassroots fundraising was employed to commission a feasibility study from the University of Georgia. The study showed that cityhood is feasible without raising taxes. HB839 was filed in the Georgia House of Representatives in 2021 to allow the citizens the right to vote on the City of Mableton. The bill passed and was signed into law in 2022. The Committee for City of Mableton was formed and the MabletonYes! campaign was launched. The people will get to vote on cityhood in November!
Why form of a new city?
• Provide better services with the same taxes.
• Local control of our community with decisions being made by people who live in our community.
• Keep our taxes here and efficiently manage our tax dollars.
• To improve the quality of life for all citizens and provide the level of service
necessary for our growing community.
• To provide a voice to tens of thousands of people in this area who, in the
opinion of many, have not had a significant voice in decisions and policy
• Increased representation with 1 council member per 13,000 people instead
of 1 county commissioner per 191,700 people. Additionally, all 7 city elected
officials will live in the city.
What are the services a city must provide?
Georgia law provides that every city must provide at least three services from a list of 11 services. Mableton will provide Planning and Zoning, Code Enforcement, Parks and Recreation, and Solid Waste Management from the list. Under state law the city will also obtain ownership of all local roads, but it’s
anticipated that Cobb County will continue maintenance of the roads. The city would have the ability to add additional services in the future if so desired. (City Services Link)
Will the City of Mableton still be part of Cobb County?
Yes, the city would still be part of Cobb County. The county would continue to provide the majority of services to the citizens of the city, such as public safety (fire, police, etc.), water and sewer, courts, Sheriff’s office, Tax Assessor, Tax Commissioner, etc. The city will assume responsibility for many non-emergency quality of life services, including planning, zoning, economic development, code enforcement, parks and recreation, and solid waste management.
Will I have to pay both county and city taxes?
Obviously both levels are government are supported by taxes. Georgia passed a law decades ago, referred to as HB489 Service Delivery Strategy Act. The act requires county and city governments to work together to avoid duplication of services and to eliminate double taxation for the same services. Cobb County has an agreement with the cities within the county which provides payment to the cities
for services which Cobb County includes in their taxes, but the cities provide. The feasibility study prepared by the University of Georgia shows that the City of Mableton will not have to have a separate property tax. In fact, the study found that the city would have an annual surplus of $3.2 million without a separate
property tax. We anticipate you will continue to pay the same property taxes to the county and will not receive a separate city tax bill.
Will the new city cutdown on county expenses?
The new city should reduce county expenses. As the city assumes responsibility for services, the county is also required to share taxes collect for those services with the city. What is most important is that services are being transferred to a level of government that can better serve the needs of the community.
What are franchise fees and how will they impact me?
Local governments are allowed to collect what are known as “franchise fees” from utilities for the use of rights-of-way. Franchise fees are very complicated, governed by federal and state law, and vary by type of utility. The county is only allowed to collect fees from the cable tv companies, whereas cities are also allowed to collect from electric, natural gas and landline telephone companies. Residents from the unincorporated areas already pay the vast majority of these fees, but are only getting the benefit of the cable tv fees. The rest of the money you pay is being distributed to cities throughout Georgia. For residents within the proposed city limits, these fees could remain the same, go up or go down. We don’t anticipate a significant change up or down. For more detailed explanation use the link below. The important point is that as a city we could start getting the benefit of the money we are already paying. (Franchise Fees Link)
What about SPLOST projects?
For any SPLOST that has already been approved by the voters, the list of projects is set. Those projects must be completed whether they are in the city limits or not. Depending on the project, it may be managed by the city or the county. State law provides for a transition period in which the details can be worked out. For future SPLOSTs, the city will have the right to determine the projects for our city and city is guaranteed to get our fair share of the revenue.