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Cobb County, Georgia

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Cobb County is one of 159 counties in Georgia. Its county seat is Marietta. As of the 2000 census, the population was 607,751. The 2009 estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau was 714,692 people.[1] The county is part of the original and core (five-county) Atlanta metropolitan area, which is included in the AtlantaSandy SpringsMarietta, Georgia metropolitan statistical area.

The U.S. Census Bureau ranks Cobb County as the most-educated in the state of Georgia and 12th among all counties in the United States.[2] It has ranked among top wealthiest counties in the United States.[3]

Evaluation of website

Grade2.pngA+
Budget Y
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Meetings Y
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts Y
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Lobbying
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Public records Y
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Local taxes Y
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Transparency grading process


See also: Evaluation of Georgia county websites


The good

  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 10 years.[4]
  • Administrative Officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[5]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Elected Officials
    • Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[6]
  • Meetings
    • Meeting minutes are archived for over 20 years.
    • Meeting agendas are archived for over 20 years.[7]
    • A meeting calendar is available and names the times and locations of public meetings.
    • Meeting videos are available.[8]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2003 are available.[9]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.
    • Approved contract statements are provided for vendors.[10]
  • Public Records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by official records custodians. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[11]
    • A public records form is provided.[12]
    • A fee schedule for documents is provided.
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.[13]
    • Residents are able to pay taxes online.
  • Lobbying
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.[15]
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[16]

Budget

The fiscal year 2011 adopted budget is $720,662,814, which is a $1,302,832 decrease from FY2010 and amounts to less than a percent. The proposed FY2012 budget is $738,057,998 which is a $17,395,184 (2.4%) increase.[17]

Elected Officials

County Commission

Cobb County operates under the commission-county manager form of government. This system combines the policy leadership of elected officials with the administrative abilities of a county manager.

The commission meets in regular session twice a month on the second Tuesday (9 a.m.) and the fourth Tuesday (7 p.m.). Commission Zoning Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month (9 a.m.). Current commissioners are:[18]

Administrative Officials

County Manager

Cobb County operates under the commission-county manager form of government. This system combines the policy leadership of elected officials with the administrative abilities of a county manager.

David Hankerson has been County Manager since 1993.[19]

Salaries

See also: Georgia government salary


Pensions

See also: Georgia public pensions


According to Cobb County's Human Resources Department, the Cobb County pension plan was updated in 2010 and is now set up as follows:

Effective January 1, 2010, all new employees will automatically be enrolled in the New Hybrid Defined Benefit/Defined Contribution Plan. The Plan has two components: a Defined Benefit component and a Defined Contribution component. The Defined Benefit component is mandatory and the contribution amount is determined by the County. The employee's pre-tax contribution is a percentage of the employee's gross pay. The employee’s Contribution Rate is currently 5% and should not increase over time, although this can't be guaranteed. The Defined Contribution component is voluntary. In addition to the 5% mandatory contribution of their salary to the Defined Benefit Plan, employees may also decide to contribute a portion of their salary each year into the Defined Contribution Plan up to the maximum amount permitted by the IRS. The County will make a 50% matching contribution up to 2%.[20]

Emergency personnel

The Cobb County Sheriff's Office is the only emergency service arm of the county. Currently, it is overseen by Sheriff Neil Warren and Chief Deputy Sheriff Lynda Coker.

Lobbying

See also: Georgia government sector lobbying


Cobb County participates in the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG). The ACCG engages in lobbying the Georgia state legislature.[21]. Cobb County is also a member of the National Association of Counties, a national government sector lobbying organization.

According to OpenSecrets.org, Cobb County spent $30,000 on a lobbying contract with Holland and Knight in 2011. OpenSecrets.org reports that DeKalb County lobbied the federal government on the following issues in 2011: FY2011 appropriations for transportation, public safety, homeland security and housing.[22]

Transparency & public records

In 2011 Cobb County earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

Taxes

On May 16, 2011, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Cobb County commission chairman Tim Lee was being criticized by Superior Court Clerk Jay Stephenson for refusing to raise millage (property) tax rates to solve a budget problem in the county.[23] Chairman Lee had informed county administrators that the previously adopted 10 percent budget reductions would carry over into FY2012, which begins in October. Stephenson responded that he would seek to have the chairman removed from office if Lee or anyone on his behalf contacted the clerk’s office about budget-cutting issues.

External links

References