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Georgia city places park expansion referendum on ballot

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August 14, 2009

MARIETTA, Georgia: The Marietta City Council has recently voted to place a $25 million, 20-year bond referendum to improve the city park system. Discussions had been long and protracted, and only ended in a 4-3 decision; the seven-member council had been talking about improvements four at least a year and a half, not agreeing on how to split the money amongst the city's seven districts. If the bond passes, the tax rate would increase approximately fifty dollars a year on $200,000 homes, and twenty-five dollars a year on $100,000 homes. The additional revenue would go towards funding improvements for existing parks, facilities and trails; land acquisition; development of new parks; and general administrative planning and design requirements.[1]

At some points of the debate within the council, criticism and argumentation turned ugly. Those opposed to placing the referendum on the ballot did so mainly on the grounds that it is wrong to, or even try to, implement a tax hike in the current economic climate. Mayor Bill Dunaway proceeded at one point to accuse Philip Goldstein, who opposed the bill for these reasons, that he was not doing so out of concern for citizens, but rather because he owns a good deal of property on the town square that would be affected. Goldstein opted not to respond directly.[2]

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