Braves' stadium critics call for public vote on funding - CBS46 News

Braves' stadium critics call for public vote on funding

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Cobb County took a step closer to bringing the Braves to the suburbs, but not everybody who lives there is happy about the deal.

Critics, who complain that the county is using taxpayer money to help fund the $672 million stadium, want the public to have a bigger say in how the venue is financed.

Cobb County commissioners, on Tuesday, signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to spend $300 million on the proposed stadium.

Two different groups, however, are blasting county commissioners.

The watchdog group, Common Cause, wants the public to vote on how the stadium is funded.

The Atlanta tea party has launched a robocall campaign that has flooded the commission's phone lines.

Commission Chairman Tim Lee said the phone lines, at times, are congested with calls about the stadium that other calls that could involve serious safety issues may not get through.

The tea party is calling county residents urging them to tell their commissioners to say "no" to using public money to help fund the stadium.

"Your Cobb County commission chairman, Tim Lee, is planning to spend $300 million of your tax money on a new stadium for the Atlanta Braves," the recorded message said.

Anthony-Scott Hobbs, with the Cobb County tea party, said commissioners are betraying conservative values of lower taxes and less government.

"It's hypocritical." Lee said. "You're using taxpayer money. You're using new taxes to finance a private organization."

William Perry, executive director of Common Cause, said commissioners left the public out of the process and wants Cobb County voters to decide.

"We're calling for a public referendum on the hundreds of millions of taxpayer money. The people ought to have the right to weigh in on it," Perry said.

When asked if the decision on how to fund the stadium will be put to a public vote, Lee said, "No, it won't."

Lee said county lawmakers followed proper procedure and he insisted that the county's $300 million investment in the stadium would come from a hotel-motel tax, fees on businesses and a car rental tax, not property taxes.

"The taxpayers will see absolutely no increase in tax whatsoever," Lee said.

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