Cobb County leaders are considering a proposal to close some recreational parks as they figure out how to fill a projected $30 million shortfall in next year's budget.
Lost Mountain Park near Powder Springs is one of the parks that could end up on the chopping block. It's a popular park that offers a wide variety of activities and sports leagues and features a senior center, a recreation center and a tennis complex.
So why would leaders close one of its most popular parks?
Currently, the county is spending more money than it's receiving in tax revenue. To make up for the county's projected $30 million gap in the 2019 budget, four parks in the county could be forced to close. Besides Lost Mountain Park, they include South Cobb (both the aquatics and recreational center), Mountain View Park (aquatics center, community center and The Art Place), and Fullers Park and Recreation Center.
County Commission Chairman Mike Boyce says the only other option is to raise the millage rate.
“Let’s not be cute about this. I could close every library, every senior center, probably half the parks, and I still wouldn’t get to 30-million dollars," said Boyce in a video on the county's website. "What is the price for a 5-star county?”
When compared to neighboring counties, Cobb County currently boasts the lowest millage rate, meaning Cobb County residents pay less for the same types of services.
Commissioners are planning a budget retreat next week to dive into the budget and come up with a millage rate proposal.
After that, county leaders will seek input from taxpayers at a series of town hall meetings and public hearings.
The 7 p.m. events are scheduled for June 18 at the East Cobb Senior Center, June 19 at the North Cobb Senior Center, June 20 at the Senior Wellness Center, June 25 at the Freeman Poole Senior Center, June 27 at the West Cobb Senior Center, June 28 at the South Cobb Community Center and July 9 at Sewell Mill Library.
The Board of Commissioners will also hold public hearings at 9 a.m., Tuesday, July 10, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 17, and 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 25. All three hearings will be held in the BOC Room on the second floor of 100 Cherokee St., Marietta.
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