Cobb Taxpayer Group Critical About Stadium Approval Process

Nov 15, 2013

Cobb County and the Atlanta Braves have released funding details for a new $672 dollar proposed Braves stadium in the county.  A memorandum of understanding for the project will be voted on by the Cobb Commission in less than two weeks. But the head of a county watchdog group says it’s being voted on too quickly.

Cobb Taxpayers Association Chairman Lance Lamberton is concerned about how the stadium is being paid for, potential traffic congestion and what he says has been a lack of governmental transparency. And Lamberton says the approval process for the project is moving forward too fast with few opportunities for public input.

If the deal is approved, the Braves will relocate from Turner Field in downtown Atlanta
Credit Dan Raby/WABE

“The reason they’re doing it so quickly, in my opinion, is to prevent people like myself, and people who feel like I do, and organizations like mine, to not give us enough time to organize against it and also to not give people enough time to thoroughly scrutinize this proposal.”

But when interviewed on Thursday, Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee disagreed.

Reporter: “Why do this so quickly?”

Lee: “It’s not quickly. This is the Cobb Way. We’re very, very interested in making sure we welcome any corporate relocation and do what we can to facilitate positive impact and positive growth.  We’re trying our best to facilitate moving this forward, to keep it going.”

Lee started meeting with a Braves executive about the project this past summer. And this is how Lee responded Tuesday, when asked why the county remained silent to the public about the project despite talking with the Braves for several months.

“I don’t believe there was any secrecy involved. We were working on an economic development deal. We approached this no differently than any other economic development deal, which requires a certain level of confidentiality as we go through the details.”

Residents will be allowed to comment on the stadium during a November 26 meeting where Cobb Commissioners are expected to vote on the agreement.

Lamberton says his organization and the Georgia Tea Party will meet Monday to discuss whether they plan to organize a grassroots effort against the project.