Atlanta’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer has been suspended for sending emails that included a racial slur and profanity. Hans Utz sent the emails last month when the Braves made the surprise announcement they are moving to Cobb County. As part of a freedom of information request, the emails were released to the media Thursday. Katie Leslie, city hall reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, says she was tipped off to the exchange, which was among 600 emails. In a phone interview with GPB, Leslie says Utz was composing talking points on how big a blow the Braves move would be to Atlanta.
The Cobb County Commission’s vote Tuesday to OK public funds for a new Atlanta Braves ballpark will mean higher taxes for businesses around the area where the stadium will be built. Longtime resistance to higher taxes in the county and in Georgia could mean public opposition to the project won’t end anytime soon.
Cobb County commissioners took a big step toward building a new $672 million stadium for the Atlanta Braves. The commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the entry into a memorandum of understanding with the baseball team at their meeting Tuesday evening. The deal calls for hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds to help pay for the stadium and entertainment complex. The 30-year agreement calls for a mix of reallocating existing property tax revenue and implementing new taxes on business and tourism in the area.
People in Cobb County got their chance Monday to weigh in on the proposed new Atlanta Braves stadium in their backyards. Meanwhile, watchdogs and taxpayer groups are mobilizing to slow the process of approving public money for the project. Three Cobb County commissioners had separate town halls to gather public input ahead of a vote scheduled Tuesday evening. But one watchdog group is pushing for more: a public referendum.
People in Cobb County will now have their chance to give input on the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium deal. Commissioners have scheduled three town hall meetings for Monday, November 25, specifically for public input on the development. The Commission is set to vote on the issue Tuesday. County officials have been largely criticized for not seeking public input on the project. Before the town halls were scheduled, William Perry of Common Cause Georgia publicly called for Cobb leaders to delay their vote on the project to allow public comments.
When the Braves leave for the suburbs in 2017, the City of Atlanta will lose about $4 million in annual sales tax revenue. That figure comes from an economic impact study by Professor Bruce Seaman of Georgia State University.
The Braves are just three seasons and $672 million away from a brand new home in Cobb County. A portion of that money, however, is expected to come not from the team, but from Cobb taxpayers. That could prove problematic. Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed said keeping the Braves in Atlanta could cost city taxpayers millions. But what does the new stadium mean for taxpayers in Cobb County?
The Atlanta Braves plan to move from their home at Turner Field to a new stadium in Cobb County in 2017. The new ballpark will be at the intersection of I-75 and I-285 in the Cumberland Mall/ Cobb Galleria area. The new stadium is projected to cost about $672 million including parking, infrastructure, and land. Atlanta Braves President John Scherholz says team officials wanted to find a prime destination for Braves fans.