Jul 28, 2014
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TSPLOST Criticism Drives Town Hall

Northeast Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell's meeting turned into a heated discussion about the proposed 1-cent sales tax featuring Chairman Tim Lee.

Northeast Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell’s town-hall meeting turned into an impromptu anti-TSPLOST rally during the question-and-answer session Wednesday evening.

The July 31 referendum on the 10-year, 1 percent regional sales tax wasn’t the only thing on the minds of the more than 100 people who crowded into the community room at at the .

But it was the issue Northeast and East Cobb residents returned to repeatedly, peppering Birrell and Chairman Tim Lee with questions about costs, sustainability, what happens after 10 years and the wisdom of pouring billions of dollars into mass transit.

Lee noted that Cobb County is expected to receive 98 percent of the money it pays into the regional pool of money, while Rockdale County will get less than half that return.

Lee found himself in the uncomfortable position of defending the Transportation Investment Act and the project list even though, as an elected official, he's supposed to educate voters about the referendum, not advocate.

The commission chairman served with Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews as Cobb's representatives on the panel that crafted the but has since . Lee also will face the county's voters in the Republican primary July 31, the same day Cobb residents will be voting on the TSPLOST referendum.

Wednesday was not the first time Cobb officials have faced an unfriendly crowd when talking about the transportation sales tax. Some of the others:

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Even if , it will go into effect if a majority of .

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