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By Eric Stirgus
The proposed new home of the Atlanta Braves is a large swath of heavily wooded land that could be a hit for Cobb County government and schools if the baseball team moves there, some supporters of the plan say.
"These 60 acres have produced zero SPLOST money for parks and recreation, have produced zero money for education," said John Loud, who owns Loud Security, based in Cobb.
True? PolitiFact Georgia thought we’d do some digging.
Loud, along with Superior Plumbing owner Jay Cunningham, have spearheaded an effort to rally public support in favor of the plan. The two men led a campaign for a 1 percent sales tax for education in Cobb County and the Marietta city school system that passed in March.
Loud said he was referring to sales tax money from the land that has gone back to the county government or school system.
"There’s no sales tax that comes out of those acres," he said.
The Braves have secured land within the Cumberland Community Improvement District, team officials say. The team plans to use 60 acres for the stadium and development, the Braves say.
The Cumberland CID is an area approved to tax businesses within its borders. The land is located just north and west of I-75 and I-285. The team wants to build a 41,500-seat stadium, along with an amphitheater, stores and restaurants leading up to the ballpark.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has identified several parcels where it believes the Braves want to build the new stadium and other development. The Braves declined to identify the parcels that have been secured, citing a confidentiality agreement. The team did say it believes the land is undeveloped. A Cobb County government spokesman agreed.
"It’s all vacant land," said the spokesman, Robert Quigley.
Cobb, like most metro Atlanta counties, collects a 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax on most items sold in local businesses to pay for the construction of new government buildings, roadways and equipment. Quigley said the county cannot collect SPLOST proceeds from vacant property.
As for whether the property has produced zero money for education, that’s a more complicated element to Loud’s claim. Cobb collects about $140,000 a year in school taxes from the land, Quigley said. Our total, based on the parcels the AJC believes the Braves have secured, was close, at nearly $143,000. Loud was aware of how much money is collected in property taxes for the school system when PolitiFact Georgia gave him a call. He stressed he was talking about sales tax revenue in The Marietta Daily Journal article.
"There’s no commerce (there), so there’s no sales tax generated," said Loud, who believes the county will collect millions of dollars annually from the land if it is developed by the Braves.
To sum up, Loud said the 60 acres the Atlanta Braves are considering as part of a stadium development have produced no SPLOST money for parks and recreation and zero money for education. The site’s owners currently pay property taxes that go to the county’s school system. Loud said he was referring to sales tax revenue from the land. His quote in the newspaper article could had been clearer about the point he was trying to make.
There is some additional detail that must be understood for anyone who reads Loud’s quote.
Our rating: Mostly True.
Marietta Daily Journal, "Cobb businessmen launch website seeking support for Braves move," Nov. 19, 2013, www.mdjonline.com/view/full_story/24077571/article-Cobb-businessmen-launch-website-seeking-support-for-Braves-move?instance=home_lead_story
Email from Beth Marshall, spokeswoman, Atlanta Braves, Nov. 21, 2013
Telephone interview with John Loud, Nov. 20, 2013
Telephone interview with Robert Quigley, spokesman, Cobb County, Nov. 21, 2013
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