Rumors have it that the Cobb County Commission is operating under the assumption that they have the sole power and the authority to create a Special District out of thin air, assess a tax on that district, and collect it…all without getting permission from any other entity, whether it is the voters, or the Georgia General Assembly.
AND…they believe they have this power as a result of the county legal department, headed-up by Deborah Dance.
To get you kinda embedded into this story as quickly as possible, you need to click this link to see Lori Geary of WSB-TV’s story on an updated issue regarding the Cobb County Braves Stadium issue, and an interview with Larry Savage of Cobb County.
Rumor has it that the county commission is relying on Dance’s legal expertise for their defense (along with the consulting law firms of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, and Phuk Yoos Guise, LLP)
Larry Savage, on the other hand, will be relying on several points of factual information about special districts in Georgia (e.g., the Georgia Constitution, Ga Supreme Court case law, local law, and one federal district court case decided in 2001 in the Northern District of Georgia). The federal court case was decided by Federal District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.
Now…just to make sure you understand, this 2001 case is not (repeat, NOT) directly related in subject matter to this issue with the Braves’ stadium…but, as most court cases go, lots of interesting tidbits of actual legal knowledge is buried in this case about how Georgia law works…and, specifically, how “special districts” can be formed.
On Page 3 of this 2001 case (where it is highlighted in yellow and bold text in this linked PDF), it states the following: “Local legislation is legislation that applies to a specific city, county, or special district. Major changes in local governments’ governance must be approved by the General Assembly because local governments are creations of the State. Local legislation is introduced to create or abolish cities, change city boundaries, alter forms of local government, create local authorities or special districts, and make other changes that apply only to the particular political subdivision named in the bill.”
PV Asks of The Cobb County Commission’s Brain Trust: If you folks think you have the power, all on your own, to create the special district(s), why didn’t you just go ahead and create it at the meeting held last week, and start collecting your taxes?
You had a quorum, and even if Lisa Cupid had not agreed to it, you had three votes with Tim, Helen, and JoAnn. Hmmm…? Inquiring minds want to know…