Cobb County plans to sell or lease at least ten properties, including two county-owned parking decks off Marietta Square, as elected leaders face down a $30 to $55 million impending budget deficit.
Cobb changed the parking fee structure just a few months ago in an effort to shore up the parking decks’ finances, but now commissioners are looking for someone to take them off their hands through a lease/operating agreement.
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The county cannot sell the decks for legal reasons relating to the roughly $8 million in debt still owed on them. Last year, the parking deck required a $347,000 subsidy from the General Fund to meet its obligations.
“The garages have been in the red for a number of years and there’s no practical way that we know how to run an operation like that,” said Commission Chairman Mike Boyce.
County officials are preparing a request for proposals for a third party to lease and operate the decks.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, commissioners voted to sell two surplus parcels on Atlanta Road to Bernhard Blecken, owner of Bernhard’s Bread Bakery in Marietta, for $224,350. The appraised value of the properties was $195,000, according to the county.
Boyce said in addition to making the county government leaner, he hoped the sale of idle properties would raise revenue and help plug the hole in the budget.
The other properties for sale are located at the following addresses: 57 Waddell Street; 277 South Fairground Street; 700 Lee Industrial Boulevard; 1200 Barrett Parkway; 2370 Austell Road; 3137 Austell Road; 1820 Atlanta Road; a property on Powers Ferry Road; and two parcels on Church Street in Mableton Town Square.
A spokesperson for the county said it would not release its asking prices so as not to jeopardize ongoing negotiations.
Cobb residents are facing a difficult choice between cutting services and raising taxes this summer amid warnings from leading rating agencies that Cobb’s “fiscal challenges” could cost it its AAA rating.