Jerica's Innovation Platform


[Innovation] is about creatively and collaboratively looking at our challenges to find real solutions that align with the vision of our future. Innovation is a real possibility because Cobb has all the talent it needs to be a model for other counties and communities around the world. It requires that we are creative and open to different perspectives. By overcoming what divides us, innovatively Connecting Cobb is more than possible.

Innovation Vision

Municipal Places, Innovation Spaces

Snapshot of Our Entrepreneurial Sector


(K) Number of library card holders


Number of Libraries in Cobb County


($K) Dedicated total of county grants issued for entrereneurships


Number of co-working spaces


($M) Cost of Library Operations


Number of Community Centers

The Board of Commissioners and Innovation

Retooling Public Spaces for the 21st century

Innovation is not just something you foster, it is something that must also be adopted. The strategies around innovation should support diversity, being inclusive with cultures and languages. In order to efficiently re-tool our public spaces with the 21st century in mind, our plans should accommodate increases in population growth and tourism. We also must adopt innovation strategies for services and buildings for safety, sustainability, monitoring and convenience.

Upgrading Libraries for Economic Development Purposes

Libraries serve as the gateway to unfettered knowledge for many communities. With today's easy access to information and training, our libraries have unfortunately suffered from a decrease in patronage and usage. So much so that many have called in to question whether or not libraries are relevant. This is disheartening to those that work in the library and bring value to their jobs each and every day. As we move into the information age, there is an opportunity for libraries to embrace this trend and re-establish its importance. By improving the marketing of our services, and retooling our libraries to meet economic development needs of the communities they are a part of, libraries can once again become a beacon of hope. This upgrading includes converting unused spaces to dedicated public coworking spaces, and equipping librarians with tools and resources to encourage applied learning: entrepreneurship, innovation, and community engagement. This will result in a revenue-based model for libraries, increased patronage, library autonomy in identifying needs of the community, and a deep relationship with local commerce and residents.

Encouraging Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Industry Collaboration

Encouraging entrepreneurship, innovation and industry collaboration will allow us to open our economy to new perspectives and ideas. For example, every meeting that is hosted inside of a government building should include the addition of an innovative perspective to whichever conversation is taking place. By identifying key industries where there is room for growth, we can then strategically install initiatives to support the growth in those areas. We can expand the efforts that encourage entrepreneurship by providing awareness and grants. Through these efforts, I believe that an intellectual property pipeline can be created that operates through schools, libraries and the commerce sector.

The Library of the Future

Economic Development

What Do Our Libraries Need Today?

Fiscal and Community Longevity

More sustainable business model and more funds

Greater relationship with commerce sector

Greater community awareness of services

Improve Job Quality

Higher pay

Greater relationship with daily activities and community service

Improved facilities

Library Independence and Resources

Remove reliability on library cards for funding

Remove reliability on millage rate for all funding

New funds that can supply for self-determined resourcing projects

How We Can Meet Those Needs Through an Upgrade

Coworking Spaces for Nonprofits and Startups

Accepted non-profits will have three years of full access to a dedicated office space for up to 5 people. These office spaces come equipped with a mailing address suite number. These spaces are limited on a first-come first-served basis.

Accepted startups will have one year of full access to a dedicated office space for up to 5 people. These office spaces come equipped with a mailing address suite number and are limited on a first-come first-served basis.

Both tenant types will donate to libaries a portion of their revenues.

Hot Desks and Services

A space should be dedicated for people to walk in and claim a spot. These spots can be registered publicly and come equipped with a mailing address by name. There are an unlimited number of hot desk spots.

Nonprofit, Entrepreneurial, and Technology Workshops and Classes


Business Taxes and Filing, Software, Architecture, Virtual Reality, Blockchain Technology, Technology Expertise (Azure, AWS), Intellectual Property, Engineering, Augmented Reality, Cryptocurrencies, SEO, Marketing and Social Media, 3D Printing, Machine learning, Hedge Funds, Customer Discovery, Coding, Sales Methodologies, Drone Technology, Private Investments, Raising Capital, Financial Planning, Human Resources (Training, Hiring, Succession, Staff Development), Commercial Real Estate, Storefront Management, Competitive Advantage, Grant Listings and Applications, Financing Options

Private Coworking Space Fairs

At a minimum, every quarter should feature local private coworking spaces seeking tenants. Coworking ambassadors can promote their spaces to the tenants at the public library in a fair.

Tenant Career Fairs

Once a quarter, the library can host a career fair for people to explore the companies that are tenants in the space, and others that may request a spot as well.

Free Guest Speakers and Event Space

All speaker events, classes, and event space can be free of charge with a requested donation from guests and organizers.

Makerspaces and STEM Spaces

These spaces are first-come first served but offer equipment and tools for constructing items. Devices come with credits from companies that power the services, if necessary.

  • 3d printers
  • Woodworking
  • Music Production
  • Robotics

In-House Score Members

Smaller gathering offices are available for visitors from SCORE. Mentoring visitors can be requested via the SCORE database or the community plug-in database.

Community Task Forces

In order to properly identify resources in the community and tackle some of the core issues, a task force should be created as a part of the library whose sole focus is in developing strategic partnerships and opportunities for local residents and tenants.

Plug-In Database

This database is set up by each library so that residents and local business owners can add their name and expertise to. Tenants, library leadership, and library patrons can access this database and request someone for an appointment or mentorship visit.

Access to Other Resources
  • Event Space
  • Minimal Printing Services
  • Library Resources (scholarly journals and whitepapers)
  • Classroom Space with AV equipment
  • Laptops for rent

What Investments are Associated with the Upgrade?

Secure partnerhsip with Chamber & SBA
Partnership with Cobb County School Board
Librarian re-training

Infrastructural expansion of libraries
Investment in security personnel and infrastructure
Investment in mobility options

How Do We Accommodate the Upgrade?

Most invetsments do not require a large amount of capital. The expansion of infrastructure is where most of the money will need to be sourced. These funds can potentially be sourced from the following.

Startup & Non-profit tenant agreements

Corporate Sponsorship of maker spaces

IGA/grant as model for Future Library

Potential SPLOST candidate

Innovation is not just about technology, it's about how you look at the challenges you face. When it comes to converting our municipal spaces to innovation spaces means that we make them more open and being places where real problems can be solved. There is wisdom and talent hidden in all corners of our county- we just need to make sure that people have access to the resources they need in order to make a difference in their part of the community.

Jerica Richardson
Candidate for Cobb County Commissioner

Innovation Vision

The Last Mile of Environmentalism

Snapshot of Sustainability and Utilities


(%) Population Within 0.5 Mile of a Park


(%) Area With Tree Canopy


(%) Outperformance on Toxic Release Index Score with Peers


(%) Underperformance in Comparison to Peers in Air Quality


(%) Underperformance in Comparison to Peers in Airborne Cancer Risk


Number of Environmental Justice Hotspots (2012)

The Board of Commissioners and Natural Resources

Environmental Empowerment and Awareness

In order to increase environmental empowerment and awareness, we must place an emphasis on the education of climate change and the importance of environmental sustainability. By creating awareness around the options available to us, we can empower people to make educated decisions on an individual basis. In order to fully educate our community, we must provide accessible and usable air, water and soil data for visitors and residents.

Leveraging New Technologies for Public Health

When it comes to the Public Health of our community, there is so much opportunity in the technology that we can leverage. By fostering relationships within the commerce sector, we can help to develop new technologies and programs that are accessible. Through the development of these technologies, we can encourage pilot programs for health monitoring systems. We can also install sensors that provide real-time testing data that can be connected to environmental empowerment channels.

Incentivizing Sustainable Practices

Providing grant funding for research and development on sustainable practices, along with offering tax abatements and relief for utilizing or offering environmentally safe practices will incentivize sustainable practices in our communities. Strengthening conservation initiatives and incorporating sustainable practices in community engagement activities will also make these practices more commonplace and accessible to the members of our community.

See Full List (all)

Currently Adopted Sustainable Measures

What are some policies we can enact to make a difference?

What Innovative Sustainability Could Look Like

Embracing sustainability goes beyond enacting new policies and initiatives that restrict a person or company from negatively impacting the environment. Embracing sustainability is about incentivizing a transition and helping to drive new markets that are green-tech. By incorporating green-tech into the daily activities of members of our community, being environmentally friendly becomes convenient. Imagine what a Sustainable Cobb could look like.

While we are all aware that the environment is changing, we oftentimes disagree on whether steps can be taken to curb the negative impacts. Now, it is on our generation to determine what can be done for us to make signiicant progress to return our ecosystem to normalcy. To make substantial progress, sustainable practices must be convenient, incentivized, cost-effective, and repeatable at a large scale. I am ready to partner with groups that desire that make this happen.

Jerica Richardson
Candidate for Cobb County Commissioner

Innovation Vision

Non-Profit Partnerships

Snapshot of Our Non-Profit Sector


Number of Trackable Non-Profits


($K) Amount Previously Given to NonProfits


Number of Recipients of County Funds


(%) Average ROI on Grant Funding


(K) Impact Reach


Number of Departments Benefitting from Recipient Collaboration

The Board of Commissioners and Non-Profits

Expand Support for Academic Opportunity, Financial Literacy, and Mental Health Programs

Without supplemental academic opportunities, financial literacy, and mental health programs, the county incurs additional costs around employment deficits, unrecovered tax revenue, increased liabilities with administering public safety, and future economic decline. Simply put, investing in such programs is an invetsment in our future.

Non-profit Vendor Management Guide

Partnering with non-profits in a sensible way allows the county to subsidize government services in the budget by leveraging programs specifically established to provide each service. I am committed to expanding guidelines, rules, and RFPs, for non-profits that look to receive or are receiving county funds, and treat and monitor non profit funding comparably with vendor management expectations.

Expand Support for New Training & Academic Opportunities for County Professionals

Non-profits specialize in areas of expertise, and are many times on the cutting edge with regards to research on psychology and programming. It benefits our professionals to strengthen the relationship between these groups to formalize and establish ongoing training and career advancement opportunities so that we can further invest in our county employees. Such training sessions can also be beneficial to residents when understanding the county's protocol improvement, and can serve as recruitment ground for later succession planning.

Non-Profit Vendor Selection & Management Guide

Non-profits specialize in rendering specific services. Some of those services would otherwise have to be rendered by the county, which has no specialty, by either proactive or reactive means. In this light, Jerica believes that supplementing these non-profits in their ability to render critical services is in the best interest of tax payer money.

One of the four approved categories:
  • Homelessness
  • Family stability/poverty
  • Ex-offender re-entry/workforce development
  • Health and wellness

Membership in Cobb Collaborative | Learn More
Committed to and past evidence of securing additional or matching funding
Accommodates a program that would have to be serviced or supplemented through the County
Monies must come from General Fund and shared with other agencies
Metrics must show "progress" in quality of life or economic growth

County Benefits

Yield double the amount for half the price

Higher quality in critical service delivery

Easier management and predictability of budget

Higher emergency and disaster responsiveness

Current County Services Rendered Via Non-Profit

Examples of Future Non-Profits for Financial Literacy, Educational Opportunities, and Training Opportunities

Academic Games League of America | Learn More

Nationally competitive series of academic games promoting critical thinking skills in propaganda, mathematics, linguistics, abstract mathematics, and history.

Junior Achievement | Learn More

A national program focused on educating the youth with a Discovery Center that partners with local commerce to teach financial literacy skills.

Expand Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Initiatives | Learn More

Law enforcement officers who are trained in CIT can effectively assist individuals with mental illness and other brain disorders who are in crisis, therefore advancing public safety and reducing the stigma commonly associated with mental illness.

Many non profits have already taken on the burden of treating challenges in an innovative way. It makes sense for us to leverage these groups to either supplement the services we offer. By doing so, we can have a positive impact on handling our budget, enhancing services, and improving quality of life of those that come into contact with our county.

Jerica Richardson
Candidate for Cobb County Commissioner

Innovation Vision

Fiscal Responsibility

Snapshot of Our Budget


($M) Cobb Budget (Expenses)




Departments on Budget


($M) Oustanding Bond Debt


(%) Millage Rate Increase


(%) Revenue from Property Taxes

The Board of Commissioners and the Budget

Accountable Commerce, Local and State Collaboration

When we lack collaboration and information, it causes projects to be delayed and the costs of projects to rise. One way to combat this is to leverage economies of scale by consolidating these projects. Another way to make these projects as efficient as possible is by ensuring that large-scale projects include collaborative meetings along with other accountability measures. We should also include SPLOST spending and income in the biennial budget to ensure maximum transparency.

Recreational Use Tax and Increase Tax Base

By expanding targeted industries and connectivity, we can increase the revenues associated with both our County SPLOST and our Ed-SPLOST due to increased spending within the county. We can also expand the amount gained with licensing for highlighted and attractive activitity and see some marginal gains commercial property taxes. Another opportunity we have is in researching the recreational and medical use of marijuana and determining if decriminalization or legalization has an impact on the socio-economics and health of those who are connected to Cobb County.

Long term growth, however, should be predicated on investments in innnovation, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship. There is enough talent in Cobb County, that we should be leading in many areas.

Recession-proofing the Budget

Today: millage rates must be determined and projected the year prior to the communication which causes the appearance of rising taxes given a projected deficit. We also depend heavily on property taxes (62%) to fund the Annual Budget. Other sources of diversification include licenses and fees, and the water fund is used to accommodate any gaps. This is not sufficient, as we know property taxes are subject to the whims of the market- so in economic downturn, we find ourselves saddled with raising the millage rate, higher unemployment, vacant homes, and lower property values. The budget can be recession-proof by developing areas of our economy that present a balance. When employment goes down, entrepreneurship goes up. Day trading goes up. Recruiting and career advancement demand goes up. Utilities stay consistent. When we do collaborative budgeting, it is imperative that we create somewhat of a seesawing budget so as not to solely depend on raising the millage rate. We should also set a reserves minimum that is based on the performance of economic indicators such as: tax assessed property values and employment rate. We should save more when we project we will have more.

Understanding Cobb's Budget

Read About the Budget

highlighted items are suggested for review; hover to discover why

Budget Line Item Revenue Expense
Property Taxes
Penalties & Interests
Other Taxes
Licenses & Permits
Licenses & Permits cover inspections, business licenses, and other similar items. By expanding the tax base, we will find that this income source will increase.
Intergovernmental Revenues
Having strong advocates at the county level can mean opening funds for future initiatives. Through state, federal, and local lobbying, we can initiate impactful grants and influence planning decisions for better allocation of available funds.
Charges for Services
Fines & Forfeitures
Miscellaneous Revenue
Other Financing Sources
We can find licensing fees and anticipated future earnings against of county-invested intellectual property. Also, with increased transit, we will liekly have a lot of opportunity to issue bonds on behalf of the inventment. The goal is to generate more sales and use revenue before these bonds mature. There are current plans in place to decrease the debt committment from a capital project perspective.
Personnel Services
Personnel accounts for a large percentage of the income in the budget. There may be opportunities for lowering these costs if specific department services are consildated. (i.e. Sherriff & CCPD in training or emergency response)
Debt Service
Transfers Out

What to Keep in Mind

There are many departments that each maintain their own budgets and budget forecasts. Each budget indicates corresponding revenues and expenditures in the form of the categories shown above.
Budgets are set the year before based on the projected tax digest (total expected taxes).
The budget is extraordinarily lean as is and a reserve is maintained where we borrow against reserves during economic recessions.
Our operating budget is about 67% of other counties of comparable size.
Our debts are relatively low with the projected amortization (consistent payment/paydown dates) for bonds and Tax Advance Notes (TAN's), expected future tax payments.
Issued budgets do not show grants, SPLOST or Water Fund totals.

How do We Compare?

Amounts shown include general funds and non-SPLOST or utility funds. Line items differ on county budgets, so numbers may not indicate exact amounts.

Where does the Rest of the money come from? - WHAT IS A SPLOST FUND?

A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) is an optional one percent county sales tax used to fund capital outlay projects proposed by the county government and participating qualified municipal governments. In general, county and municipal governments may not use SPLOST proceeds for operating expenses or maintenance of a SPLOST project or any other county or municipal facility or service.

Cobb currently operate two separate SPLOST accounts. The Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners. The funds are operated independently by their respective boards and have separately operating oversight committees. Funds and projects from SPLOST are not normally reflected in the budget given the list (known as a SPLOST notebook) of projects have already been appropriated the projected monies.

Learn More

What to Keep in Mind

1% tax agreed by referendum
An alternative to a sales tax
An alternative to an increase in property taxes
A way to fund capital projects
Cannot be used to maintain SPLOST projects
Funding can be shared with qualifying municipalities; cities cannot levy their own tax if within a paricipating county

Primary Source of Income for the General Fund- Property Taxes

Our budget heavily relies on the tax assessor's review of all properties (inventory of real and personal property - commercial, residential, agricultural). This is referred to as our Tax Digest. We have seen a 7.24% increase over the last year lending towards a healthier budget. Our reliance (63%) on this source is, however, a point of consternation for the community, and will have a negative impact on our balancing abilities during economic recessions when the tax digest will shrink.

Today's View

Read all Homeowner exemptions

Historical View of Millage Rates

Historical Population Growth

Growth Projection Assumptions Are Not Always Accurate- Read more about Planning Barriers

Other Sources of Income

Motor Vehicle Tax

Insurance Premium Tax

Business Licenses

Revenues from CIDs

Other Taxes- alcohol, cable TV etc.

Debt Funding (tax anticipation notices- TANs - and Bonds)

Sources of Transferrable Income - Funds Operated by the County

Cobb County maintains several funds to assist in capital projects and gaps in the general fund. Reserves are the last set of funds that the Board of Commissioners will tap into.

Stadium Captial & Maintenance

Funds are provided by The Braves Stadium Company, LLC

Water Funds

Funds come from shared regional revenues and fees

Where Are the Opportunities to Grow the Tax Base?

Become More Tourist-Friendly

Adding kiosks, express lanes, shuttles, trolleys that connect visitors to the best that Cobb has to offer, and providing short-term rental spaces during peak seasons.







Industry Investments

It is imperative that we invest in these industries as they are natural aspect of Cobb's current economy and tie directly to jobs of the future.










Attract & Host More Groups

When the City of Atlanta gets too crowded, we can offer niche groups the perfect venue with a closer touch of nature than our fellow counties. By identifying, embracing, and supporting these groups, we can become their destination.




The challenges we face with our budget require us to be innovative. Finding ways to lower costs, improve services, and increase county revenue means we must survey what Cobb County has to offer and review our own processes and priorities. I am committed to not just drafting a budget that works, but one that is sustainable and accommodating for Cobb's future. If we aren't prepared to weather the ups and downs, then we are not prepared at all.

Jerica Richardson
Candidate for Cobb County Commissioner

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