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
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.
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 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
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
Greater relationship with daily activities and community service
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
- Music Production
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.
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.
What Investments are Associated with the Upgrade?
Secure partnerhsip with Chamber & SBA
Partnership with Cobb County School Board
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Currently Adopted Sustainable Measures
New Construction over 5,000 square feet: All new construction 5,000 square feet or greater shall be designed and built to achieve LEED™ certification. County staff shall recommend to the Board of Commissioners which level of LEED certification is appropriate for the particular project based on sustainability and life cycle cost analysis. Where LEED certification is not fiscally justified per this Policy, the project design and construction shall include as many measures as possible based on LEED requirements.Read More
All new facilities intended for community use shall have bicycle racks available for public and employee use. Community facilities shall be defined by the County Manager. The following are examples of community facilities to be considered: Libraries, Parks, Recreation Centers, Community Centers, Aquatic Centers, and Transit Park and Ride lots. Additionally, lockers and shower facilities for public and employee use should be considered for new facilities where appropriate.Read More
Energy Conserving Appliances and Office Equipment: EnergyStar is a labeling program derived from a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). All products displaying the EnergyStar label meet Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) standards.Read More
Conserving Energy - Heating and Air Conditioning: Whenever possible, temperature setting for building heating and air conditioning shall be re-set for energy conservation during periods when the building is unoccupied, including nights, weekends and holidays.Read More
The County recognizes the importance of appropriate landscape practices for the protection of our water supply and our properties, and for the enjoyment of these resources by our citizens.Read More
Cobb County appreciates the benefits of operating the most functional, fuel efficient and least polluting fleet available to support county operations, while at the same time being fiscally prudent in vehicle purchase and operational costs. It is important to regularly evaluate the size and make-up of the fleet to ensure it is efficiently supporting county operations. It is recognized that transition to alternative fuels and hybrid or other “clean” vehicles are options for achieving theses goals.Read More
Cobb County Fleet Management has previously required all drivers of county equipment to acknowledge they have read and will abide by the County’s fueling policy, which provides that “no unattended vehicles be left idling at any time (except for emergency public safety vehicles)”. Fleet Management also has a policy of minimizing idling of vehicles and equipment at their repair facilities.Read More
Environmental education is essential in encouraging the protection and preservation of our environment and natural resources. The Green Schools Program will have a two-fold objective. First is to insert the environmental curriculum created by the 4 program coordinators into Cobb County Schools. The second objective is to acknowledge innovative environmental curriculum in the schools, which focuses on species protection, environmental stewardship, community beautification, and conservation of natural resources. It is difficult in the current test-centered environment for teachers to justify environmental programming and activities such as school-wide recycling, and comprehensive water conservation programs. The Green Schools Program is designed to create an incentive and resource center to develop and promote these stewardship activities.Read More
What are some policies we can enact to make a difference?
Proposes new codes and ordinances for a changing environment. Serves as the point of contact for EPA and other environmental organzations.
An annual award presented by the Board of Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce that acknowledges business owners, inventors, and commercially zoned land owners for outstanding efforts to curbing climate change.
A tax credit for purchasing products that are sustainable or reusable.
Requires new contruction to include greenspace in the perimeter (top, around, etc.
Ensuring that we are enforcing assigned codes that impact the environment
Partnership with Kennesaw State University for climate and environmental studies, assessments, inventions, and pilots.
Ensuring that different communities are equipped with tools and information about recycling and choices that can help them become more sustainable.
Collaborating with the CObb County School Board to develop a DARE-like program that can be administered with volunteers.
Whenever a company violates a code or presents a hazard in the community either intentionally or unintentionally, they are immediately accountable for rectifying the issue and notifying county leadership. If the company attempts to hide or distort the facts, there will be zero-tolerace for their presence in the community.
For companies and developers looking to incorporate a new sustainability or environmentally-friendly practice or technology, we can make grants avaiable that can help them achieve their plans.
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.
Recycling Kiosks in Parks and Tourist Areas
Real Time Data on Air, Water, & Soil Quality
Piezoelectric Biking Paths & Roads
Storing Heat for the Winter
Snapshot of Our Non-Profit Sector
Number of Trackable Non-Profits
($K) Amount Previously Given to NonProfits
Number of Recipients of County Funds
(%) Average ROI on Grant Funding
(K) Impact Reach
Number of Departments Benefitting from Recipient Collaboration
The Board of Commissioners and Non-Profits
Without supplemental academic opportunities, financial literacy, and mental health programs, the county incurs additional costs around employment deficits, unrecovered tax revenue, increased liabilities with administering public safety, and future economic decline. Simply put, investing in such programs is an invetsment in our future.
Partnering with non-profits in a sensible way allows the county to subsidize government services in the budget by leveraging programs specifically established to provide each service. I am committed to expanding guidelines, rules, and RFPs, for non-profits that look to receive or are receiving county funds, and treat and monitor non profit funding comparably with vendor management expectations.
Non-profits specialize in areas of expertise, and are many times on the cutting edge with regards to research on psychology and programming. It benefits our professionals to strengthen the relationship between these groups to formalize and establish ongoing training and career advancement opportunities so that we can further invest in our county employees. Such training sessions can also be beneficial to residents when understanding the county's protocol improvement, and can serve as recruitment ground for later succession planning.
Snapshot of Our Budget
($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
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.
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.
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.