Storm WATER Tax Proposal

 The Rain Tax

RAIN TAX Meetings:

Vote on March 26 at 7:00 PM at 100 Cherokee Street Marietta Square

See meetings on this site for further details 

The BOC is now proposing a new way to tax us without first developing a plan. In 2021 a mass flash flood event occurred in Cobb County that overstressed ageing assets. Most Homeowners with shared community stormwater assets running through their yards were told by Cobb County that they had to replace those failed assets. It's crucial to understand that the genesis of this new tax discussion was to address the pressing need for replacing shared community assets on residents' properties. Instead of offering a lifeline to these residents and addressing future needs, an unsettling reality is some of the Commissioners rush to implement a new tax without a comprehensive plan that outlines how funds will be allocated, ensuring that every cent is used for stormwater capital expenditures and not diverted into the general fund. What's the urgency in imposing a rain tax without a clear plan that leaves some residents in the rain?


We can all agree that the county stormwater system is in disrepair and is struggling under the weight of the demands it is under regularly. The question is why are we currently spending money meant for stormwater in the general fund, how do we pay for the repairs and upgrades that are needed and why does the proposed tax leave Cobb residents still having to pay for repairs to the system while the county reaps a windfall? 


Initially, the residential fee was going to be a flat fee but now Cobb County wants to hire a consultant to take meticulous measurements of your house, your driveway, sidewalks, patios, and outbuildings to extract every cent they can from you! Some  BOC members propose "A stormwater management fee based on  the amount of impervious surface area (rooftops, pavement, etc) ensures the properties that generate more stormwater runoff volume pay for their share of impact to the stormwater system." 

This would impact every property owner in some way...your home, your church, your business, etc. Keep in mind that most commercial projects and residential subdivisions for the last 20 years have already complied with all applicable building codes that addressed their particular stormwater impact which required them to build stormwater detention ponds that would control the runoff flow from their added impervious surfaces. This fee will never go away and will likely rise sharply through the years.


We think there is a better way to pay for this that makes more sense for our taxpayers and existing property owners. The future impact on the stormwater system should be paid for by the folks that add stress to that system...the developers. In most places in the country, it is commonplace for developers to be charged Impact Fees for the impact that their developments cause on existing systems, not just stormwater, but traffic, parks, water systems, etc. The BOC will say that developers may choose to build elsewhere rather than build here due to the additional fees. Since this is very common nationally, we seriously doubt that would be a reality. Builders and developers go where the markets take them and they would pass those fees on in their sales prices.


Either way, we want to make certain that those fees are not intermingled with the General Fund. This money must be specifically used only for stormwater capital expenditures. Whatever way this is funded, this must be accomplished in a way that is completely transparent and auditable and not simply a new rain tax!

Your voice is pivotal in shaping the future of stormwater management in Cobb County. Let's stand together to demand fairness, transparency, and a concrete plan that addresses the concerns of homeowners and holds developers accountable for their impact on our community not tax residents for those impacts.

Cobb County Storm Water Handout