January 30, 2023

Sep. 23—Outstanding debts on Cobb's two county-owned parking decks in downtown Marietta could be paid off next week.
Closing out the debts on the two decks — one on Cherokee Street, the other on Lawrence Street next to the Superior Court building — would save some $1.1 million in interest payments, the county said.
In 2010, Cobb issued about $7.7 million worth of bonds to finance the construction of the Lawrence Street deck, which sits across the street from Marietta City Hall. At the same time, it refinanced its loans on the older Cherokee Street deck, adjacent to the county government headquarters, to the tune of roughly $2.4 million.
As of the end of September, the county had just shy of $6 million in debt outstanding on the decks.
"This is the first year the county can pay off the debt obligation, and finance will use an appropriation from the general fund to supplement what is in the parking deck fund," the county said in a newsletter this week.
An agenda item from Finance Director Bill Volckmann indicates the money would come from the county's reserves. The final amount required to pay off the debts will depend on when the county chooses to execute the repayment, which it plans to do between the end of October and the first of December.
Volckmann writes that paying off the debts could turn the parking decks cost-positive, allowing them to build up a reserve of funds which could be transferred back to the general fund. Debt payments make up roughly two-thirds of the costs associated with the decks.
The county referred questions about the operating costs of the decks to LAZ Parking, the company which operates the decks. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
In 2017, the Board of Commissioners voted to end free parking in the decks on nights and weekends, over the objections of Marietta residents and business owners. The agenda item does not mention any planned changes to the decks' fee policies.
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