The Weather Channel Looking For Some Gravy Too

December 10, 2013 14:11 pm

by Nathan · 9 comments

With the Cobb County Commission voting to proceed forward with plans on building the future home of the Atlanta Braves, The Weather Channel (based in Cobb County) is looking to sop up some of that gravy too according to the Marietta Daily Journal:

Its planned expansion is valued at $90 million, Mathis said in emails obtained by the MDJ. Shirley Powell, executive vice president, said The Weather Channel would not comment and that anything the MDJ reported at this point would be “speculation.”

The negotiations are ongoing and one of the sticking points could be a parking facility for the expanded Weather Channel offices.

“To be honest with you, (off the record) none of these discussions have really provided us with any type compelling incentives for us to stay in Cobb County. I am just being honest here,” Angell wrote to Mathis in an email. “Our senior management feels that they would be making a significant investment to stay here and as far as I know, The Weather Channel has never historically asked for any incentives from Cobb County. The property tax abatement is also not a compelling incentive at the current amount, and in fact would cost us to pursue that option. Nobody has focused on any incentives for a parking build, which is our most current challenge to solve.”

It’s speculation for now, but the talk flying around is that the Weather Channel is dangling the possibility of moving out of the area if they are unable to get satisfactory tax breaks/economic incentives. Heck, it’s possible the state may throw a few bucks their way. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before we hear that gravy train pulling into the station for the Weather Channel.

Jason Pye (@jaseliberty) December 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm

The problem with taxpayer-funded handouts for one corporation is that others will also want part of the pie. http://t.co/xw8VTuP2Ts

View from Brookhaven December 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Heard there’s some real estate off Capitol Ave that might come available.

benevolus December 10, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Zing!

bgsmallz December 10, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Competition is only good if it doesn’t cost me anything. – Fake Adam Smith

Thomas Adams (@GeorgiaCRE) December 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm

The Weather Channel Looking For Some Gravy Too – With the Cobb County Commission voting to proceed forward with pl… http://t.co/hXoFWIT37t

saltycracker December 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm

It is accepted procedure to negotiate one off tax incentives in the name of economic development. It takes money, time, committees and staff to dole out this money and insure future political appreciation. Corporations know how to play one jurisdiction against another, developers have pioneered this in zoning for decades.

Georgia can show it is business friendly by making macro changes in many ways from property taxes to income taxes but that would rob our legislators of influences and direct support.

Example of how not: Creating economic opportunity zones for GM to house high tech workers in affluent Roswell ($3 mil@yr of taxpayer monies) is wrong and Beach reminds us all the time how much we should appreciate his effort.

No problem with programs that are open door such as industrial/non-retail commercial areas to be developed/re-developed or industries we are attracting, but one off schemes, nah.

Schmidt December 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm

In case you’re interested in more about the Weather Channel negotiations, here are the emails I received from the Open Records Requests.

http://www.kevinmschmidt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Weather-Channel-Deal.pdf
(note: if you use them, all I ask is an acknowledgement)

I’d be happy to help walk anyone through these records or any of the questions they bring up.

Questions:
1. Would any small or less connected business get the same attention from the Cobb Chamber or the Cobb County government (notice how some of the emails have subject line “All Hands on Deck.”)
2. Is the Cobb Chamber leading all negotiations on behalf of the Cobb County government (on this and the Braves)? Why are we outsourcing the control of tax incentives and subsidies to private citizens who are not accountable to the voters?
3. Page 5 of the records show that Brooks Mathis told The Weather Channel that the county would pay for a traffic study. None of the other emails I’ve received show a County Commissioner or government employee giving that permission to Mr. Mathis. What authority does he have to tell TWC that taxpayers will pay for a traffic study for them?

If you’re interest in other emails I got from the request, you can find them here:

http://www.kevinmschmidt.com/2013/12/open-records-request-to-cobb-county-regarding-the-atlanta-braves-stadium-deal/

MattMD December 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm

So what is the TWC’s economic impact on Cumberland/Cobb?

The MDJ article lists how they want a code variance for an “electronic sign wrapping the building”. What makes them so special to the point where they don’t have to abide by county codes?

Jon Lester December 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I think public monies would be better spent restoring some of the cuts in recent years to the National Weather Service. The Weather Channel is profitable enough (and uses a lot of that public data, anyway); besides, don’t you have to know someone on the commission to get a deal?

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