Monday, November 9, 2009

Updates to TAX CREDITS for HOME and CONDO BUYERS in Smyrna

Who is Eligible
  • First-time home buyers, who are defined by the law as buyers who have not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase, may be eligible for up to an $8,000 tax credit. 
  • Existing home owners who have been residing in their principal residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight and are purchasing a home to be their principal residence (“repeat buyer”), may be eligible for up to a $6,500 tax credit. 
  • All U.S. citizens who file taxes are eligible to participate in the program. 
Income Limits
  • Home buyers who file as single or head-of-household taxpayers can claim the full credit ($8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for repeat buyers) if their modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $125,000.  
  • For married couples filing a joint return, the combined income limit is $225,000. 
  • Single or head-of-household taxpayers who earn between $125,000 and $145,000, and married couples who earn between $225,000 and $245,000 are eligible to receive a partial credit.  
  • The credit is not available for single taxpayers whose MAGI is greater than $145,000 and married couples with a MAGI that exceeds $245,000. 
Effective Dates
  • The eligibility period for the tax credit is for homes purchased after Nov. 6, 2009, and before May 1, 2010. However, home purchases subject to a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010, will qualify for the tax credit provided closing occurs prior to July 1, 2010.  
 Types of Homes that Qualify
  • All homes with a purchase price of less than $800,000 qualify, including newly-constructed or resale, and single-family detached, townhomes or condominiums, provided that the home will be used as their principal residence. Vacation home and rental property purchases do NOT qualify.   
 Tax Credit is Refundable
  • A refundable credit means that if the amount of income taxes you owe is less than the credit amount you qualify for, the government will send you a check for the difference. 
  • For example:  
    • A first-time buyer who qualifies for the full $8,000 credit who owes $5,000 in federal income taxes would pay nothing to the IRS and receive a $3,000 payment from the government. If you are due to receive a $1,000 refund, you would receive $9,000 ($1,000 plus the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit).  
    • A repeat buyer who owes $5,000 would pay nothing to the IRS and receive $1,500 back from the government. If you are due to get a $1,000 refund, you would get $7,500 ($1,000 plus the $6,500 repeat buyer tax credit). 
  • All qualified home buyers can take the tax credit on their 2009 or 2010 income tax return. 
Payback Provisions
  • The tax credit is a true credit. It does not have to be repaid unless the home owner sells or stops using the home as their principal residence within three years after the purchase.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Change your batteries when you change your clock


Change your batteries when you change your clock
tv23Cobb Fire and Emergency Services is encouraging residents to change their smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries when they change their clocks back for daylight savings time on Sunday, Nov. 1. The Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery campaign aims to remind people of the importance of changing batteries in these life-saving devices. Prevention is key and working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half. Two-thirds of deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms. Residents are also reminded that smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years and tested once a month to ensure they are working. For more information, including simple home safety tips, visit cobbfire.org.

The Home Buyer Market... A difference a 1 year makes

ONE YEAR AGO…
It started with a trickle of failed sub prime loans and without warning, the dam broke unleashing a torrent of failed mortgages and foreclosures. Last year at this time, the mortgage markets were frozen, housing values were plummeting, the stock market was in free fall, Lehman Brothers crashed and burned, and the financial infrastructure of the United States was teetering on the brink of collapse. Foreclosures, bank failures, 401-K’s turned to 201-K’s, and the impending Great Depression was the story of the day.
What a Difference a Year Makes! “The Cavalry Arrived.”
TARP (Trouble Asset Relief Program) is a $700 Billion relief initiative that was supposed to purchase bad loans in order to keep the banks liquid. It was soon determined that this was a bad use of the funds because the banks didn’t like being told what to do. So eventually we got around to using the money to make a market of cheap money so that everybody could refinance or purchase with a very affordable house payment; we went to Main Street with Main Street’s money (the taxes we pay). Imagine that! And… it’s working. 201-K’s are back to 301-K’s, the stock market has regained some strength, the housing market is stabilizing, and Bernie Madoff and a bunch of others are in jail.
What’s Next?
The Good News- The Home Buyer Credit of $8000 will most likely be extended until June. Thus far the Credit has caused a demand for houses priced up to $250,000. Make no mistake, The Home Buyer Credit is providing the impetus for the sudden surge in sales.
The Challenge- Many people are waiting to sell, and then buy, when values go back to the peak. Tell them, “If you can wait until 2023, go ahead.”
The Reality- The window of opportunity is narrowing. The Home Buyer credit will end, mortgage rates will rise, and home selection will dwindle. People are scared to act so it is our job to provide them knowledge that will help them. Perhaps getting one of our job loss insurance policies will do the trick…

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams - Help Is Free!

Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams - Help Is Free!
  • Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan.
  • Scam artists often target homeowners who are struggling to meet their mortgage commitment or anxious to sell their homes. Recognize and avoid common scams.     
  • Assistance from a HUD-approved housing counselor is FREE.
  • Beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately, or who try to convince you that they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house.
  • Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
  • Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pictures from Tea party in DC


In case you haven't seen this event on your local channels.
 
_MG_0198
This is the first great conservative anti-statist manifestation in American history. The conservative movement, which developed in the post-WWII, Cold War environment has now fully matured into the most significant political movement of the 21st century. I believe that this day could be referred to in the not too distant future as the day that changed America . This was the day the great silent conservative majority finally found its voice.
Many of the attendees were quite meek and timid and were unsure of exactly what to expect, this being the first time in their lives they’d been involved in a protest movement. Their fears evaporated early in the day and I saw people reveling in the camaraderie , the joy and sheer civility that was exhibited at the entire event. Chants of “Freedom, freedom, freedom”, “No more czars! No more czars!” carried through the air without the slightest hint of rancor or incivility which is the norm at the leftist rallies I have photographed over the years.
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The two photos above show a tiny fraction of the two million ABC estimates attended. I saw signs and heard lots of comments comparing this event to Woodstock .. At the time this photo was taken, around 1:00 p.m., Pennsylvania Avenue was still jammed completely, and the mall was packed from the Capitol Building past the Washington Monument . See aerial photos here.
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Protesters came from every state in the union. This man came from San Antonio , TX . He said that he was really sorry he hadn’t brought his family. He stated that being a black conservative he was afraid to expose his children to what he expected would be a lot of liberal abuse. He was thrilled with the tenor of the event and the fact that no liberals were present to harass him. He spoke about how incredibly intolerant the left is to black individuals who don’t bow to the party line.
_MG_0239x
These Ohioans took a day off their rodeo bullriding schedule. They said they’ll be back at it tomorrow.
Mike Pence (R-Indiana) was one of the speakers who addressed the crowd: “After years of fighting runaway government on this hill, you people look like the cavalry to me..I believe we are on the verge of a great American awakening.”_MG_0094x
San Diego radio host Mason Weaver said from the podium: “I came here because I thought you might want to hear a black man speak without a teleprompter…This government is trying to make a nation of dependent people. Americans have always been independent people…This is not a Republican thing, it’s not a Democrat thing. It’s not a black thing or a white thing. It’s an American thing…We the people are telling them ‘No more! We’ve had enough!”

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In the very center of the photo, above the Silence is Consent – Can You Hear Us Now sign, you can see Pennsylvania Ave. , which at this time is totally blocked with protesters who cannot move forward to the Capitol area. Sorry, full up.

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There were notable differences though, in the behavior of these attendees. Although the legend of Woodstock is that there was a friendly atmosphere of camaraderie, the truth is that most people were there for the drugs, sex and rock and roll. Today in D.C. there was a true kinship amongst these people based on shared values and intellectual understanding of what America is and how its future is imperiled by big radical government.
No one was having sex in the Reflecting Pool let alone the mud, and I saw no one projectile vomiting on the steps of the Capitol. There were no warnings to avoid the bad acid which would send you on a trip to the hospital. Not just a different era, but a different level of civilized behavior and thought. Oh, and by the way, these people didn’t leave tons of garbage behind when they left. Actually they left no trash behind at all.
_MG_0096x 
Obama Lied, Capitalism Died.
_MG_0101
We are the mob!
_MG_0007
 
_MG_0160x   Support Class Envy! Redistribute Wealth.
_MG_0284x Madam Speaker: Kiss Our Astroturf!
_MG_0124   The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Obama Himself     – - –    Compassion is Voluntary, Not Compulsory!
_MG_0158x
WALNUT – Workers Against Lazy Non-Producers United Together — the conservative answer to ACORN. Didn’t have to ask them if they were receiving any taxpayer money like radical left-wing ACORN. Different DNA!
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Proud members of the “Angry Mob” and they’re armed with their votes.
_MG_0059
 
_MG_0230  Your wallet…the only place Democrats are willing to drill!  – Don’t share my wealth – share my work ethic!
_MG_0010  Right-wing extremist armed with the constitution.
_MG_0109x
Who are the commie czars?
_MG_0084x
_MG_0067x
Marxism – the opiate of the asses – Posters from the Peoples Cube are proliferating amongst protesters.
_MG_0038
Stop Making Profit! — Report all Capitalist Activities to flag@whitehouse.gov
_MG_0025
World’s #1 Crypto-Marxist. Endorsed by Fidel Castro: The most powerful progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency.” – GRANMA, Havana , May 26, 2008
_MG_0222
Nancy Pelosi has accused patriotic tea-partyers of “carrying swastikas” implying that they are Nazi sympathizers. This event was wall to wall hammers and sickles and words like “socialist” “communist” and “Marxist” etc. It continues to fascinate me how long the Democrats will tolerate this without ever commenting on it. Either they like it, or there’s something to it. 
_MG_0298
Ever present at Tea Parties are Sons of Liberty reenactors. The couple on the left is from Tennessee and the young lady on the right is not but she joined in the photo. The clothing for the couple was hand stitched by the lady on the left.

Is it true? Housing Market at 16 month high

The Housing Market Index Reaches A 16-Month High

NAHB Housing Market Index September 2009According to home builders around the country, the housing market is looking good.
Each month, the National Association of Home Builders releases its Housing Market Index report, a survey meant to "take the pulse of the single-family housing market".
Respondents report on three facets of their business, each series weighted and averaged:
  1. How are market conditions today?
  2. How do market conditions look 6 months from now?
  3. How is the traffic of prospective buyers of new homes?
For the 3rd straight month, the Housing Market Index improved.  It's now at its highest level since May 2008.
The housing market has shown signs of life since March.  Both Existing Home Sales and New Homes Sales have soared and home values are up in a lot of towns.  Builders showing confidence is another positive signal.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the recession is "very likely over" and strong housing data corroborates that statement. 
As the economy strengthens and housing does, too, home sellers will start to regain the upper-hand in contract negotiations.  If you're an active home buyer, therefore, and looking for "a deal", be aware that time is close to running out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Need help on your mortgage loan?

Payment Counseling

If you’re having financial difficulty, we’ll work with you to find a solution. But we can’t help you if we can’t reach you. Did you know that a significant percentage of foreclosures occur because the mortgage company has no contact with the borrower? Please don’t let that happen to you.

Call our team today to discuss the best solution for your situation. Our Loss Mitigation Team is available to assist you Monday through Friday 9 a.m. / 9 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m. / 1 p.m. (Central Time), at 
770-792-7979 Ext 107

You may also contact a HUD approved counseling agent by calling 1-800-569-4287 if you wish to seek additional options that may be available to you.

Possible Solutions

If you wish to pursue a workout alternative, you need to be prepared to present a full financial package to CCMI  that includes completing the financial package form.  You must also include your 3 most recent bank statements, 2 most recent pay stubs, most recent W-2 and tax return, and a hardship letter explaining your situation.  You may then contact our office to discuss these workout options, you may email your completed form, or you may fax it directly to our Loss Mitigation department at 404-671-9565.  Once the financial package is received, one of our specialists will contact you within 24 hours to put a plan in place that will alleviate this stressful situation.  There are several ways to resolve difficult financial situations, and RCS specializes in working with customers to meet their financial goals.

If you have past due payments or are facing foreclosure, our Loss Mitigation Department may be able to qualify you for one of the options listed below.

Repayment Plan/Special Forbearance—If you don’t have sufficient income to pay the entire past due amount at one time, this plan allows you to make payments toward the delinquency and helps you catch up.

Loan Modification—Please call our Loss Mitigation Team for more information on this plan, which would modify your existing loan and payment amounts.

Short Refinance—If you qualify for a loan with another lender, we may be able to accept the proceeds from a refinance, even if they are less than what you owe.

Short Sale—If you would consider selling your property but don’t feel the proceeds would be enough to pay off the loan in full, we still may be able to work with you. In fact, we may be able to pre-qualify you for a short sale through our network of professionals.

Deed In Lieu—If you are unable to sell the property and it is free of other liens, we may be able to accept the deed to your property instead of foreclosure, which would reduce the negative impact to your credit.

Meet the Loss Mitigation Team:

Our Loss Mitigation Team is here to help you. Our team is a group of individuals who are:
  • Experienced Negotiators—Each team member typically has between 3 to 5 years experience working with borrowers facing financial difficulties.
  • Empowered—The members work out issues with the borrower and make innovative recommendations directly. They’re not just ‘order takers’ who pass along requests to others; they’re able to offer resolutions.
  • Compassionate—Our members know the importance of home ownership and want to help our borrowers get through their difficulties as successful as possible. They treat each customer with respect and empathy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

SPLOST update from COBB County



September 2009



Cobb voters approved the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) in 2005 to fund important transportation and public safety projects. Since then, significant progress has been made in many areas, including the jail expansion, new courthouse project and transportation improvements.


TRANSPORTATION

With the Cobb Department of Transportation SPLOST program ahead of the original schedule and on track for completion within eight years, continuous improvements to Cobb County’s transportation system steadily move along. As of July, 249 of the 260 transportation projects were underway or completed. Of these projects, 174 have started the right-of-way acquisition phase, 128 were completed and 182 have initiated construction – including the following:
  • 21 school zone improvement projects valued at $5.4 million
  • 34 bridge rehabilitation and replacement projects valued at $18.3 million
  • 35 intersection safety and operational improvements valued at $20.3 million
  • 27 thoroughfare and roadway safety improvement projects valued at $77.3 million
  • 254 miles of road resurfacing valued at $27.9 million
Project Focus

Summer Closures
With a lot of hard work from DOT contractors, all summer road closures that were scheduled to be closed during the summer have re-opened prior to the start of the new school year. These projects included:
  • Allgood Road Safety and Operational Improvements – Hillcut
  • Cheatham Hill Road over Ward Creek – Bridge replacement
  • Hamby Road over Clark Creek – Bridge replacement with a culvert
  • Hiram-Lithia Springs Road Bridge – Bridge replacement
  • Holly Springs Road over Sewell Creek Tributary – Bridge replacement with a culvert
  • Maran Lane – Road realignment
  • Midway Road Bridge over Allatoona Creek Tributary – Bridge replacement
  • Mt. Calvary Road Bridge over Noses Creek – Bridge replacement
  • Post Oak Tritt over Sewell Creek Tributary – Bridge replacement
  • Smyrna-Powder Springs Road over Favor Creek – Bridge replacement
A number of projects were scheduled to be open later in the school year due to additional construction time needed. These projects and the current anticipated opening dates are noted below:
  • Holland Road Hillcut: Currently closed and scheduled for October 2009 opening
  • North Church Lane Bridge Replacement: Currently closed and scheduled for early 2010 opening
  • Old Hwy 41 Bridge over CSX Railroad: Will close late summer or early fall with an estimated closure of 6 months
  • Perkerson Mill at Flint Hill Road: Currently closed and scheduled for Aug. 31 opening
  • Sewell Mill Road Bridge over Sewell Creek: Will close September and scheduled for spring 2010 opening
When the closure is slated to occur, a specific detour map and time period will be made available at the DOT website under Road Reports. If you have any questions or concerns about these closures, please call DOT construction at 770-528-1653.

Hiram Lithia Springs Safety and Operational Improvements
Hiram-Lithia Springs Road is in need of significant safety and operational improvements throughout the length of the corridor (defined as Powder-Springs-Dallas Road to Humphries Hill Road). A number of intersections were selected for improvement as part of the project after careful evaluation of crash data and known deficiencies. Improvements at the following intersections are noted below:
  • Sullivan Road – add Northbound left-turn lane off mainline, improvements to the sight distance
  • Sweetsprings Drive/Meadows Road – add left-turn lanes and right-turn on mainline, improve turning safety on sidestreets
  • Lewis Road – improve sight distance on side street with removal of trees and shrubbery
  • Brown Road – intersection improvement through addition of northbound left-turn lane and right-turn lane southbound
  • Defoors Farm Drive – extend and widen left-turn lane and improve safety on curved sections of road
  • Garrett Springs Drive - improve sight distance on side street with removal of trees and shrubbery
The Hiram Lithia Springs project improvements are expected to begin construction in fall 2009.


Noonday Creek Trail
The Noonday Creek Trail is a culmination of efforts between the Town Center Area Community Improvement District, Cobb County and the National Park Service. This trail will connect to the existing Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park trail system and the proposed West Cobb Trail, planned to be constructed adjacent to Barrett Parkway between Dallas Highway/SR 120 and Cobb Parkway/US 41.

The proposed trail will run from the National Park on Old Highway 41 to Barrett Parkway, will join the West Cobb Trail along Barrett Parkway, run down Cobb Parkway to Vaughan Road and run down portions of Vaughan Road and Cobb Place Boulevard to Barrett Lakes Boulevard. The trail will run down Barrett Lakes Boulevard to Noonday Creek, and then follow Noonday Creek to Bells Ferry Road.

Additional plans are in place to add trailheads and parking throughout the trail corridor. Future phases of the trail will also connect to Noonday Park and points northward toward and into Cherokee county.

One section of the trail is currently under construction north of Barrett Parkway and east of Cobb Parkway. Additional construction projects will be added over the next couple of years.

Smyrna-Powder Springs Road
Smyrna-Powder Springs Road/Benson Poole Road, from Hicks Road to Windy Hill Road, is a project that includes the replacement of two bridges (Favor and Nickajack Creeks), roadway geometric improvements, sidewalk and curb and gutter. Recently, Smyrna-Powder Springs Road was closed due to the construction of the first bridge over Favor Creek. The roadway reopened on Aug. 4, however a second closure is planned on May 22. The roadway should be reopened before the start of the 2010 school year. This closure will include reconstructing the bridge over Nickajack Creek and realigning the intersection of Smyrna-Powder Springs Road and Benson Poole. Construction will continue on this project through August 2010.


Currently Under Construction

DOT currently has approximately 30 major projects in design with more than 50 projects planned to bid during 2009. Three projects under construction are highlighted below:


Allgood Road

This project was designed to add sidewalk, curb and gutter, widening and turn lanes throughout the project limits (Scufflegrit Road to East . Piedmont Road). The roadway was closed for the summer and reopened prior to school starting back. This closure was necessary to construct a large hill cut in the vicinity of Rockcrest Drive. Construction on this project is expected to be completed in May 2010.




Due West Intersection
Due West Family of Intersections: Burnt Hickory / Due West Intersection, Due West Road @ Old Hamilton Road, Kennesaw Due West Road @ Acworth Due West Road and Due West Road Bicycle Improvements - Due to their close proximity, these four projects have been combined into one and will provide significant improvements to this segment of roadway. Burnt Hickory Road will be relocated to lineup with Old Hamilton Road at a new intersection on Due West Road. Due West Road will be widened from Old Hamilton Road to Burnt Hickory Road (west leg). This project will also use a portion of the bicycle improvements money to provide a connection between the east leg of Burnt Hickory Road to the west leg of Burnt Hickory on Due West Road. This project is anticipated to complete construction in the winter.

Planning Updates

Public Meetings Scheduled for the Cobb County Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Plan ( View Flyer)

DOT is completing a 15-month planning project – the Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Plan – that will identify where Cobb County can improve conditions for bicycling and walking and identify a strategy for investing in those improvements over time.

Bicycle and pedestrian facilities include shared use pathways (like the Silver Comet Trail), on-street bike lanes and shoulders, sidewalks, and improvement to make crossing the street safer. Please come to one of three public open houses around the county 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 15, 16 and 17.

For more information, please contact Cobb DOT Planning Division at 770-528-1629 or email at planning@cobbcounty.org.

Projects on the Horizon

Mars Hill Road/Lost Mountain Road Intersections
There are eight intersection improvement projects and one school improvement project along Lost Mountain Road/Mars Hill Road either under construction or will be under construction by the end of the year. Corner Road at Lost Mountain Road, Hadaway Road at Mars Hill Road and Mars Hill Church Road at Mars Hill Road were let to construction by the Georgia Department of Transportation on July 17. These projects were paid for with Federal Stimulus funds provided to the County.

The five projects that are funded by Cobb County 2005 SPLOST dollars along Mars Hill Road are Nichols Road, Due West Road, Burnt Hickory Road, County Line Road/Old Stilesboro Road, Frey Elementary/Durham Middle Schools and Giles Road/Hill Road.

Intersection improvements along Lost Mountain Road/Mars Hill Road are as follows:
  • Corner Road – add right and left-turns at all legs of the intersection, upgrade signal
  • Hadaway Road - add right and left-turns at all legs of the intersection, upgrade signal
  • Mars Hill Church Road – add right and left-turns at all legs of the intersection, realignment of sidestreet to a 90 degree intersection
  • Nichols Road – add a right turn lane on Nichols Road and a left-turn lane on Mars Hill Road
  • Due West Road – add left turn lanes on Due West Road at approaches to Mars Hill Road
  • Burnt Hickory Road – hill cut to improve sight distance on sidestreet, right and left turning lanes to be added on all approaches to the intersection
  • County Line Road-Old Stilesboro Road/Durham Middle School-Frey Elementary School/Giles Road-Hill Road –right and left-turn lanes added at most approaches to intersections with a center turn lane throughout project limits, new signal at County Line-Old Stilesboro, Old Stilesboro Road hill cut to improve sight distance, sidewalk and handicap accessible ramps added at the school entrance, Mars Hill Road will be lowered several feet at Giles Road/Hill Road to improve sight distance
Big Shanty Projects

Big Shanty Extension Phase I
Final construction plans and property acquisition are scheduled to be completed this month for the Big Shanty Phase I project which will connect George Busbee Parkway at Big Shanty Road with Barrett Lakes Boulevard by taking the roadway under Interstate 75. The new road will be a four-lane divided roadway with a 10-foot-wide multi-use trail. This project is anticipated to let to construction in November with an expected construction duration of 24 months.

Big Shanty Extension Phase II
Final construction plan development and property acquisition are ongoing for Big Shanty Phase II which will connect the western end of Phase I of the extension at Barrett Lakes Boulevard to the intersection of Big Shanty Road and Chastain Road. This will be a four-lane divided roadway. It is anticipated the project will be let to construction in early 2010 after Phase I begins construction with an expected construction duration of 24 months.

Big Shanty Extension Phase III
Bids were received on July 23, 2009 for construction of this project. Construction is anticipated to begin in September with construction being complete in approximately 11 months. The project will consist of a four-lane divided roadway connecting Chastain Meadows Boulevard to the intersection of the eastern end of Phase I and George Busbee Parkway. The project approximately follows the existing alignment of Big Shanty Road with minor relocations to improve horizontal and vertical alignment.



Information relating to SPLOST transportation projects is updated regularly at www.cobbcip.org. If you have questions or comments regarding transportation projects, please contact Cobb DOT at cobbdot@cobbcounty.org or 770-528-1621. The next SPLOST transportation e-newsletter will be available in November with a look ahead to the New Year.



JUDICIAL

Courthouse

Work continues on the new courthouse, which will combine all of the county’s court services on one campus and allow Juvenile Court to move to downtown Marietta. The stormwater drainage creek has been completely piped and is now run underground. Also, all storm sewer and sanitary sewer underground utilities have been installed and tested. The building’s retaining walls have been formed and poured and water, sewer and electric devices have been placed in the basement and first floor. The basement concrete slab has been poured and the first third of the first floor’s concrete has been poured. Turner Construction continues work on the project and the courthouse should be open for business in spring 2011.


PUBLIC SAFETY

Jail

The $110 million expansion of the Cobb County Adult Detention Center continues on time and within budget. Construction of the Visitor and Administrative Buildings has been completed. With the opening of the Visitor Building earlier this year, the video visitation and bonding functions were relocated to the new facility. The construction of the Housing Tower is nearing completion with the interior work expected to be done before the end of the year. Renovation and expansion of the laundry area has been completed and renovation and expansion of the kitchen area is underway. The Housing Tower is expected to be in operation during the first quarter of 2010. When finished, the jail expansion will add more than 320,000 square feet and 1,152 beds to the Detention Complex bringing its capacity to 3,077 inmates.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

College Colors Day fanfest this SAT in Smyrna 2-10pm

We hope to see you there and some new things going on at the event:
College Mascots: Pounce (GA State), Buzz (GA Tech) &Scrappy (Kennesaw State)UGA CheerleadersBook signing by Loren Smith & Jack WilkinsonMost spirited kid & Alumni group contest SEC RULES!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home Prices Keep Rising, Rising, Rising

Home Prices Keep Rising, Rising, Rising

Case-Shiller June 2009

18 of 20 markets tracked by the Case-Shiller Index showed rising home values in June. It's the 5th consecutive month with strong numbers and the best showing for the benchmark housing index since home values began deflating in 2006.

Some would argue it's a sign that housing has finally bottomed out. Even Case-Shiller representatives acknowledge that home prices are "on an upswing".

Despite the Case-Shiller Index's popularity with economists and the press, though, it's falls short of being a perfect housing indicator. As examples:

  1. Its data is reported with a 2-month lag
  2. Its sample set includes just 20 U.S. cities
  3. Real estate isn't a "national" market -- it's local

Nevertheless, flaws aside, Case-Shiller is still important. It helps identify broader trends in housing and many people believe the housing is the keystone of the economy right now.

This is why June's Case-Shiller Index gives cause for hope. The nascent housing recovery has a long road ahead but June's Case-Shiller data shows that we're heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

3 Great Locally Owned Restaurants 3 Great Deals

3 Great Locally Owned Restaurants 3 Great Deals

Greetings!
We are always trying to help our readers save some money. These deals are not valid with ANY other promotions - yes that means DiningPerks not allowed. Forward to your friends! Just tear out the coupon and present when paying the bill. Charlie Mopps is in Sandy Springs and is offering 1/2 price lunches to diners this Thursday and Friday. Check out their web site -

El Azteca
Buy 1 Get 1 Free

Buckhead, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Haynes Br.
Order any combination #1-#15 and get second one free
Sun- Thursday Only
Mosaic American
Buy 1 Get 1 Free
Lunch or Dinner Buy 1 Entree get the 2nd one of equal of lessor value free
Coco Loco
Buy 1 Get 1 Free
Lunch or Dinner Buy 1 Entree get the 2nd of equal or lessor value free
Remember to forward to your friends, use more than once -
Sincerely,
Joe & Stacey
Atlanta Dining
770-598-8911

Buy 1 Get 1 Free
El Azteca Dunwoody, Buckhead, Alpharetta Hwy 9, Haynes Bridge Rd

Buy one Combination #1 - #15 and get the 2nd one of equal or lesser value free!
Sun-Thurs Only



Offer Expires: 8/31/2009
Mosaic American
Buy 1 get 1 Free - Lunch or dinner - any entree - Buy 1 get the second of equal or lesser value free!
Offer Expires: 8/31/2009
Coco Loco Buy 1 Get 1 Free
Lunch or Dinner - Buy one entree get the second one of equal or lesser value free!
Offer Expires: 8/31/2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

A look ahead Mortgage Rates This Week : August 24, 2009

A look ahead Mortgage Rates This Week : August 24, 2009

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 24, 2009

Posted: 24 Aug 2009 07:45 AM PDT

Mortgage rates are riding a roller coasterMortgage markets finished the week unchanged last week but don't let that make you think the markets were flat. It was a bumpy five days and rates were volatile.

Friday was the worst day of the week by far.

An all-day deterioration, sparked by better-than-expected housing data, caused mortgage rates to tack on a quarter-percent by the noon hour and markets never recovered.

Rates closed out at their worst levels of the week and the unfavorable momentum figures to carry into this week's trading, too.

There are two major reasons why rates could rise higher this week:

  1. Fed Chairman Bernanke said Friday that the near-term growth prospects "appear good". Comments like this draw money from bond issues to the stock market -- a move that's bad for rates.
  2. Crude oil hit a 10-month high, a potentially inflationary development. Inflation often leads mortgage rates higher.

Furthermore, rate shoppers should take note that this week will feature the release of two key housing reports -- the Case-Shiller Index (Tuesday) and the New Homes Sales report (Wednesday). Both have handily beat expectations in recent months and should that trend continues, mortgage rates would likely rise because of renewed economic optimism.

What's good for the economy, lately, has tended to be bad for rates.

Whether you're shopping for a new home or looking to refinance an existing one, be wary of the ever-changing mortgage market. Rates move quickly and without warning. However, they tend to rise faster than they fall.

If you know you will need a rate lock this week or next, consider locking in at the first sign of trouble. Once rates spike, they likely won't be so quick to fall. see us ATLloans.com to

The First-Time Homebuyer Credit Form from the IRS

From The IRS : The First-Time Homebuyer Credit Form

IRS Form 5405 -- Homebuyer Tax CreditAs part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the IRS has officially released Form 5405 -- better known as the First-Time Homebuyer Credit Form.

True to tax code standards, the 10-field form is accompanied by 3 pages of instructions.

Form 5405 is a helpful, go-to resource for home buyers with questions about the tax credit.

For example, the form distinguishes tax consequences for homes bought in 2008 versus 2009, and clearly defines the term "first-time home buyer".

In addition, Form 5405 highlights the math behind the tax credit. In general, the First-Time Homebuyer Credit is equal to the lesser of:

  • $8,000 for homes bought in 2009
  • 10 percent of the home's purchase price

Married couples filing separately are entitled to half of the expected credit, and homes sold within 3 years are subject to a credit repayment in the year the home ceases to be the "main home".

Form 5405 is a comprehensive reference. However, be sure to check with your accountant for specific questions about your personal returns and how the First-Time Homebuyer Credit may impact your finances. There is no substitute for professional, paid advice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Labor Day Weekend - 2 Big Festivals on Sat & Sun!

We have our biggest weekend right around the corner with these 2 annual events. If you are staying in town that weekend go ahead and mark your calendar. Better yet you can get tickets now while they are discounted!

6th Annual Smyrna Beer Fest
Smyrna Market Village
Saturday, September 5 - 1pm - 6pm
"A History in the Tasting" with over 100's of the finest local, domestic & import beers available for tasting plus a couple of wines.
Tickets: $25 Advance, $35 Gate
http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.smyrnamarketvillageevents.com
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=135447208419

5th Annual Beer & Whiskey Fest
Park Tavern @ Piedmont Park
Sunday, September 6 - 2PM - 11PM
This charity event will feature a variety of different whiskies & beers & 4 great tribute rock bands (80’s Hair Metal, Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers Tribute & Queen) plus BBQ while raising money for PAWS Atlanta (Atlanta's Largest Animal Shelter helping pets find loving homes).
Tickets: $8 by Aug. 14th, $10 after Aug 14th, $15 Gate
http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.beerandwhiskeyfest.com
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=115037051918

Monday, August 3, 2009

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 3, 2009

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week : August 3, 2009

Posted: 03 Aug 2009 08:00 AM PDT

Unemployment Rate June 2009Mortgage markets improved last week despite a series of volatile trading sessions.

A combination of weaker-than-expected economic data and massive-sized Treasury auctions kept investors guessing and mortgage rates moving.

By Friday, however, momentum was in favor of lower rates and that's how the week finished up -- slightly more favorable overall.

It's the second consecutive week in which rates fell.

This week, markets will digest a host of new data. Rate shoppers can expect the volatility to continue.

Monday afternoon, Auto and Truck Sales data is released. We normally don't track this report, but because of the auto industry's role in the economy right now, strong numbers should lead to a mortgage bond sell-off, pushing mortgage rates higher.

Then, Tuesday, the Personal Income and Personal Spending report is released as well as the Pending Home Sales Index. Again, strength in the numbers should result in higher mortgage rates.

Thursday, Initial Jobless Claims will get the market's attention. The data has been trending lower over the past two months and, last week, the rolling, 4-week average posted its lowest mark since January. A reversal in the trend would likely boost the mortgage markets, helping rates to fall.

And, Friday, the jobs report is due.

With unemployment close to 10 percent nationwide and more than 3 million jobs lost this year, investors will respond to "less weak" data with enthusiasm -- a bad result for rate shoppers. No matter what the data says, it's sure to move markets.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Meet Congressman Tom Price to discuss Healthcare

Congress is currently considering legislation, that would significantly change healthcare in America. These drastic changes in policy are sure to affect all businesses. We invite you to share your thoughts and concerns on this issue, by participating in a conference call led by Congressman Tom Price.
The call will be held on Wednesday, July 29 at 9:30 a.m. Please R.S.V.P. to Thomas Beusse at (770) 565-4990 or thomas.beusse@mail.house.gov.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Adjusting For Cost Of Living Differences After A Non-Local Move


Moving to a new metropolitan area requires adjustments. There's new streets to learn, new weather patterns to get used to, and new social cultures to assimilate.

There's also new costs.

Just like home values vary by area, so does the Cost of Living. To visit a doctor in Chicago, as an example, costs a person more than to visit a similar-type doctor in Smyrna, GA.

Cost of Living adjustments can't be ignored between two cities because it changes a household's budget.

And while it's a challenge to know exactly how far your dollar can stretch in a new town, Bankrate.com hosts a helpful Cost of Living Comparison Calculator to make the math a little easier. With categories such as dry cleaning, groceries and beauty salon, the calculator goes extra deep into the typical costs to a household, and can help families to make more realistic budgets.

The calculator also shows the equivalent household income between any two metropolitan areas. Check out Smyrna compares!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2nd Wine Crawl & Retail for the River



The 2nd annual Vinings International Wine Crawl will be this Saturday June 20 from 1-7 pm. Enjoy great food specials and wine offerings from all over the world. Garrison's, Social Vinings, Soho, The Grape, La Paz and Vinings Inn are all participating. Cover charge is $5 in advance or $10 at the door and a portion of the proceeds go to Upper Chattahooche Riverkeeper. Register at Social Vinings (1-6pm), 3621 Vinings Slope Dr., Ste 4110, Atlanta, GA 30339, close to Quick Trip. www.atlantabartours.com

Retail for the River will be earlier that same day from 11am - 5pm at Vinings Jubliee. Special offers and coupons are available for that day from free massages compliments of Integral Chiropractic to 75% off select items at American Mountain and more. www.RetailForTheRiver.com

Presented by Atlanta Bar Tours.com, USA Entertainment and Tred Setting Productions.

Monday, June 1, 2009

How to opt out of mailing lists

To opt out of several mailing lists at once, contact: the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service at PO Box 643, Carmel NY 10512 or fill out their online form here: http://www.dmaconsumers.org/consumerassistance.html . A free way to save the planet and you will not be tempted to sign up for some junk you do not need anyway.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Housing Starts Are No Longer Falling, Another Positive Signal In Housing


A "housing start" is a new home on which construction has started and, for the fourth straight month, single-family home construction remained flat in April.

For the battered housing market, this is the latest in a series of signals that a long-awaited turnaround is coming.

* The number of homes under contract to sell are rising
* The national housing inventory is down by nearly 1 million from March 2009
* Home values are rising, according to a government report

The current plateau in Housing Starts may indicate that builders are more confident in the economy, and that Americans are, too. Especially in light of the free fall over the past few years.

Single-Family Housing Starts have hugged the 360,000 mark since January 2009.



However, there is a footnote to the story.

As noted by the Commerce Department in its official report, the April Housing Starts conclusion is suspect because of the data's large Margin of Error. Had the government's sample set included a different series of data, in other words, it may have concluded that housing starts had fallen instead of staying flat. Or risen.

We won't know the final results of the report until 3 months from now but if the initial figures hold, it will fortify the argument that the housing market has, indeed, found its bottom.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Angels and Demons in Mortgage rates Smyrna Georgia

Angels and Demons in Mortgage rates


Retail Sales are down worse-than-expected for April 2009. After a dreadful start to the month of May, mortgage markets improved last week, pushing mortgage rates lower overall. The ANGELs.

It was the first week since late-April in which mortgage rates fell.

The biggest reason rates improved last week was because the economic optimism that was responsible for the stock market's 30% gain since March faded somewhat.

Retail Sales came in weaker-than-expected as did Initial Jobless claims. Both of these data points show that the economy may not be recovering as quickly as investors had wanted to believe.

Combined with gas prices ballooning more than 10 percent over the last 3 weeks, it's clear that consumer spending will be muted this summer and into fall. THE DEMONS

Consumer spending is important because it accounts for two-third of the economy. If it's slowed for any reason, the economy is less likely to emerge from the current recession as quickly as had been anticipated. THE DEMONS

This is good news for mortgage rates because a slow economy tends to draw investors out of stocks and into bonds, including the mortgage-backed kind. More mortgage bond demand leads to higher bond prices and, therefore, lower bond yields and mortgage rates. THE ANGELS

This week, there isn't much data to watch and, because of Memorial Day, trading will be very light towards Thursday and Friday. THE ANGELS

It's during "calm" weeks like this that mortgage rates can make huge movements up or down. With no official announcements against which traders can make bets, every piece of news is a surprise. THE DEMONS

If you're still floating a mortgage rate, take some risk off the table by locking in this week. Call 404.643.4793 or see http://www.atlloans.com/

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Smyrna Home Buyers Benefit From Additional $1,800 Tax Credit

Governor Sonny Purdue has signed HB261 creating a tax credit for home buyers effective June 1, 2009 through the remainder of the year. The tax credit is equal to 1.2% of the purchase price of the home up to $1,800.



This credit reduces tax liability, if any excess remains after '09 that would roll over to next year. It is not restricted to first time home buyers but some homes would not be included so consult your Realtor confirm eligibility.

First time buyers combine this with the Federal credit of $8,000 and you are looking at 10 grand in tax incentives, not including other deductions that will come along with owning a home. Also, now HUD is releasing a new policy where the $8000 can be used for down payment at closing.

Claim8000.com
(770) 390-9900

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FHA Seeks $800 Million to Cover Losses

Because of falling home values, the Federal Housing Administration plans to ask Congress for nearly $800 million in taxpayer money to buttress a mortgage program for seniors.

Nonetheless, the agency's flagship home-buying program remains solid, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said yesterday.

To read the entire article, please visit: Washingtonpost.com http://ow.ly/6qKu

If need a FHA loan in Georgia see www.atlloans.com

Monday, May 11, 2009

3/2 Available Now In Heart of Smyrna

Mortgage rates for Smyrna moving up

Initial Jobless Claims May 2009Mortgage markets hit their worst levels since March last week, sending mortgage rates higher for the second week in a row.

Today's conforming mortgage rates are much higher than from the registered low point of April 30, 2009.

There are a few reasons why mortgage rates were up last week.

Separately, bullet points like these can move markets and change rates. Together, though, they're a force.

The combination of events reinforces Wall Street's belief that the U.S. economy is on the mend. Even Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke remarked in his testimony to Congress that the economy should "turn up later this year".

As a result, this week, markets will be tuned in to inflation-related data.

Oil prices have been rising steadily since January and are up roughly 30 percent year-to-date. Because of this, Thursday and Friday's Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index, respectively, will be closely watched. Both are a sort of "Cost of Living" measurement and are, therefore, susceptible to spiraling energy costs.

If either reading comes in higher-than-expected, look for inflation fears to ignite on Wall Street and mortgage rates to rise.

Similarly, if Friday's Consumer Sentiment Index reveals a more confident American consumer, mortgage rates are likely to rise in that scenario, too. This is because a confident consumer tends to spend more, thereby hastening the recession's end.

And, lastly, it's worth noting that six members of the Federal Reserve will be delivering prepared speeches this week, including Chairman Bernanke. When Fed officials speak, the markets can move quickly.

If you're still shopping for a mortgage rate, consider locking one in soon. Rates have been trending higher and there's little reason for them to fall.


See www.atlloans.com to get your loan rate today!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fresh Market In Smyrna's Backyard

Starting Saturdays in May through September a new local farmer's market for Smyrna residents will be open. The market will be open from 8am to 1pm. Be sure to get there early for the best selection.

See www.SmyrnaCity.com for information on how to be a vendor.

Your Smyrna Gas Station May Have Clues About Tomorrow's Mortgage Rates

The retail price of gasoline is rising nationwide, now up 30 percent since the New Year.
It's a similar run-up to what we've seen for retail gas prices in each of the last 5 Spring Seasons.
For people trying to time the mortgage market's bottom, clues about the future of mortgage rates may be at the local gas station.

Rising gas prices are indicative of the rising cost of energy and, indeed, crude oil is closing in on its 2009 highpoint. As these energy costs grow, so do inflationary pressures on the U.S. economy.

Inflation, of course, is awful for mortgage rates. When it's present, mortgage markets deteriorate and rates tend to rise -- often sharply and with little advance warning.
So, for today's homebuyers-in-process and would-be refinancers, prices at the pump may foreshadow bad news for the future of housing affordability. Even a modest, quarter-percent increase would have a palpable effect on payments, adding $372 in annual costs to a $200,000 home loan.

Since last week, gas prices are already up by 10 cents per gallon.

Smyrna Music Begins

Save the date or make it a date on Saturday June 13 at 7pm. Come dance and enjoy the music of The Mustangs, a local band back to entertain the city.

Live music lasts until 10pm at the Smyrna Market Village.

www.Smyrnacity.com

Acoustic Sunset Is Back

Enjoy a Sunday evening with an acoustic concert in the Smyrna Market Village. Dave FM's live music series will start again April 19th through May 24th. The free shows start at 4pm until about 7.

For band line up and more visit www.davefm.com.