By RICHARD CHASE BROWN
The Georgia county of Cobb continues to grow and the cities of Marietta, Smyrna and Austell, which are all part of the county, are no exception. The continuous growth of these cities can make it difficult to get the community involved and to manage them financially.
Marietta, with its high population of 57,000 people, is located in the heart of Cobb.
The city is unique for its Civil War history and is known for its Marietta Square, home to many shops and museums that reflect the city’s history. The Gone with The Wind Museum is one of the museums that can be found in the square. It shows the success of the film “Gone with the Wind” and the effect it had on not only the city of Marietta, but the entire state of Georgia.
Bill Bruton, the city manager for Marietta, is one of the few people who became a city manager right out of college.
“I went to law school at Duke and then immediately became a city manager, and from there it was like wild fire. I have seen people work their way up through the ranks to become city managers. For instance, I worked with the current city managers of Smyrna and Dunwoody. I worked with them to set out a plan so they could eventually become city managers and gain valuable experience,” said Bruton.
Bruton was asked about the task of managing the city of Marietta.
“It is difficult,” he said, raising his eyebrows. “Within my first week, we had a jumper on a bridge, a robbery and a bomb threat.”
Bruton said it was tough managing the city both financially and as a community.
“We had to lay off a room of people. Luckily we were already preparing for it, so we were able to have other jobs people could apply for and I think all but two were hired,” he said.
Despite fighting financial binds, the city has its own electricity company. It also has fees in place for people outside the county who use its recourses. This gives Marietta a great benefit financially.
Bruton’s goal is to build a community low in crime, and despite the heavy population, there has been a downward trend in crimes in Marietta over the past few years.
“Criminals don’t go into strong areas. We want to build a community,” said Bruton.