Kennesaw ’14 budget approved by divided city council
by Hannah Morgan
September 19, 2013 01:17 AM | 2624 views | 7 7 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KENNESAW — A divided Kennesaw City Council voted 3-2 Monday to approve the 2014 budget, which has no tax increases but does include a rapidly-growing obligation to finance future retirees’ health care.

About 50 citizens sat through the almost three-hour meeting. Many spoke impromptu, cautioning city leaders to carefully tend to their tax dollars, which, last year, went to funding the debt-ridden, city-owned Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History and the pensions of city council members.

Sam Paglioni, a private financial adviser who introduced himself as, “just a concerned citizen,” spoke three times, and each time received a standing ovation from fellow Kennesaw residents in the audience.

He came prepared with a binder filled with the city’s financial reports from the last few years, and cautioned the council members to carefully look through the numbers before voting to approve the 2014 budget.

After much discussion, and assurances by city Finance Director Gina Auld, the council approved the 2014 budget, with council members Cris Eaton-Welsh and Bruce Jenkins voting against the budget, and Tim Killingsworth, Matthew Riedemann and Jeff Duckett voting in favor.

This is the same split that has been seen in the council over the past couple of months on almost every issue of importance — Killingsworth, Riedemann and Duckett on one side and Jenkins and Welsh on the other.

“The more I listened to what Mr. Paglioni had to say, I realized, at some point, we have to say, ‘Stop. We need to address this right now,’” said Welsh, of the lack of current funds in place to pay for future retirees’ health care, and lack of income from the city’s business ventures, including the museum and the Smith-Gilbert Gardens, both of which cost the city more to run than they generate in revenue.

World War II vet honored

The council also proclaimed Sept. 20 to be Ted Wolfe Day.

The 83-year-old former chief ranger at Kennesaw Mountain from 1971 to 1982 is also a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and is an honored member of the United States Marine Corps.

“Today is a very special day, it’s nice to do that for me, and my wife,” Wolfe said.

Brewery expansion OK’d

The council also voted 4-0 to approve the expansion of Burnt Hickory Brewery, a brewery on Moon Station Court just north of downtown Kennesaw, which wants to add on a small boiler room.

Mayor Pro tem Jeff Duckett ran the meeting Monday night because Mayor Mark Mathews was attending the Cobb Chamber of Commerce “fly-in” in Washington, D.C., with county chairman Tim Lee and other county leaders.

Duckett did not vote on the brewery’s expansion, because the mayor pro tem only votes to break a tie when he is standing in for the mayor, according to the city code.

Owner Scott Hedeen promised council members that he would plan to plant a number of evergreen bushes behind the new addition to provide a visual buffer to the brewery’s neighbor, Greg Wick.

Wick asked the council members not to allow for the addition, as he does not want to see the nature-filled buffer between the brewery on Moon Station Court and his property grow any smaller.



Comments
(7)
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anonymous
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September 19, 2013
So who is the 'Mayors Faction'? It is of course composed of the Mayor who in 2009 had a $1,100,00 Bankruptcy, Killingsworth who is another Bankrupt then their is the 'new guy' who has a Bankruptch, a $52,000 last year from American Express, a $414,000 judgment last year from Wakeboard.com,Inc, also a home foreclosure. So folks you should know that your City finances are being looked after by people who can't even manage their own financial affairs. When you vote in November how about getting rid of Riedemann and Duckett and putting in people who are not in the mayors back pocket?!
Aaron Marino
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September 20, 2013
You are a moron! I have known Matt Riedemann for over 15 years and am honored to call him a friend and personally have invested my hard earned money with him. He like the majority of Americans who's career and livelihood relied on the housing market, suffered in this economy. You should spend some of your ample free time investigating why other officials fail to meet their city tax obligations as opposed to trying to trash good men with good intentions. These men have and will continue to do the best job they can for the city in which we all love and live! Shame on you!
Let's be real
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September 22, 2013
Aaron Marino - let's be real. Who cares if you have known him for 15 years?

He has shown a TRACK record of bad financial decisions. He owe's Wakeboard.com $400k , Amex $54k, Bankruptcy, and defaulted on his house - KILLNG the home prices of his neighbors?!!? IS THAT WHO YOU WANT MAKING FINANCIAL DECISIONS FOR YOUR TOWN? Seriously - putting friendship aside - be real...
Matt Riedemann
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September 19, 2013
Question: Why is my post taking 3 hours (at this point) to be published?
Matt Riedemann
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September 19, 2013
Inaccuracies

This article, unfortunately, is not accurate.

Paragraph 6 - "This is the same split that has been seen in the council over the past couple of months on almost every issue of importance - Tim Killingsworth, Riedemann, and Jeff Duckett on one side and Jenkins and Steve Welsh on the other.

In fact, this is the FIRST vote that has been a 3-2 vote (in any combination of votes) since I have been on council.

Further, people or the media like to say that "Riedemann, Killingsworth, and Duckett" typically vote contrary to "Welsh & Jenkins".

If there was side taking (which there is not) the record shows that before Monday night I have actually voted more in line with "Welsh & Jenkins" than with "Killingsworth & Duckett".

The bottom line is that I consider myself to be an independent and DO NOT align myself with any side.

I vote on what I believe is in the best interests of ALL the citizens of Kennesaw. The only side I am on is "The Citizens of Kennesaw" side.
ok Matt
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September 22, 2013
Ok - and what about the fact that you are terrible with finances and decision making? Exactly HOW many people do YOU owe money to? Do you know how badly your foreclosure hurt your neighbors? Do you care? When are you going to pay back Wakeboard.com?
Matt Riedemann
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September 24, 2013
Bill Harris,

I would be happy to sit down and discuss any and all of what you have brought up here.

It is interesting that I have offered to sit down and discuss this with you before (via Joe Bozeman) and you declined the invitation. Again, I am happy to sit down and discuss this. The invitation is open.

It is also interesting that the specifics you site are both: incomplete at the very least and / or incorrect at best.

Allow me to share this:

Q. Did your house (4030 Palisades Main) get foreclosed on?

A. No. We did what is called a short-sale. Rather than a foreclosure, we opted to do a sale that would benefit the surrounding homeowners in a sale that would bring in ~$75,000 - $100,000 more dollars than a foreclosure. The transaction closed May 25, 2012. In fact, in that area, there were short sales and many foreclosures. My personal business is real estate-based and, sadly, the housing bubble popped… in our face. By going the preferred way of a short sale we helped to maintain the surrounding property values during the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Q. Did you and your wife file bankruptcy in 1998?

A. Yes. We filed a chapter 13 (Reorganization) 15 years ago. We were 26 years old. Student loans and building a new family got the best of us. We fought and tried as long as we could to avoid the bankruptcy; but ultimately, we had to make what would be one of the most difficult decisions we’d ever have to make.

Q. Do you have a judgment with Wakeboard.com?

A. No, we do have a mediated judgment with Buywake.com. The mutually agreed upon terms were to secure an unsecured loan made. That loan is in the process of being paid back, but is now secured by real estate and is in process to be paid in full by the end of 2013 from the multiple sales of land holdings.

Again, I am happy to sit down with you (or anyone) and discuss this or your concerns or visions for the city.

Best,

Matt
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