At the first public hearing this week, Kennesaw’s Finance Director Gina Auld presented the city’s proposed $24.4 million general fund budget for fiscal 2020, a 5% increase from last year.
Personnel recommendations include adding three full-time positions: an accounting manager in the finance department, a sergeant over specialized units and a crime analyst in the police department. Additionally, the budget unfreezes two positions: a code enforcement inspector and a part-time records clerk. The budget also recommends that a part-time IT technician be converted to full time, and the combination of two positions in building maintenance into one full-time custodian.
The budget includes a 2% cost of living adjustment for all employees and a one-time merit increase for full-time employees.
Overall tax revenues are budgeted at a 3.5% increase with a millage rate of 8 mills. Taxes make up 76% of the budget, including real and personal property, franchise, occupational and insurance premium taxes. Intergovernmental revenue and fines and forfeitures each bring 5% of the budget. Other revenue sources include licenses and permits, a community development block grant, and a street resurfacing grant.
Sixty percent of expenditures go to personal services, which include employee salaries and benefits. Four percent of the budget, about $590,000 will go to the reserves. Contractual services is 14% and materials and supplies are 9% of the budget. When broken down by function, the biggest expenditure in the general fund is public safety at 34%.
According to Auld, two departments had significant increases. The building maintenance department is budgeted to receive an increase of about $111,000 for plumbing repairs and HVAC replacement and another $30,000 to replace 20-year-old furniture and fixtures, increasing the overall department budget from roughly $1.1 million in 2019 to about $1.26 million for 2020.
The police department’s budget is increasing by about a half million dollars, from just under $7 million in 2019 to nearly $7.5 million due to the new personnel positions, and equipment that includes body cameras, active shooter kits, Tasers and rifles.
“Our debt service is going down 11%. As we are paying down our bonds and capital leases, we are paying more principal and less interest, so we are moving in the right direction,” Auld told the mayor and council.
The floor was opened for public comments but there were none. Council members James “Doc” Eaton and Chris Henderson were not present, but listened and voted via speaker phone. The second hearing and adoption of the budget is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the regular meeting.
In other business:
Mayor Derek Easterling presented Deb Bradley of the Kennesaw Mountain Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution with a proclamation declaring Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week.