KENNESAW — Acworth and Kennesaw may have been slowed down by the pandemic, but their economies are still growing, according to the cities’ leaders.
Acworth Mayor Tommy Allegood and Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling discussed the state of their cities in a shared Q&A format with the Northwest Cobb Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce at their lunch meeting Wednesday at the Governors Gun Club.
The event had a little over 50 people attend in person, and was livestreamed to the chamber’s Facebook page.
Allegood spoke in-person, while Easterling participated virtually from home: the Kennesaw mayor is also a Cobb County teacher, and some of his students recently tested positive for the coronavirus, so per school district policy he is under quarantine, he said.
Allegood and Easterling both said their cities were seeing new businesses despite the pandemic, like Tractor Supply, 1885 Grill, and Dairy Queen in Acworth and Horned Owl Brewing, Apotheos Roastery and Gus’s Fried Chicken in Kennesaw.
“We’ve got a lot of projects that are now slowed down in the timeline, that will be coming online in 2021, but we really had a good year,” Allegood said. “I don’t think we’ve lost any of the promised development.”
“We’re still moving forward as quickly and as efficiently as possible,” Easterling said.
Allegood credited federal CARES Act funding with helping keep business going. In Acworth, he said, CARES Act money went toward 115 small business grants that were on average about $6,900.
Yet city governments may still see financial losses related to the pandemic. Easterling said because Kennesaw relies on property taxes, it hasn’t seen a large loss in revenue, but recent reports suggest it could see revenue hits a year to a year and a half post-pandemic.
“The impact of the pandemic, on our revenues and budget, it’s not completely known,” he said.
Former Cobb Commissioner Bob Weatherford, who was in attendance, said the mayors did a “great job,” though the format of the event was different than previous years.
“They worked good together,” he said. “They had a lot of things they did that were proactive, I think, during the start of (the pandemic.) They cooperated with the county well, and with each other. They did very well.”