Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, data presented by City of Cartersville Finance Director Tom Rhinehart indicates the local government’s April financials fared much better than expected.
In fact, he noted that the City’s general fund revenues for April was actually $3.46 million higher than the City’s financial figures from one year earlier — albeit, with the City’s expenditures also going up by about $1.8 million over that time period.
“The local option sales tax (LOST), there was a slight increase there of about $1,200,” he said at a public meeting last week. “Building permits and inspection fees, there’s a decrease there of about $18,000.”
Through April 30, documents indicate the City of Cartersville has generated $24,909,200 in general fund revenues for the 2020 fiscal year. Total LOST revenue is tabbed at about $3.5 million, while property tax revenue is listed as a little over $4 million. Total expenditures come out to $22,516,350, with personnel expenses listed as $15,447,440.
Elsewhere, he said the City’s water and sewer fund revenues increased by $507,006 from April 2019 to April 2020. Over the same timeframe, however, he also said expenses associated with the fund shot up by about $10.1 million.
“This is due to increased personnel expenses, increased operating expenses, decreased debt service expenses and increased capital expenses,” he said.
Documents indicate the City has generated $19,518,586 in water fund revenues so far in the 2020 fiscal year; total water fund expenses through April 30 are listed as $25,944,550.
Per Rhinehart’s report, the City’s water and sewer fund capital expenses increased by roughly $11 million over the last year. As of April 30, the City’s total expenditures associated with capital expenses in that fund total $14,895,280 in the 2020 fiscal year.
Compared to April 2019’s numbers, Rhinehart said the City’s gas fund revenues are down $2,705,318. He noted that fund expenditures are also down almost $9.9 million, citing the decreased costs of purchased gas (tabbed at $4.462 million in City documents) and decreased capital expenses totaling about $5.4 million.
Electric fund revenues, Rhinehart continued, decreased by a mere $1,576 over the last year, while expenditures decreased by $1.14 million — of which $848,000 was attributed to the decreased costs of purchasing electricity and $265,000 was attributed to decreased capital expenses.
So far, the City has generated $40,173,042 in electric fund revenues in the 2020 fiscal year; total fund expenses over that same timeframe are tallied at $37,758,060, with electricity purchases making up roughly $31 million of those expenditures.
The City’s stormwater fund revenues increased by $100,673 over the previous year, as expenses dwindled by about $211,948. Solid waste fund revenues similarly increased by $491,719, while expenditures went up by about $127,000.
Rhinehart said the City’s fiber optics fund saw revenues increase $93,075 from April 2019 to April 2020, with expenses dropping by $214,672.
Cartersville City Manager Tamara Brock said those numbers are more favorable than the municipality expected.
“I know our sales tax came back better than we anticipated for the month of April,” she said. “So I think once we look at May, we’ll have a better idea, going forward, what that looks like.”
Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini also said he’s optimistic that the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic won’t be as severe as local officials initially projected.
“From the preliminary numbers from last month, that we didn’t get as bad — at least to this point — as we thought it was going to get,” he said. “If we can eke through that, we’ll be doing some budget amendments as the year goes on to maybe bring back a little bit of this … I think the fiscally prudent and responsible thing to do is start giving ourselves some new cuts as everybody tries to get back on their feet, and when things get better, hopefully, we’ll be a part of that, as well.”
The City concluded the month of April with a total unrestricted cash balance of $36,026,625.10 — a nearly $3 million decrease from the local government’s cash position at the end of March. The City’s total unrestricted cash balance at the end of April, however, was considerably larger than the final tally for March. The City’s cash position stood at $182,551,009.58 — a more than $4.6 million increase over the previous month’s balance.
"Unrestricted cash decreased due to decreases in the grant, general, water, electric, insurance and fiber funds and were offset by increases in the stormwater and solid waste funds," City documents read. "Restricted cash increased due to increased cash in the pension, motor vehicle tax, [the general obligation] parks and rec bond and debt services funds."