City of Cartersville Finance Director Tom Rhinehart presented a slightly modified fiscal year 2021 budget at Thursday’s city council meeting. Whereas a draft presented at a public meeting last month
totaled $157,152,985, the latest FY ’21 budget grand total comes in at $157,030,005.
Overall, the proposed budget represents an $8.2 million decrease over the current fiscal year budget, representing a nearly 5% total decline compared to the City’s FY ’20 figures.
“The proposed budget includes a continuation of the 10-year capital plan, it includes no increases of any of the utility rates for electric, gas, water and sewer,” Rhinehart said.
Nor did he indicate the City intends on increasing property tax rates in the fiscal year ahead, stating the local government does plan on utilizing its rollback millage rate.
Compared to the FY ’20 budget, the proposed FY’ 21 budget calls for a $7.2 million reduction in capital expenditures, with operating expenses also seeing a $2.6 million decrease. Commodities purchases, however, are increasing from $55.8 million to $56.4 million under the proposed budget; the same can be said of personnel expenditures, which are set to increase from $30.3 million to $31.9 million.
Under the proposed budget, general fund transfers would similarly increase, going up almost $500,000 to $8.3 million in FY ’21.
Elsewhere in the budget, gas funding is set to decrease by $2.7 million, water and sewer funding is expected to drop by $3.8 million and electric funding is anticipated to increase by $1.6 million.
General fund and special revenue allocations are expected to be down $2.4 million compared to FY ’20. Rhinehart said 2014 SPLOST funding is also set to decline by $3.8 million, while 2020 SPLOST funding is expected to increase by about $1.7 million.
“We will be doing some [general obligation] parks and recreation bond fund projects,” he said. “There’s $150,000 for Goodyear Clubhouse renovations and $35,000 for A/C replacement at the [gymnastics center].”
Total water department capital projects in the FY ’21 budget total $26.6 million — about $19.4 million of which is allocated to “unfunded mandates.” Transco distribution station and miscellaneous gas department capital expenditures come out to $1.8 million, while 2020 SPLOST-funded items are tabbed at $2.86 million and include the purchase of a new fire ladder truck, computer storage expenditures and the launch of a new citywide advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project.
Total “outside agency” funding included in the proposed FY ’21 budget includes $454,500 allocated to the Cartersville/Bartow Library, $200,000 set aside for the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development and $51,000 reserved for the Cartersville-Bartow County Cultural Arts Alliance.
Rhinehart concluded the presentation by noting that the numbers included in the proposal are likely to change yet again.
“Fiscal austerity is what the City has been doing and what we will continue to look for, efficiencies that would help curtail the overall operational costs,” Rhinehart said. “I expect to amend the FY 2021 budget at least one time, if not more often.”
A second reading of the proposed FY ’21 budget — and council vote — is scheduled for a public meeting at 7 p.m. on June 18 at 10 North Public Square.
“It has been a tremendous challenge this year to create a budget,” said Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini. “As conservative as we’ve put this, and I think responsibly so, I’m hopeful that if things move in the direction that we anticipate them moving based on last month’s revenue numbers, if that was the bottom of it, it didn’t hit us as bad as we budgeted for and that we’ll be able to make some adjustments in a good direction as the year goes on."