City of Cartersville Finance Director Tom Rhinehart presented a financial report at a public meeting Thursday evening, indicating that the local government’s general revenues decreased by more than $1.7 million in November 2020 compared to November 2019’s figures.
Still, Rhinehart indicated that the City’s local option sales tax revenue actually went up over the one-year period, increasing from $1.826 million to $1.838 million. Meanwhile, he told members of the Cartersville City Council that the municipality’s building permits and inspection fee revenue dropped off by more than $65,000, declining from $203,074 in November 2019 to $137,899 in November 2020.
“The revenue’s a little bit lower than last year, but I did find out doing a little research that property taxes, the things the finance department gave us some more information, collections, we got a payment that was posted $1.2 million in early December,” Cartersville City Manager Dan Porta said. “That was the reflection of why we were a little different, a little less, than last year, through November … but that will pick back up in December.”
From November 2019 to November 2020, the City’s water and sewer fund revenues decreased by more than $552,000, although expenses likewise decreased by $1.32 million over that same time frame. Among other factors, Rhinehart attributed those numbers to personnel expense increases totaling about $89,000 and operating expense increases tabbed at about $56,000.
The City’s gas fund revenues also saw a downtick, falling by $786,769 from November 2019 to November 2020. Rhinehart said gas fund expenses in November 2020 were $363,110 higher than a year earlier, mostly due to increased capital expenses (listed at $394,000 in City documents) and increased general fund transfers (listed at $57,000.)
“Gas, as you know, through the November time period, it starts getting colder,” said Porta. “So December should turn that around.”
City of Cartersville electric fund revenues also fell over the time frame, decreasing by more than $783,000 from November 2019 to November 2020. Expenses related to that fund, however, did decrease by almost $26,000, with Rhinehart citing such factors as decreased operating expenses (tabbed at $70,000) and decreased costs of purchasing electricity (tabbed at $140,000.)
Revenues also dropped off for the City’s stormwater and solid waste funds, with the former declining by $77,106 and the latter decreasing by $19,667.
However, solid waste fund expenditures did decrease by more than $330,000 from November 2019 to November 2020, with Rhinehart citing roughly $220,000 in decreased operating expenses and about $148,000 in decreased capital expenses.
The City’s fiber optics fund reported a small gain of $25,279 in the comparison of November 2019 and November 2020 revenues. Over that one-year period, the fund’s associated expenses also decreased by about $55,000, with Rhinehart noting a roughly $91,000 decrease in operating expenditures and about $47,000 in decreased capital expenses.
“The stormwater, solid waste and fiber funds are doing good through this part of the year,” Porta said. “Overall, we’re doing fairly well. The general fund, like I said, will pick up once we get that additional property tax postings in December.”
As of November, Rhinehart told the council the City’s 2003 SPLOST fund had about $30,000 remaining in it.
“Of course, that’s the account we’re using for the Douthit Ferry Road project,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said the City’s 2007 SPLOST fund is completely empty while the City’s 2014 SPLOST fund contains about $450,000.
The City’s 2020 SPLOST fund, he said, had about $1.2 million in it.
While the City's fund revenues may be down compared to 2019, the City has also managed to scale back spending drastically. Compared to November 2019's figures, the City's general fund expenditures decreased by a projected $609,236 in November 2020.
“The better news is that we’re holding the line of expenses at about $600,000 less than last year through November on the general fund,” Porta noted. “So we’re doing well financially there.”
Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini said that was no easy task considering how lean the fiscal year budget was.
“So thank you to every department head and everybody on staff for continuing to squeeze as much blood out of that turnip as we can,” he remarked.