City of Cartersville Finance Director Tom Rhinehart indicated the local government experienced a $2,060,190 decrease in general fund revenues in December 2020 at Thursday evening’s city council meeting.
Compared to December 2019’s numbers, the City’s local option sales tax collections dropped by $79,610 and building permit and inspection fees decreased by $71,957. Over that same timeframe, the City’s general fund expenses also increased by $502,035.
“The council approved a one-time bonus for employees, so that’s one of the reasons why personnel expenses were a little bit more this month,” Cartersville City Manager Dan Porta said. “There’s a couple of primary adjustments in the 2019 number, so if you take those out of the equation that even with the COVID year with 2020 we’re doing OK in the general fund.”
From December 2019 to December 2020 the City’s water and sewer fund revenues decreased by $548,571, albeit with expenses likewise declining by $424,843. Rhinehart attributed those changes primarily to increased personnel expenses (totaling $263,000) and increased operating expenses (totaling $118,000.)
December 2020’s gas fund revenues were down nearly $1 million compared to December 2019’s figures. Over the same period expenditures associated with the fund increased by $435,908; Rhinehart said that included an additional $399,000 in capital expenses, an additional $69,000 in general fund transfers and an additional $23,000 in debt service costs.
“Obviously, the utilities funds are doing pretty decent,” Porta commented. “The gas fund is still showing a net loss through December, but from January it does significantly have some improvement there.”
Rhinehart also reported a sharp decrease in electric fund revenues, which dropped by $840,854 from December 2019 to December 2020. Fund expenses also increased by $558,420 over the timeframe, with increased personnel costs tabbed at $192,000 and increased capital expenses tabbed at $128,000.
The City’s stormwater fund revenues also decreased from December 2019 to December 2020 by about $75,000, with associated fund expenses increasing by about $38,000. While the City’s solid waste fund revenues decreased by $267,812, Rhinehart indicated the fund also saw its expenses decrease by $91,481 overall during the one year window, with decreased capital expenses projected at $148,000.
Fiber optics fund revenues, however, did increase by almost $11,000 from December 2019 to December 2020, with expenses increasing by a little over $27,000 due to an uptick in personnel expenses (listed at $52,000) and transfers to the City's general fund (listed at $72,000.)
“With COVID in effect for this year, we’re holding on with the general fund,” Porta said. “We had a tight budget we put in there, we had to make a lot of cuts and we’re still, right now, in net profit.”
Without publicizing the exact monetary amounts, Rhinehart told the council the City’s unrestricted cash balance decreased in December, while the City’s restricted cash balance increased.
Rhinehart also gave the council an overview of the City’s SPLOST accounts.
“The 2003 [fund] had a balance of roughly $37,000 while 2014 has a balance of $532,000,” he said. “The SPLOST in 2020 has a current balance of, as of December, nearly $2.5 million.”
Rhinehart told the council the 2014 SPLOST account is for general use while the 2003 account is dedicated to Douthit Ferry Road improvements.
As part of that project, Porta said the City received about $600,000 in State funding for engineering expenses. To date, Rhinehart said the City has expended just half of that amount.
“We’re keeping that 2003 fund open so we can keep running that line through the air, because it’s additional grant funding to the City,” Porta said. “That little bit we have left in the bank is kind of for us to keep that account open.”