The City of Cartersville’s financials from March show signs of declining income, but few indications of major profit loss one month into the coronavirus crisis.
City officials, however, anticipate the numbers to look much bleaker in the months ahead.
“We have seen some reduction already on the revenue side,” said City of Cartersville Finance Director Tom Rhinehart. “I don’t really know how the COVID-19 will react to the rest of the three or four months we have left in the fiscal year, but I assume we will have more reduction in revenues to come.”
According to a monthly summary released in conjunction with last week’s Cartersville City Council meeting, just one major municipal fund — the City’s water and sewer fund — showed a net profit loss. As of March 31, the fiscal year’s expenditures exceeded revenues by about $5.4 million.
By and large, the City’s other funds still showed net profits. So far, fiscal year general fund revenue has exceeded expenditures by about $3.5 million, while gas and electric revenues have exceeded expenses by about $3.7 million and $2.4 million, respectively.
The profit margins are considerably slimmer for some of the City’s other funds. Fiber revenue exceeds expenditures by just $382,789, while stormwater revenue exceeds expenses by only $109,917.
Cartersville City Manager Tamara Brock said she anticipates the final figures from last month to be far more imposing.
“When we look at April 2020 financials and start to see more, I know gas and electric have declines for April usage as far as the industrial class goes — they were pretty significant,” she said.
City of Cartersville Water Department Director Bob Jones, however, said he anticipates April’s water and sewer numbers to remain relatively static.
“Based on pump rate at the plant, we were flat,” he said.
As of March 31, the City’s fiscal year water and sewer fund expenditures included $13.1 million in capital expenses, $2.8 million in debt payments and almost $3 million in personnel expenses.
Meanwhile, fiscal year gas expenses through the end of March included $9.3 million for purchases and $2.3 million in general fund transfers. On the revenue side, fiscal year gas revenues were tabbed at $16.2 million, with gas commodity charges listed at about $1.1 million.
As of March 31, fiscal year electric fund expenses included $28.8 million in purchasing costs and roughly $2 million in general fund transfers. Total electric sales through the end of March indicate the City has generated $35.5 million in revenues so far in the current fiscal year.
At this point, Brock said she’s aware of “a good number” of City customers who haven’t paid utility bills for the last two months and counting.
“They’re currently in the process to see how far behind people are,” she said. “We’re still not doing shutoffs, so when we start that back up, there’ll be door knockers on those doors so that people can get pulled up.”
As for the City’s cash position, Cartersville’s total unrestricted balance increased from $38.3 million to $39.5 million from February to March, while the City’s restricted cash balanced decreased from $183.4 million to $177.6 million over that same timeframe.
“That’s primarily due to the loss in the 2014 SPLOST as well as the pension funds,” Brock said.
The local government began the fiscal year, which started last summer, with about $40.2 million in unrestricted cash balance and almost $182 million in restricted cash balance.
Several funds did experience increases in cash over March, including the City’s motor vehicle, hotel-motel, 2020 SPLOST, general obligation parks and recreation bond and debt services funds.
The financial report, however, indicates that unrestricted cash increases in the City’s gas, solid waste, stormwater and fiber funds were ultimately offset by decreases in Cartersville’s electric, general, water and insurance funds.
Brock said those numbers are likely to be a small preview of what’s to come.
“When we get the April financials, we’ll really start to see what our losses actually are,” she said.