2020 Popular Annual
Financial Report

Dear Kennesaw Residents & Friends,

Welcome to the City of Kennesaw’s Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020. The PAFR is focused on providing useful information about city operations, services, programs and financial condition to residents and stakeholders. It is designed to deliver this information in a format that is easily understandable.

The financial information in this PAFR summarizes the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR). The ACFR contains a much more all-encompassing collection of financial statements, notes, schedules and other relevant data and has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for the past nineteen years. It is available in the Finance section of the Document Center.

The PAFR is intended to be a supplement to the ACFR, not a replacement. We hope you find it to be informative and beneficial.

About Kennesaw


Kennesaw, Georgia is a thriving community located in Northwest Cobb County along the I-75/Cobb Parkway corridor only 25 miles from downtown Atlanta.

Originally known as Big Shanty, the City has evolved from an 1830’s railroad shanty town to a community recognized for its commitment to providing an exceptional quality of life.

Attractive, modern neighborhoods and a thriving business environment blend seamlessly with excellent recreational and cultural amenities and a wealth of parks and green spaces.

The City offers first rate educational opportunities at all levels and is adjacent to Georgia’s third largest university, Kennesaw State.

The Smithsonian-affiliated Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History celebrates the history of the railroad in the Southeast with a wide range of exhibits and programs.

The 17-acre Smith-Gilbert Gardens features fifteen themed garden spaces, anchored by the historic Hiram Butler House and showcases 31 outdoor sculptures in the permanent collection.


A number of city parks and trails provide opportunities for promoting social, physical and mental wellness for both residents and visitors.

Several annual festivals, concerts and cultural events and programs provide free entertainment for people of all ages and interests.

Kennesaw delivers a high quality of life with its diversified local economy, outstanding living, shopping, dining and recreational options and excellent healthcare and educational alternatives.

It’s no wonder our city consistently wins awards and praises from real estate and lifestyle websites.


Median Household Income

Median Housing Value

9.77 sq. miles




Source: US Census Quick Facts
Population estimate as of 7/1/19
Median Household Income 2014-18
Unemployment as of 12/19

Mayor & City Council

The City Council consists of a mayor and five council members elected at large on a non-partisan basis by the voters of the City of Kennesaw. Members serve staggered four year terms with biannual elections in November.
Mayor Derek Easterling

James "Doc" Eaton


Tracey Viars


Pat Ferris


Chris Henderson


Nimesh Patel

City Council meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. the first and third Monday of each month in the Court Council Chambers. Council work sessions are at 6:30 p.m. on the second and last Mondays of each month.


To cultivate a progressive, vibrant community fostering an environment of opportunity, inclusion, and security, we strive to be a city inspired by innovation, guided by ethics and enhanced by diversity.


To enhance the quality of life for our community, the City of Kennesaw is dedicated to providing fiscally responsible, innovative, efficient services and cultural resources.


The City of Kennesaw is guided by core values supporting the fulfillment of the mission and vision of the City. These core values are fundamental to our city’s success and reflect the RESPECT we have for our community and organization.

We are:  Responsible, Ethical, Safe, Professional, Engaged, Connected and Transparent

Kennesaw Accolades

  • Awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for the 19th consecutive year.

  • Smith-Gilbert Gardens was listed #3 on Kids Out and About's List of the Top 20 Place to Take Kids in and around Atlanta.

  • The Frank Boone Dog Park at Swift-Cantrell Park was named Best of Cobb by Cobb Life Magazine.

  • The Kennesaw Police Department was awarded the Kennesaw Business Association Community Citizen Award in recognition and celebration of their outstanding dedication and service to the Kennesaw Community.
  • The City of Kennesaw was named number six on the National Council for Home Safety and Security's 2020 Safest Cities in Georgia list. To identify the safest cities in Georgia, the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics are reviewed. A total of 3,381 cities were factored into this ranking.

  • The City of Kennesaw was recognized as one of the Most Budget-Friendly Georgia Cities for Homeowners With a Mortgage and one of the Most Budget-Friendly Georgia Cities for Renters. After analyzing both the median income and average mortgage and rent costs for more than 25,000 U.S. cities, LendEDU recognized those cities that are the most budget-friendly places for both homeowners and renters, and Kennesaw was ranked in the top 25 in the State of Georgia for both categories! Kennesaw had a total of 17,476 houses with a mortgage, and only 4,333 of those houses had a mortgage that costs 30% or more of the household income, or 24.79%. Kennesaw had a median household income of $77,603 and had an average annual rent cost of $15,348 for a rent-to-income ratio of 19.78%.

Community Development

The City is part of metro Atlanta and benefits from the large, diverse economy. Regionally, the optimistic economic projections for 2020 were quickly devolved into uncertainty with the onset of COVID-19. Throughout 2020, metro Atlanta’s economic health pulsed with the peaks and valleys of the virus. The good news is there was nothing structurally wrong with the economy, and metro Atlanta is doing better than most. Considering pent-up demand and the prospect of additional stimulus, we are expecting a robust recovery in 2021.
Development Activity
For calendar year 2020, the City saw $802,409 in permit revenue, representing $540,271,693 in valuation. $630,740 of that revenue came after COVID-19’s onset in April. Comparatively, calendar year 2019 saw $559,134 in revenue (+43%), representing $260,393,549 (+107%) in valuation.

Despite the impact of COVID-19, several projects came to fruition during 2020, including: Enclave at Depot Park, Village at Fullers Chase townhomes, Apotheos Roastery, The 1808 (special event venue) and Horned Owl Brewery.

The City continues to see positive movement in the residential market. The following projects were at various stages in the development process at the end of the fiscal year: Pritchard Park, by Piedmont Residential; The Ellison, by Newport Development Partners; Kennesaw Town Center, Core Property Capital; Cantrell Crossing townhome community and the Villas at Hickory Grove, by Kerley Family Homes.

Major Employers
The top employers in the City have remained fairly stable during 2020. They have not added a significant number of jobs, but we have seen continued capital investment in their operations. Some of our key businesses such as Atlanta Bonded Warehouse, Deerland Enzyme and Fabric.com continue to invest and grow. Deerland is poised for a facility expansion at their 2995 Cobb International location in 2021.


  • 120 residential units were completed in 2020; 483 residential units are scheduled to be completed in 2021

  • $51M of new capital investment added 50,000 square feet of completed commercial space in 2020

  • Issued 2,174 construction permits in 2020

  • Performed 3,498 building inspections and 6,873 code inspections

Recreation & Culture

Parks & Recreation provides opportunities for promoting social, physical and mental wellness for residents and visitors. The City has an impressive array of parks and facilities and a full roster of classes, camps and sports activities. In addition, numerous annual festivals, concerts, events and programs are offered to provide free entertainment for people of all ages and interests.
In 2020, the City celebrated the Groundbreaking for the new Recreation Center at Adams Park. The 42,000 square foot Recreation Center will feature three basketball courts, a fitness room, a gymnastics center, a 1/12th of a mile walking track and office space upon completion. The Recreation Center is estimated to be completed January 2022.

“Adding the Recreation Center to the city’s amenities will be such a blessing to the community,” says Parks & Recreation Director, Steve Roberts. “The basketball courts and extra space will allow us to offer more programs like basketball, volleyball, pickleball and senior aerobics, just to name a few. This will allow our department to grow and become even more of an economic driver for our community.”
The Department of Parks & Recreation also renovated one of the City’s pocket parks in the Wrens Ridge neighborhood with additional play structures and fencing.

The Southern Museum


The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History, a prestigious Smithsonian Affiliations member, is a family-friendly destination devoted to trains, big and small. The Museum is home to the General, the locomotive stolen by Union spies in what came to be known as “The Great Locomotive Chase,” one of the most daring episodes of the Civil War. The Museum’s collection ranges from military artifacts, including two of the first Medals of Honor ever awarded, to objects that tell the personal story of civilians and other groups that are often overlooked.

The nation’s only full-scale reproduction of a belt-driven locomotive assembly line, including an office, pattern shop, factory equipment, and two locomotives in various stages of development, tells the story of manufacturing and trains in the South after the war. Visitors will also find Georgia’s ‘Merci’ Gratitude Boxcar, a gift of thanks from the people of France for providing aid to their war-torn country following World War II. For little train enthusiasts, the 5,000 square feet education center is full of interactives and playsets for kids of all ages.


The Southern Museum offers year-round programs and events, from the popular Mommy & Me weekly preschool program to our annual model-train extravaganza Trains, Trains, Trains held every January. For students, field trip options that meet Georgia state curriculum standards are tailored for age appropriateness and can be customized to meet specific requirements. We also bring the Museum to local schools with virtual and in-classroom outreach. For researchers, the Museum library and archives contain over 3,000 linear feet of material available to view upon request. The Southern Museum is also the perfect venue to host private events, weddings, corporate gatherings, and children’s birthday parties.

Smith-Gilbert Gardens


Smith-Gilbert Gardens is the City of Kennesaw’s botanical garden. Voted one of the top three places to take children in the Atlanta metro area, the 17-acre property is rich with botanical, artistic and historic treasures. Fifteen themed garden spaces, anchored by the reconstruction era Hiram Butler House, contain more than 4,000 curated plant species. The award winning “Garden with Wings” butterfly house (open every July) promotes conservation of beneficial Georgia native pollinators.

The crevice garden displays a gardening style and plant collection rarely seen in the Southeastern United States. Robust collections of hydrangeas, camellias, conifers and roses along with woodland and perennial gardens inspire visitors to explore variety for their own landscapes. Blending horticulture and art, the bonsai collection includes more than 70 trees, diligently trained during monthly work sessions that are open to garden visitors. Each spring during Art Blooms, thousands of daffodils highlight the Gardens’ remarkable outdoor sculpture collection by nationally and internationally known artists. Koi ponds, a waterfall, and child-friendly play structures throughout the property round out the experience.


On site and virtual field trips for pre-K through 12th grade are aligned with the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. Annual events include a family-friendly Easter Egg Hunt, Hummingbird Banding event, Rose Garden Gala and Garden Gallop 5K. The curated Gift Shop & Art Gallery features one-of-a-kind artwork, as well as a vibrant selection of products, including jewelry, pottery, logo apparel and souvenirs, educational games and nature-inspired crafts.

A core group of more than 200 active volunteers assists with gardening projects, education programs, and special events. Local businesses support SGG through sponsorships, as well as team-building volunteer workdays.

Public Works

The Public Works Department provides a wide range of services that have significant positive economic impact, improve people’s lives and help define the quality of life for residents and visitors.

The Department’s core services include maintenance and repair of the city’s infrastructure (streets, curb, gutters and right-of-way), cemetery operations, stormwater maintenance, environmental services, supervision of trash collection and recycling services, fleet maintenance and capital project management.

  • The Department maintains 105 miles of streets

  • 1.5 miles of streets resurfaced ($360,000 project)

  • Received $350,000 in Community Development Block Grant for curb and gutter and stormwater upgrades

  • $2.1 million spent in SPLOST Transportation projects

  • 896 erosion control inspections performed

Public Safety

The City of Kennesaw Police Department experienced an overall decrease of nearly 16% in Part 1 crimes from the previous year. Our agency attributes this tremendous success to several factors, including our utilization of progressive criminal intelligence methods and conducting effective patrols in high-crime areas of the city. Another reason for this success was driven by actively building partnerships and relationships with residents, businesses and law enforcement partners.

During the unprecedented times of 2020, our officers endured one of the toughest years that law enforcement has seen in decades. Though a pandemic and social injustice protests, our officers carried themselves with professionalism and dignity. They were able to adjust all operations accordingly in regards to any CDC guidelines due to COVID-19 restrictions. During local protests, KPD officers represented the badge in a way that gave our community confidence in our agency. We were able to connect with protest organizers and develop relationships, which are still continuing to this day.

KPD has added more hours of training and have adjusted our Use of Force policies. All of our officers received an average of 8 hours firearms training; whereas the State of Georgia only requires 4 hours per year. Our officers received in-house classroom training in de-escalation techniques, cultural diversity and mental health and also received training in stop-sticks, Taser usage and domestic violence investigations.

Officer Michael O’Brien and his foundation, The Community Incident Response Foundation along with numerous supporters donated money and time to ensure that families in need had a hot Thanksgiving meal. They smoked 20 turkeys and along with a turkey, each family was also provided with green beans, stuffing, yams, a loaf of bread and a pie.

During the holidays, KPD received several donations to the Jerry Worthan Christmas Fund. We accepted 19 families with a total of 45 kids in 2020. Of those, 14 families with a total of 28 kids were adopted by the Optimist Club and two other local families. The police department shopped for 5 families with a total of 17 kids. Each family received their presents with such gratitude.

  • Staff includes 68 full-time and 5 part-time sworn positions

  • Kennesaw ranks as one of the safest cities in Georgia with a 2017 crime rate of 1,611 per 100,000 population, the state average was 3,147.2 per 100,000 population

  • Kennesaw Acworth 911 answered 69,928 calls

  • 92.71% of all 911 calls were answered in less than 10 seconds

Governmental Revenues:
Where the Money Comes From

The General Fund is the primary operating fund for the City’s core services. A fund balance is achieved when city revenues exceed expenses. Taxes make up the largest portion of incoming money for the City.

Other sources include licensing and permits, intergovernmental revenue such as grants or shared revenues, fines and forfeitures, charges for services, investment earnings and other miscellaneous revenues.

    Governmental Expenditures:
    Where the Money Goes

    Providing quality services for constituents comes at a cost. Expenditures consist of general government support, public safety, municipal court, public work, planning, inspections, code enforcement and economic development and culture & recreation costs covering city parks and amenities and coordinating special events.

      Governmental Activities

      Net position is the difference between assets and liabilities. Net position often serves as a useful indicator of the City’s financial health. The changes in net position result from financial activity. More details can be found in the CAFR.

      Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)

      A detailed list of the 2005, 2011 and 2016 SPLOST projects can be found on the City's website, as well as the project list for 2022 SPLOST.

      • Depot Park: Phases 1-5 completed. Construction nearing completion for Phase 6 (parking lot construction) & 7 (upper meadow and wetland bridges). Estimated completion Spring 2021. Phase 8 (amphitheater) is currently in the design phase.

      • Rec Center: Construction underway. The 42,000 square foot Recreation Center will feature three basketball courts, a fitness room, a gymnastics center, a 1/12th of a mile walking track and office space upon completion.

      • Smith-Gilbert Gardens: Phase One under construction, estimated completion Spring 2021. Phase One includes additional parking & site improvements.

      • Facility Improvements: City Hall roof restoration completed, additional facility improvements are currently underway and/or ongoing.

      • Old Highway 41: Widening road, drainage improvements and installing traffic signal at Stanley Road. Construction underway. Project is nearing completion. (Project ties to Cobb DOT intersection improvement project on Barrett Pkwy.)

      • Ben King Road: Improvements focus on reducing congestion and safety considerations from Cherokee St. to McCollum. Engineering and design underway, right-of-way acquisition underway. Construction anticipated to begin Fall 2021.

      • Cherokee Street: Project includes widening the road to four (4) lanes, intersection improvements and adding curb, gutter and sidewalks and a multi-use path. Right-of-way acquisition is currently underway. Construction anticipated to begin Fall 2021.

      Communication &
      Community Engagement

      Our City offers a wealth of activities we want everyone to hear about, participate in and enjoy. We use a multi-media approach for communications.


      The City’s website is a great source for information about services, programs and events. Details about public meetings, employment opportunities, community events and so much more can be found online. In addition to being a great source of valuable news and information, residents can also take advantage of the many online services, including citation, property tax, business license and sanitation payment, municipal code online, road condition alerts and the “Report a Concern” support system for Code Enforcement.

      Social & App

      An e-newsletter is sent to subscribers twice monthly, the day following a regularly scheduled Mayor & Council Meeting. The City is also engaged on a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Next Door. Community members can also access City information on the City's mobile app! App users are able to view latest updates for news, find information about event dates, times and locations and add them to their mobile calendar, find nearby businesses, including restaurants and retail, pay bills online and access the City’s “Report a Concern” portal. The City of Kennesaw mobile app is available for download on Apple & Google Play!


      The City offers numerous opportunities for citizen engagement. Attendance is encouraged at all public meetings and citizens are encouraged to apply to serve on one of the City’s boards, commissions or committees.


      The City invites you to attend one of our many festivals, 5k races or outdoor movies. An annual free luncheon recognizes veterans, and the Mayor often acknowledges group or individual achievement with proclamations at Council meetings. The Police Department conducts a Citizen’s Police Academy, as well as personal safety classes such as active shooter training. And don’t forget the weekly Farmers Market event!