2021 Popular Annual
Dear Kennesaw Residents & Friends,
Welcome to the City of Kennesaw’s Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021. 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.
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.
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
Several projects were completed downtown during 2021, including: Lazy Labrador Coffeehouse, Horned Owl Brewing and Piedmont Injury Law, and the final retail space at Revival on Main was leased for an expansion of Honeysuckle Biscuits and Bakery.
The City continues to see positive movement in the residential market. The following projects were completed in FY 22: Lewis House Residential by True North; Cantrell Crossing Townhomes and the Villas at Hickory Grove, by Kerley Family Homes, and The Ellison, By Newport Development Partners. Additional projects continuing at various stages in the development process include: Pritchard Park, by Piedmont Residential; Kennesaw Town Center, Core Property Capital; Galt Commons, Sanctuary Development; East Park Village Townhomes and Haven at Stanley by Traton Homes.
The top employers in the City have remained fairly stable during 2021. We have seen continued capital investment in their operations with some added jobs. Key businesses like 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 2022.
409 residential units were completed in 2021; 483 residential units are scheduled to be completed in 2022
$53.9M of new capital investment added 75,000 square feet of completed commercial space in 2021
Issued 2756 construction permits in 2021
Performed 4,674 building inspections and 8,357 code inspections
Recreation & Culture
“Adding the Recreation Center to the city’s amenities will be such a blessing to the community,” said 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 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 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.
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 ($420,000 project)
Approximately 950 erosion control inspections performed
Kennesaw Acworth 911 (KA911)
Kennesaw Acworth 911 handles all emergency calls for the cities of Kennesaw and Acworth, providing the vital communications link between residents of both cities and emergency services in Kennesaw, Acworth, and Cobb County. It became self-sufficient in 2006 and operates, using no dollars, from the City’s General Fund.
Located in Downtown Kennesaw, the 911 Center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Kennesaw Acworth 911 employs twelve (12) Emergency Communications Officers (ECO), four (4) Shift Supervisors, and one (1) 911 Director. There are two (2) ECOs and one (1) Supervisor per shift. The shifts run from 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM and 6:00 PM - 6:00 AM.
Staff completed 24 hours of continuing education in an effort to best serve our community and public safety family by learning new skills and refreshing old ones throughout various aspects of our job.
Even with the staffing crisis, the KA911 team was able to continue keeping our public safety family protected, complete all their training hours and train new ECOs, all while continuing to serve our community above national standards!
Total 911 Calls, including Abandoned & Text-to-911 – 24,730
Total 10-Digit Non-Emergency Calls – 65,115
Total Incoming Kennesaw Acworth 911 Calls – 89,845
Percentage of Calls Answered in less than 15 Seconds - 95.86%
Percentage of Calls Answered in less than 20 Seconds - 98.46%
* NENA (National Emergency Number Association) Standard is “90% of all 9-1-1 calls be answered within 15 seconds and 95% answered within 20 seconds."
Kennesaw Police Department
The City of Kennesaw Police Department has made several strides with Community Engagement during 2021. On the heels of George Floyd’s death and the civil unrest that followed, Chief Westenberger had an opportunity to attend a roundtable discussion hosted by several African American pastors and community leaders with over 100 people in attendance. After the event, the Chief contacted one of the organizers and received assistance organizing a Citizen’s Advisory Board. The Board focuses on exchanging information to help with perspective, as well as discussing any community concerns. The Chief is also able to provide members of the board with insight on policies and procedures in an effort to better serve and work together in keeping our community safe.
In conjunction with the Chief Advisory Board, the department held its first annual “One Community: A Celebration of Unity” event. In partnership with a team of faith and community leaders, we were able to celebrate the community, the diversity of the community, and unity with a family-friendly event.
During the year the Department conducted several other community outreach events including the first “Walk a Mile in Her Shoe” event to raise awareness of Domestic violence and sexual assault. The Department partnered with the Cobb County Domestic Violence Task Force for this event.
The department began “Blue Line Story Time”, a video series that highlights a Kennesaw Police Officer reading a children’s book in a location that is historically and notably significant to the City of Kennesaw. During the recorded reading, the officer provides interesting and educational facts about the location and themselves, in an effort to assist with community engagement during the pandemic.
The Department was able to assist 90 children with the annual Jerry Worthy Christmas Fund, a non-profit charity whose organization provides gifts and food to children of less fortunate families. For over 40 years, the Kennesaw Police Department has participated in this wonderful event with honor.
The Department has continued to make strides to ensure that our officers receive the training needed to help them better serve the community. In 2021 officers attended approximately 10,000 hours of training. The Department also implemented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into our In-Service Defensive Tactics training, to ensure that Officers are better trained to handle use of force situations. The implementation of this training has led to a reduction in use of force due to the officers being better trained, more confident in their abilities, and better skilled at de-escalation.
In 2021 the Department experience a 24% increase in crime over the previous year. The majority of the increases resulted from Larcenies. In order to combat the increases, the Department implemented a Criminal Interdiction Unit. This specialized patrol team focuses on the prevention of crime and patrolling high crime areas in an attempt to locate crimes in progress and investee criminal activity complaints.
The Department consists of 67 full-time, 5 part-time sworn positions, and 10 civilian positions.
Where the Money Comes From
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.
Where the Money Goes
Where the Money Goes
Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST)
Depot Park: Phases 6 & 7 completed. Phase 6 included parking lot construction & Phase 7 included upper meadow and wetland bridges.
Rec Center: Construction completed December 2021. The 42,000 square foot Recreation Center features three basketball courts, a fitness room, a gymnastics center, a 1/12th of a mile walking track and office space.
Smith-Gilbert Gardens: Phase One completed. 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. Project completed.
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 2022.
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 2022.
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!