2023 Popular Annual
Financial Report

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Dear Kennesaw Residents & Friends,

Welcome to the City of Kennesaw’s Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023. 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

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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.

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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.

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Mission

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.
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Vision

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.
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Values

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

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downtown kennesaw
main street on the move



From hometown history to hopping hotspots, burgers and brews to rhythm and views, there’s always something new to discover in Downtown Kennesaw.

Grab your favorite morning coffee and find a sunny spot to watch Main Street come to life. Meet the crew for lunch and a leisurely sidewalk storefront stroll. Explore some local history then make tracks to grab your favorite sweet treat. Catch up over a local brew, then catch a concert in the park. Every day, you’ll find a new way to play right here at home.

Welcome to Downtown Kennesaw. Welcome to Main Street on the Move.


Visit the Downtown Kennesaw Website!

Community Development

Development Activity

The residential market continues to show strong performance in Kennesaw. In FY 23 the following residential projects were completed: Pritchard Park by Piedmont Residential, 14SixtyFive by Fountain Residential and The Legacy at Walton Kennesaw. Additional projects continuing at various stages in the development process include: The Landing at Summers Street, Arris Holding/Core Capital; Galt Commons, Sanctuary Development; The Lacy at South Main, High Point; Devin’s Shire, Wieland Homes; East Park Village Townhomes and Haven at Stanley by Traton Homes. In the commercial and industrial sectors, approximately 700,000 square feet were completed in FY 23.

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Ribbon Cuttings in 2023

Major Employers

The top employers in the City have remained stable during FY 23. We have seen continued capital investment in their operations with some added jobs. Key businesses like Atlanta Bonded Warehouse and Deerland Enzyme continue to invest and grow. Yamaha Marine Division completed an expansion in FY 23 and the Kia Training Center opened in the Kennesaw 75 development, bringing additional investment and job growth to Kennesaw.

Recreation & Culture

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Kennesaw Parks & Recreation is committed to providing public parks, facilities and recreation experiences that enrich the quality of life for area residents and visitors. The City has branded itself as a destination with quality parks and facilities and a full roster of classes, camps and sport activities. In addition, the City provides numerous annual festivals, concerts, events and programs for all ages and interests.

Kennesaw Parks & Recreation has always been committed to providing public parks, facilities and recreation experiences that enrich the quality of life for area residents and visitors. This year we added to the memorable experiences with the opening of The Piedmont Bank Amphitheater at Depot Park. The amphitheater is nestled in historic downtown Kennesaw.  Residents will enjoy concerts, programs and other activities that make each experience a special memory. 

The City continues to expand events, classes, camps and sport activities for all ages and interests. This year we expanded pickleball with the opening of four outdoor pickleball courts at Adams Park.  We will also expand fitness opportunities with a new outdoor fitness station at Swift Cantrell Park. Our program offerings have expanded to provide a wider array of fitness classes at the Recreation Center, STEAM programming and our Senior Clubhouse. The Senior Luncheon Series has taken off and our Summer Spectacular has been a great addition to our event line up.

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The Recreation Center at Adams Park is considered one of the best tournament facilities in the metro area.   We have hosted gymnastics, basketball, pickleball and volleyball tournaments. The 42,000 square foot Recreation Center features three basketball courts, nine pickle ball courts, three volleyball courts, two fitness rooms, a gymnastics center, a walking track and office space.

The Department of Parks & Recreation also utilizes impact fees to renovate several pocket parks in our community.  This year we will renovate Terry Lane Park.

We will continue to strive to make Kennesaw a better place to live, work and play as we “Play It Forward.”


The Recreation Center is also popular with the Kennesaw Community with 15,000 members to date.

The Southern Museum


How many people visited the museum in 2023?
34,189
Visitors

Interesting artifacts donated in 2023

  • Tara Plantation Dollhouse, built c. 2000
  • Black and white panoramic photograph of the East Cambridge, Massachusetts G.A.R. Post 57 at the Washington Convention c.1910
  • A set of five Harper’s Weekly Magazine pages featuring illustrations from the coverage of the Civil War, c.1860s
  • St. Louis- San Francisco Railway (Frisco) Porter Uniform and Cap, c.1940
  • Western and Atlantic Railroad train pass for Samuel E. Holt, 1875
  • Marietta and North Georgia Railroad timetable and map, 1895
  • Marietta and North Georgia Railroad train pass, 1887
  • Flagman's cap for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N), c. 1940
  • Railway lantern used by the Atlanta, Knoxville, and Northern Railway, c. 1900

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 stories 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-foot 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 plants. The award-winning “Garden with Wings” butterfly house (open June and July) promotes the 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 spring flowers highlight the Gardens’ remarkable outdoor sculpture collection by nationally and internationally known artists. Koi ponds, a waterfall and a viewing pavilion round out the serene experience. On-site, and in-classroom outreach field trips for pre-K through 12th grade are aligned with the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. Adults can enjoy programming offered throughout the year. Programs highlight art, horticulture, and wellness in nature.  Annual events include Art Hatch - a family-friendly Egg Hunt, Pollinator Palooza, and the Music & Monarchs concert in the Gardens. The curated Gift Shop & Art Gallery features one-of-a-kind artwork for sale from local artists and a vibrant selection of products, including jewelry, pottery, logo apparel and souvenirs, educational games and nature-inspired crafts.

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.

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Christmas Lights Hung
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 of streets resurfaced ($1,800,000 project)
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Vehicles
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sidewalk replacement and new installation
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Erosion control Site inspections
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of Storm relining

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 at least 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!


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Total 911 Calls, including Abandoned & Text-to-911
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Total Incoming Kennesaw Acworth 911 Calls
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Total 10-Digit Non-Emergency Calls

96.47%

Calls Answered in less than 15 Seconds

98.17%

Calls answered in less than 20 Seconds

*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 Kennesaw Police Department remains dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and safety within the City of Kennesaw, both for its residents and those who traverse its streets, conduct business, and pursue personal interests within its bounds. With a strong commitment to fostering community ties, the police department and its staff diligently address the community's needs and concerns. Over the past year, our Community Engagement Department has been actively developing new initiatives, organizing events, and engaging through social media platforms, all aimed at nurturing connections within the vibrant fabric of the City of Kennesaw.

Our presence in the social media sphere is dynamic, utilizing various platforms to reach a wide audience. These platforms serve as invaluable channels for timely updates, weather and traffic advisories, and even crucial emergency notifications. Throughout the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, social media has proven instrumental in facilitating meaningful interactions with the residents of Kennesaw and beyond.

A remarkable highlight in our calendar was the third annual "One Community: A Celebration of Unity" event. This event, collaboratively orchestrated with a coalition of faith leaders and community advocates, exemplified our commitment to celebrating diversity and unity within our community. It was a family-oriented affair that resonated with the values that bind us together.


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For more than four decades, the Kennesaw Police Department has been honored to participate in the Jerry Worthan Memorial Christmas Fund. This charitable mission of spreading joy to less fortunate families by providing gifts to their children aligns seamlessly with our values and purpose.

National Night Out, an annual initiative promoting partnerships between law enforcement and the community, was a resounding success in 2023. Our collaboration with the Cobb County DA's office, Georgia State Patrol, various first responders and vendors resulted in a memorable event that underscored our shared commitment to safer neighborhoods and enhanced community camaraderie.

Symbolizing our unwavering support for Special Olympics, the Law Enforcement Torch Run, referred to as Guardians of the Flame, remains a cornerstone of our community involvement. This grassroots fundraising effort raises awareness and support for Special Olympics athletes, fostering inclusivity and celebrating the human spirit. The capstone of this fundraiser was the the Main Street Cruise-In, held in Downtown Kennesaw.

An equally impactful endeavor is the Polar Plunge, a nationwide fundraising campaign for Special Olympics. By participating in this event through our Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) program, we help contribute to the provision of year-round sports training and competitions for over 17,000 Special Olympics athletes in Georgia.


Leveraging the latest in technology, the Kennesaw Police Department incorporated FUSUS software into privately owned and public cameras.  The software provides the ability of law enforcement to access donor site cameras for law enforcement purposes.

Collaborating closely with the Cobb County Domestic Violence Task Force, the Kennesaw Police Department joined hands to host the third annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event. Men donned women's high heels and embarked on a one-mile walk, shining a spotlight on sexual assault awareness and raising funds for the new Cobb Family Advocacy Center.

The continuation of the Citizens Police Academy in 2023 epitomized our dedication to transparency and community engagement. This unique program offers residents an immersive glimpse into the diverse functions of our police department, complete with hands-on training that illuminates our capabilities. Open to all who reside, work, or engage in the City of Kennesaw, the Citizens Police Academy serves as a bridge of understanding and collaboration.

Nurturing the next generation of law enforcement enthusiasts, the Kennesaw Public Safety Cadets Program offers young individuals a valuable platform to gain insights into the field. Through participation in local and national competitions alongside fellow explorers from various law enforcement agencies, they receive training in diverse areas, from criminal law to first aid and firearms.

Joining forces with the Cobb County Police Department, we have imbedded crime analyst at the only Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) in Georgia. This partnership allows Kennesaw Police to access real time tag readers and video data from across the County for investigative purposes.

 


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Captain Rick Shumpert


graduated from Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command College, Class 54.

Officer Franklyn Maloney 


received the 2023 Kennesaw Police Officer of The Year award.

Officer Jared Wheeler


received the Valor award from the Cobb Chamber of Commerce for his actions in rescuing a teenager who fell through ice on a local pond.

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 ACFR.

      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.


      • Started concept and design of a new Public Safety building

      • Started Construction on Depot Park Phase 8 which consists of the Restroom and Amphitheatre

      • LED light conversion of City Hall

      • Replacement of multiple older HVAC units at the Southern Museum with new more efficient ones

      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.

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      WEB VISITORS

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      NEW SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS

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      NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS

      Website

      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!

      Meetings

      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.

      Engagement

      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!

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