Kennesaw appoints new economic development director; holds first budget hearing

Kennesaw City HallKennesaw government complex (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Luke Howe will take over as economic development director for the City of Kennesaw when longtime director Robert Fox retires at the end of September.

Howe has been Doraville’s director of economic development and executive director to the development authority since 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he was assistant to the Doraville mayor. He was appointed to the Kennesaw position by City Manager Jeff Drobney, a decision that was unanimously approved at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

According to Drobney, Howe oversaw the mixed-use redevelopment of the old Doraville 165-acre GM assembly site near Peachtree Road and I-285.

“I’m grateful and honored. Looking forward to advancing the success that the city has cultivated over the years,” Howe said.



The first public budget hearing was held at Monday’s meeting. Finance Director Gina Auld presented the proposed 2021 $25 million budget, an increase of 1% from last year. Kennesaw City Council already approved the millage rate of 8 mills, which has remained unchanged since 2008. The overall tax revenue is budgeted at a 3% increase.

Highlights from the budget include:

*No employee cost of living adjustment due to the effects of COVID-19

*Recommends unfreezing full-time position of assistant public works director and part-time zoning clerk

*Nine positions are being reclassified to better align with job responsibilities, mostly in relation to the new recreation center

*Four new part-time positions have been created for recreation center facility monitors and for one business license compliance officer

*$807,588 will go into the city’s reserve operating account

According to Auld, the reserve account is at $4.9 million, which is about three months worth of operating expenses. The recommendation is to have two-four months in reserve.

The next public hearing and final adoption are scheduled for Sep. 21 at 6:30 p.m.

The proposed budget can be viewed in full here.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.