By Rebecca Gaunt
Kennesaw‘s City staff has proposed a citywide operating budget of $25,887,587 for the 2022 fiscal year, a 3% increase over last year.
The millage rate will remain steady at 8 mills, as it has been since 2008. The overall tax revenue is budgeted at a 5% increase.
Other highlights of the draft budget include:
- $575,000 to fund the city’s reserve account.
- A 3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for city employees.
- Increased expected retirement contributions ($108,029) and health care costs ($300,000) spread across all departments.
City sanitation costs rose 3.27%. Republic Services is under contract to provide trash collection services to Kennesaw residents.
City Manager Jeff Drobney said the increase was minimal, “but over the past couple years we have absorbed those increases, so at some point, either this year or next year, you’re going to need to consider increasing our sanitation costs [to the public] so that we are able to maintain those services.”
Additionally, funds are allocated to hire another police officer and two part-time staff members for the new recreation center.
Council will set the dates for the public hearings at a future meeting.
In other business:
Council is considering proposed amendments to the city code of ordinances with regard to solicitation. Solicitors are required to file an application for a permit, with the city allowed ten business days to approve or deny. One of the proposed changes would shorten the period the police department has to investigate the applicant’s criminal record from 10 to five business days.
Another proposed change is to the permissible hours for solicitation. The updated ordinance would allow door-to-door solicitation from 9 a.m. until sunset, rather than ending at 6 p.m.
According to Randall Bentley, city attorney for Kennesaw, he received a letter from an attorney representing Moxie Pest Control regarding the restrictiveness of the current ordinance.
Solicitation ordinances can be challenged in court as infringing on the First Amendment if they are found to be overly restrictive.
“The Constitution, basically, has told us, or at least our courts (have), from 9 a.m. to sunset,” Bentley said.
Public hearings on the changes will take place at the July 19 and Aug. 2 city council meetings. The vote will follow the Aug. 2 hearing.
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.