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Council readies to OK $1.7M spending plan
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The Pembroke City Council is set to approve its proposed 2013 spending plan of $1.7 million that includes a mill increase to fund various city projects.
A public hearing regarding the proposed budget garnered no attendance from residents and little from the council itself with only member Kim McGhee and City Clerk Betty Hill present.
No action was expected during the hearing, although the council does plan to vote on the matter during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.
Hill explained the proposed 2013 budget is based on a millage rate of 10, which the council unanimously approved in August to increase from 8.359 mills. This is the first time the city has raised the millage rate since 2008.
The hike is expected to generate around $64,000 for various projects in the city, including a contract with IT in a Box for a new city website, a reverse 911 system, 10 new streetlights, repairs to the city’s pool, a new heating and air-conditioning unit at City Hall, expenses to implement the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing program and more.
Mayor Mary Warnell previously said a lot of the projects are one-time projects, and she is hopeful that the millage rate won’t stay at 10 mills for more than a year.
Hill said the proposed 2013 budget is about $80,000 more than the 2012 budget due to the mill increase, as well as an increase in local option sales tax (LOST), the city’s largest expected revenue source for the coming year.
LOST accounts for about $530,000 of the 2013 budget, an estimated increase of $24,000 over 2012, Hill said. Unlike the special purpose local option sales tax (SPLOST), the local option sales tax is used for property tax relief for residents and to assist cities, or counties, with funding to enhance normal maintenance and operations for the city, according to the Georgia Municipal Association website.
Another big source of revenue for the city is property taxes, which accounts for about $356,000. However, Hill noted the city’s property tax base isn’t very large.
“Many of our homeowners pay no taxes at all due to exemptions,” she said.
The third largest source of revenue for Pembroke is fines and forfeitures from the police department, which is expected to bring in about $195,000 in 2013.
Hill said the proposed budget also puts an emphasis on public safety and public works departments, which together account for about $1.3 million. The fire department accounts for about $133,000 of the budget, while the police department accounts for about $511,000.

See more in the Dec. 5 edition of the News.

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