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Pembroke Council approves millage rate, no tax hike
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The Pembroke City Council met briefly Monday night, but it did manage to fit in an important vote.

The council voted 4-0 to adopt a millage rate of 10.132 for the 2016 fiscal year. Councilwoman Tiffany Walraven was absent.

The rate will generate an estimated $431,922 in property-tax revenue toward the city’s projected $1.9 million operating budget, according to City Administrator Dustin Peebles.

The 10.132 rate is higher than the city’s 10.054 millage rate for fiscal-year 2015. However, the net result will not be a property-tax increase, Peebles said, because property values in the city decreased slightly overall.

“Definitely not a tax increase,” he said. “If you look at last year’s and this year’s (rate), there’s a difference in the number, but not in the actual money that we’ll receive.”

Peebles also updated the City Council on the public-safety complex in the works for Pembroke’s police and fire departments.

He told council members the city has sent a completed survey of the property to the architect, who now will begin drafting design options for the building. The facility is at least 18 months from opening, according to Peebles.

Also giving an update was City Engineer Matthew Barrow, on the new tank and well planned for Pembroke’s water system. The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the preliminary engineering and environmental reports for the project on July 28, he said.

“We expect to hear something end of this week or first of next week regarding what they’re willing to offer on the project in regards to loan or grant funds,” Barrow said.

The USDA would like to have the project approved prior to the end of its fiscal year Sept. 31, Barrow said, which likely will require the City Council to hold a called meeting in addition to its regularly scheduled one next month. He said he will give council members a “full, detailed update” at their Sept. 14 meeting.

In other business, the council gave permission for the Highway 280/Main Street intersection to be used for a pair of Bryan County High School fundraisers.

BCHS booster-club members will have a “bucket brigade” from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday to raise money for the football team’s pregame meals during the season. The Bryan County High band also will conduct a bucket brigade, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 29, to help with the cost of uniforms.

Meanwhile, Pembroke Recreation Director Mandy Toole told council members the effort to raise the rest of the money for the city’s new playground is “inching along.”

Pembroke received a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant in June. The grant, along with about $15,000 in local donations, puts the city two-thirds toward the approximately $60,000 cost of the project.

The city is reaching out to community and corporate donors to raise the remaining $20,000. The new playground is not a budgeted item and is being funded entirely by contributions.

“We’re still having a struggle,” Toole said. “I’m getting small donations, not the big chunks that I need.”

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