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Pembroke rings in new year with approved spending plan
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Pembroke council members rang out the old year and anticipated the new by adopting a 2014 operating budget of $1.82 million during a brief called meeting Monday night at City Hall.

In a separate vote, the city also approved a contract for Public Safety Director Bill Collins which will pay Collins $48, 096 in 2014.

The county will fund $25,700 of that amount for Collins’ work with the Drug Free Coalition, EMA and Emergency Services.

Though there was little discussion at Monday’s meeting, Mayor Mary Warnell called the 2014 budget the result of teamwork involving department heads, the city’s Finance Committee and City Clerk Betty Hill.

“I wish to thank those who provided the documentation needed to complete the budget,” she said, noting the process “permits the city to meet its legally mandated requirements while improving our ability to communicate the specifics of our budget to the general public.”

Among the biggest ticket items in the general fund is nearly $630,000 in salaries and wages for the city’s workforce, which usually numbers around 30 employees.

That amount is divided into the budgets of several departments, ranging from police and fire and court to public works and general administration.
Among the least expensive ticket items is $100 for the public works department’s 2014 advertising budget.

By department, public works is the single biggest expense with a general fund budget of $657,665, which includes some $147,000 in salaries, $26,125 for group insurance, $108,000 for workers comp and $8,000 for signs and posts.

The city’s police department has a 2014 budget of $580,485 and its fire department budget is $139,745. The numbers include everything from salaries to the cost of operating emergency vehicles, cell phones and more.
More than $54,000 is slated for the city’s prison detail for street work, including a guard’s salary.

The city’s general administration has a budget of $149,000, which includes $47,430 in salaries and $20,000 for unspecified contract services. Computers, insurance, utilities, gasoline advertising is also part of the general administration budget. In addition, the city spends about $16,800 in salaries for its elected officials.

In terms of where the city’s money comes from, the bulk of the general fund revenue includes $500,000 in local option sales tax proceeds and more than $330,000 in property taxes, according to a budget provided to City Council members.

Fines, licensing fees and franchise fees also will bring in money for the city, which has a budget year running from Jan. 1 to Dec.31.

Though the city did not hike its millage rate of 10.2 this year, it will see an increase of about $8,000 in revenue after its rollback rate, Warnell told council members. The increase is likely due to slight growth in the tax digest over the last year.

What’s more, residents will pay an additional $1 per month in utility fees to help pay off a loan used for water and sewer extensions on Mason and W.E. Smith Roads. The new monthly base rates are $26.50 a month for water and $30.75 for sewer.

The city’s bid to continue upgrading its water and sewer system will continue in 2014, Warnell said.

Read more in the Jan. 4 edition of the News.

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