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Pembroke saves taxpayers more than $1 million
Pembroke Fire Dept
From left, Fire Chief Peter Waters, newly appointed Assistant Chief Dalton Cook, Capt. Paul Doyle (promoted from lieutenant), Lt. Chris Hendricks (promoted from firefighter) and Lt. Paul Rigo (promoted from firefighter). - photo by Photo provided.

Pembroke City Council voted Monday to approve a measure they expect will save city taxpayers an estimated $1.38 million.

The city will refinance more than $4.2 million in debt through the brokerage and investment firm Stifel Nicolaus, which will combine the debt from three bonds into one and trim the interest rate from 4.08 percent to 2.56 percent. That lower interest rate will be locked in for 15 years, according to information provided by Stifel Nicolaus.

The measure will cover all the money the city owes, “leaving SPLOST and other transfers available for capital outlay,” according to Stifel Nicolaus.

Had the city not refinanced the debt, which is in its proprietary fund, it would have paid more than $7 million in debt service. Under the refinancing, the city will pay less than $5.7 million.

In another financial move, the city approved the amendment of a contract between the Pembroke Downtown Development Authority and the Bryan County Board of Education regarding the purchase of the former Bryan County Elementary School building and land. The agreement, according to city attorney Thomas Branch, will delay some payments to the school district for year if the school board agrees.

The DDA hopes to convert the school into housing for senior citizens. The city is already planning to build a public safety complex on the site's playground, and a groundbreaking could be held soon, according to Mayor Judy Cook.

Pembroke agreed to buy the 6.59 acre site, which includes the school and playground, for a combined $1 million. The school itself was purchased through the city's DDA. The playground was purchased using SPLOST funds.

Also Monday, Pembroke Fire Chief Peter Waters announced the promotion of Dalton Cook to assistant fire chief and Paul Doyle from lieutenant to captain. Firefighters Paul Rigo and Chris Hendricks were promoted to lieutenant.

Council also:

*Approved a mutual aid agreement with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security.

*Approved updated job descriptions and payroll adjustments for city employees, who will see those changes to their pay in July.

*Approved the sale of surplus fire department equipment on and the renewal of a contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections for inmate labor. 

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