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Pembroke approves pay raise for workers, talks about skate park
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Pembroke’s City Council held their monthly meeting Monday with a new skate park on the agenda and employee raises for the year to be announced.

City Planner Wynn Carney discussed plans for a skateboard park to be located near the city pool, at the municipal park. The proposed park is expected to cost the city approximately $69,000 including designs, concrete, and ramps.

The city has applied for $25,000 grant with the Tony Hawk Foundation and with a recent anonymous gift to the city of $100,000 for recreation, city officials say the construction of the park should be underway by this spring.

The council voted unanimously to move forward with the plans.

Carney also discussed the resurrection of the Pembroke Theater Board. According to Carney, Vera McCoy and Mark Dacy have agreed to serve on the committee once again and several other board members are considering returning to the committee. The board will assist with fundraising efforts and preservation of the historic Tos Theater in downtown Pembroke. Carney addressed the cost of the theater project stating that in 2004 the estimate was $258,000 including prison labor.

The council voted to table discussion until further information can be provided.

Carney also reminded the council members of the upcoming comprehensive planning meeting to be held on March 13 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. According to Carney, during the meeting the Georgia Regional Development Center would like to help draft a vision statement for the city.

Tara Jennings with Bryan County Family Connections spoke with the council on behalf of a new group that Family Connections is forming; the Bryan County Drug Free Coalition. The coalition is forming to concentrate on prevention of the rising rates of underage drinking, tobacco use, and illegal prescription drug use. By forming the coalition Family Connections can seek grants and other forms of funding to help with these projects. They asked that the city enter into a partnership to support their efforts. All the council members voted to support the Bryan County Drug Free Coalition.

During department reports Finance Committee members Councilman Tony Greeson and Councilwoman Tiffany Walraven announced salary increases for the 2008 budget. The city clerk, police chief, water superintendent, street superintendent, downtown program coordinator, fire chief and all police officers including the assistant chief, part time and full time officers will receive a 2.5 percent increase. Raises of $1 per hour went to the deputy city clerk, the police department administrator, the municipal court clerk, utility clerk and all laborers- full time, part-time, seasonal, and clerical. The municipal court judge also received a small raise to $450 per month. In a 3-2 vote the council approved the new salary increases. Council members Angela Reed and Doug Kangater opposed.

Police Chief Bill Collins reported that citations were down for the past month and accidents occurrences had increased. He also discussed the department policy for citizens to report crime.

"Any citizens can report any crime unanimously by calling the Police Department at 653-4414 or 653-4409," said Collins. "We have forms for unanimous tips that they can fill out too. I personally would be glad to speak with anyone who would like to or needs to report any crime like drug activity or such and then assign the appropriate investigator to handle it."

In other city business:

- The council approved a request from the House of God Youth Department to hold a Fish Fry Fundraiser on Saturday, April 5th at the park located next to the Welcome Center in downtown Pembroke.

- They also approved a request from the Pembroke Lions Club to hold a bucket brigade fundraiser at the red light in downtown Pembroke for March 15, with a weather date of March 22.

- A first reading of the subdivision regulation amendment, section 7.1.7 was held.

- The second reading and adoption of the Georgia Power Franchise Ordinance passed unanimously with Councilwoman Walraven not being present.

- The second reading and adoption of the Weed Ordinance Amendment passed unanimously with Councilwoman Walraven not being present.

- The new Buffer Ordinance for subdivisions second reading and adoption went through unanimously with Councilwoman Walraven not being present.

- The Planned Unit Development (PUD) second reading and adoption was also approved unanimously, with Councilwoman Walraven not being present.

- The council voted unanimously to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Way to waive the utility bill for the United Way Thrift Store located at 53 N. College Street in Pembroke.

- The council voted to approve Victoria Gary’s request to rezone the lot of property located behind the Dollar General from R1 to B2. Council members Greeson and Walraven voted against it.

- The council voted unanimously to approve a home occupation permit from Richard P. Hughes of 610 N. Main St.

- The council voted unanimously to approve an eight foot variance on each side of the property to JC Vision for the lot located at 310 Poplar Street.

- The council tabled discussion for a requested variance from George Williams in order to clarify his request.

- It was announced that the city will be holding its annual City Wide Yard Sale in downtown municipal parking lot on Saturday, May 3rd. For more information, contact Downtown Programs Coordinator Tonya Raulerson at 653-5554.

The council then went into executive session to discuss a land acquisition. No action was taken. With a motion by Walraven and seconded by Reed the meeting was then adjourned.


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