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Pembroke millage rate to rise
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The City of Pembroke millage rate has tentatively been set to increase this year, according to the City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 8.

Last year’s millage rate was 7.373 and the proposed new rate is 8.302, or an increase of .929 mills.

City Clerk Betty Hill said the increase mostly has to do with the homestead exemptions.

"We knew it would hit us hard, and our budget runs close anyway because we have a smaller tax base in Pembroke," she said.

The city will now hold three public hearings regarding the increase. They have been scheduled in the Community Center at City Hall on Oct. 15 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m.; and a called meeting on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. will set the rate and get the taxes out, Hill said.

In community events, the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary would like to invite the community to come and help decorate Pembroke for Veterans Day. President Susie McGee and Cindy Milloy were at the council meeting to request permission to provide refreshments for the community during the event.

"All of you go down 280 and you look at the flags and you say, ‘oh how beautiful they are.’ But do any of you really realize the work that goes into that? Well, we’re here to invite you, on Saturday, Nov. 10. The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 164 along with the Boy Scout Troop 357 will be placing the flags on Hwy. 280 for Veterans Day holiday," McGhee said.

"It is our hope that the citizens of Pembroke will come out, lift their arms, and get in and go to work and find out what it takes to put those flags up," she said. "We will have refreshments for any of you that would like to come out there and help us, along with the Boy Scouts, put up those flags."

The board unanimously approved the groups to put on the event and provide refreshments to the public. Milloy said there will be a ceremony starting at 11 a.m. on Nov. 10, with the flag raising beginning directly after the ceremony.

Two other community events were also approved.

The Bryan County High School’s request for a Homecoming Parade permit was unanimously approved. The parade will commence on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 4 p.m. The route will be the same as in prior years, from Warnell to Hwy. 280.

The Bryan County 4-H club’s request for its annual Christmas Parade permit was also unanimously approved. The holiday parade will be Saturday, Dec. 8, starting at 11 a.m. and journeying down its usual route.

In other issues:

- An annexation ordinance, presented by Willard Lee and Billy Miles at the last meeting, was approved on its second reading. Lee and Miles have asked their properties on Harry Hagan and Simms Roads be annexed into the city.

- An annexation request was presented by James and Martha Bennett for their property, which includes 89.33 acres on Bacon Town Road. This was the first request and Councilman Joey Burnsed raised the issue of the request from the developer to run water and sewer to the land. The developer has been advised that he will be responsible for running the lines about 500 feet to the parcel, which will include single family residential dwellings.

- Hill raised the issue of a Budget Amendment Resolution for the city’s Female Detailing Van. The current van is roughly seven years old, and has been having some A/C difficulties which will be pricey to fix.

"We have money set up to lease a vehicle in the street department, so Mr. Anderson has agreed, if we want to a budget amendment to swap that money, with $7000 from the street department into the female detainee budget to purchase a new van, we can," Hill said. The budget was amended and the council approved the purchase of a new van, and the city will hold on to the older van.

- The city had a utility truck that was stolen and stripped in Savannah; they recently received a $5,800 insurance reimbursement for the vehicle and already have $6,300 in the water budget to lease a new one.

"Our request is, versus financing $11,620 dollars, you all just approve to let us pay for a new vehicle, which is going to be $23,739. So we will pay $5,800 out of the reimbursement and $6,300 out of the lease line item and the remaining $11,620 will come out of the water and sewer money market fund," Hill said. The council approved the request.

- Last month, Ray Butler asked for a five foot set back variance on North Main Street. Planning and Zoning did not recommend the variance, due to its closeness to the street and because of drainage issues. Butler had said that the variance should not "encroach the right of way of the city," and wouldn’t influence water flow.

Since the September meeting, the variance has been reevaluated and Clerk of Works Ricky McCoy agreed that it will not have any effect on the drainage. The council approved the request.

- Ben Jones had his first reading for a rezoning request at the last meeting, for a parcel on Simms and Mason Road. The request was a rezone from A-5 to R-1, decreasing the lot size so he can build a house. Monday’s second reading was also approved.

- Jessie and Annie Fields’ request for a home occupation rezone was approved. The couple will operate a business on Taylor Street, in a separate shop outside their home, to sell beauty supplies.

- McCoy said the Community Center will not be completed until the middle of December.

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