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Pembroke OKs budget
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Saying frugality was its motto, the Pembroke City Council approved a $1.6 million budget Monday for fiscal year 2010.

This new budget is $98,612 less than the city’s 2009 budget of $1,699,220, and is a significant decrease from Pembroke’s 2008 budget of $1.7 million.

"We have made every effort not to raise taxes while acknowledging the country’s economic position," said Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook. "Adjustments have been made to meet the needs of the community by providing services such as mosquito spraying, retaining employment positions and funding of programs."

Pembroke did not raise its millage rate this year, which is set at 8.359.

The city’s operating budget is broken down into the following categories: general fund - $189,408; municipal court - $35,446; police department - $530,418; street/sanitation - $586,310; prison detail - $54,195; fire department - $107,604; recreation department - $50,635; downtown programs - $45,662; and planning and zoning - $1,200.

The city does have a proprietary fund of $1,167,867, for city utilities. This fund is separate from the city’s operating budget.

Two other funds which are also separate from the city’s operating budget are $602,000 in SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) funds and $2,025 in confiscated assets which are overseen by the police department.

No funds were appropriated for general capital projects or water and sewer expansion from the city’s budget.

Cook said the city has received Transportation Enhancement Activity (TEA) funds from Georgia DOT to improve the downtown streetscape on Bacon Street and Warnell Avenue.

"The DOT has approved a third round of funding for the city in the amount of $200,000," she said. "This money is slated to provide improvements around the welcome center, caboose and deck."

Pembroke is expanding water and sewer lines in the city through a CDBG grant, the mayor added. The project should add 56 customers to the city’s water system.

"We will make a concerted effort to spend conservatively so we may rebuild the city’s reserve for those unexpected expenses that may arise," Cook said.

The city also will continue to apply for grants, city officials have said.

The city applied to FEMA for a grant to help offset construction costs for a new fire station. Pembroke had implemented a fire fee this year to raise money for the new station.

The $2 monthly fee shows up on city residents’ utility bills.

Pembroke City Administrator Frank Etheridge said city staff began putting a budget together in August and produced a draft budget in mid-October.

Two budget workshops were held, one in October and one in November and a public hearing on the budget was held earlier this month, Etheridge said.

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