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Pembroke talks budet, looks to avoid millage rate increase
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It looks like Pembroke residents won’t have to pay more in city taxes after Pembroke officials said at a budget workshop Monday they expect to keep the current 8.359 millage rate the same.

But some departmental budgets will have to be trimmed first.

Proposed department budgets for the coming fiscal year projected combined expenditures of approximately $1.77 million, with revenues estimated at $1.72 million and leaving a potential $50,000 deficit.

"We are making this budget good for the benefit of the people of Pembroke and to efficiently use the taxpayers dollars." Mayor Judy Cook said.

She said the council agreed that a majority of the departments needed to cut budgets without them dictating where specifically the cuts needed to be made.

Councilman Tony Greeson made the proposal to send the budgets back to the departments, suggesting each department cut expenditures by 10 percent.

City councilmembers also talked about a possible $2 increase in city water bills, which would generate approximately $20,000 annually and help pay for a new fire station at the workshop.

The increase would not take effect until Jan. 1, said Cook, leaving time to continue the search for potential grant money so that the increase would not be necessary.

The fire department also requested funds for new hoses, thermal imaging equipment, and safety sound devices for fire fighters entering a burning or smoke filled building. Spending $6,000 to paint the fire tanker would not be considered a priority, Cook said, because of the economic climate.

"The city is also feeling the current economic crunch." she said. "It will be important to generate funds where any excess can be used to replenish the city financial coffers. We need to build reserves where any additional funds incoming can be put into a contingency fund."

Revamping mosquito control was also discussed by the council. An estimated expense of $7,300 for a new sprayer requested by mosquito control, in addition to the $15,000 worth of chemicals needed to operate it is a rather large expense, especially since the spray does not seem to be as effective as it once was, said City Clerk Betty Hill. Alternate, more effective and cost efficient control methods need to be explored for mosquito control, Hill said, in addition to public education regarding mosquito breeding grounds.

The budget proposed by Pembroke police was more than half the entire budget and will be looked at further, Cook said.


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