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Pembroke to adopt budget Dec. 30
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Pembroke City Council will meet Dec. 30 to approve the 2009 budget.

The meeting follows a recent workshop where council members went over the budget looking for ways to make cuts.

"(A millage rate of) 1.699 is the magic number. It looks like we’ve done it," Mayor Judy Cook said.

Although the overall, revised figure for the Pembroke Police Department was not yet available, Cook said they were very close to balancing it.

According the council discussion, items affecting the final numbers were the deleting of $1,250 in repairs to the code enforcement vehicle by using a different patrol car, elimination of the assistant chief position, not hiring officers to fill vacant positions and no city funding for the Junior Police or National Night Out.

Council member Tiffany Walraven said instead of the city funding National Night Out, the program will continue through fund raising donations made specifically for that purpose.

According to City Clerk Betty Hill, council was also trying to work out a trade of the diesel truck donated to the Fatal Vision program for two newer patrol cars, but the stipulation on the donation of the truck was that it be used specifically for the Fatal Vision program, which is a source of grant money for the department.

Interim Chief Stacy Strickland said there are officers that have been involved in the Fatal Vision program and want to continue with it.

"We have to have the program to be eligible for specific grants. Without the grant, various items, such as laptops will have to be accounted for and possibly go back or reimbursed to their sources," Strickland said.

Cook said they intend to get and keep the Fatal Vision grant.

"It’s a good and beneficial program. We need to keep it in Bryan County," she said.

Under the streets department budget, money allotted for signs was reduced by an unspecified amount, and a hiring freeze has been implemented so no new hires will be made to fill vacant positions.

The Fire Department budget was cut by approximately $11,000, bringing it down from $117,000 to $112,000.

According to Council and Fire Committee member Tony Greeson, the largest expense, apart from necessary equipment such as hoses, brackets and nozzles, is the thermal camera requested by the department, which will cost approximately $11,000.

"The camera is needed. It can be used in more instances than just fire. The police can use it to locate a lost child, if someone is running in the woods, along with many other uses. It would be a very useful item for the city to have," Greeson said.

Other items deleted from the budget include cemetery fencing and lighting project.

Walraven said she had been contacted by residents who were still interested in the project though it was being cut and said the committee was still gathering information on overall cost for the project toward a possible donor program.

"Many have approached me and still want the improvements we were talking about. We want to open a donor program for the cemetery project so it won’t cost the city anything," she said.

After the revisions, City Clerk Betty Hill said, "I think we’re really good, honestly."

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