“If I have seen farther, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton’s famous quote came to mind when I saw my thoughts from a recent issue between Jeff Whitten and his ode to the used underdrawers and Dick Yarborough talking to a syrup bottle, but I digress.
As promised, here is the next installment in a small series of Pembroke’s recent accomplishments. Recently, we covered the roads and routes; today we’ll get off the pavement and talk about houses.
If you’ve been up Camellia Drive between the intersection and Bryan County Schools in the last few months, you’ve seen four brand new, single-family homes built by the enormously talented Harron Lee of Country Heritage Homes. These lots were purchased and homes constructed with CHIP (Community Home Investment Program) grant funds from the Dept of Community Affairs.
These homes are to be the catalyst of a revolving fund meaning once they are sold, the funds are to be reinvested in more homes and so on. Well the Pembroke team did one better: applied for and received another CHIP grant before the first houses were completed! This year work will begin on a master-planned community on the city-owned DuBois Square and Morris Corner lots. Up to ten homes will be constructed along with park space, water, sewer and fire protection improvements, rehabilitated sidewalk and paving of Mary Street.
The funds and scoring for this program (like almost every program in the country) relies heavily on Census data. As you all know, 2020 is a census year. As of Monday morning, over 60% of Americans have responded, 57.9% of Georgians have responded but only 43.9% of Pembroke has responded. This means that if the census ended Monday, Pembroke may only be eligible for less than half of the state and federal funds that 100% of its population is entitled to. These funds go to schools, medical facilities, LMIG funds to fix roads, GEFA loans to fix water systems, CHIP funds to determine need for affordable housing, SNAP and WIC funds for family nutrition, SPLOST and T-SPLOST funds to determine Pembroke’s share of Bryan County sales tax revenue. Imagine if Bryan County schools only received 43.9% of the lunches they are supposed to serve every day.
The Census is also valuable for industry data. If a site selector is looking for a place to locate an industry and less than half of the working age people didn’t fill out their census form, he/she may determine that there aren’t enough potential employees to support the industry and move on to the next site.
It takes 5 minutes to fill out a form with way less information on it than your facebook page then those names and addresses are sealed for 72 years leaving only numbers and statistics visible. This only happens every ten years and is the easiest representation you’ll ever receive beyond voting. Go online, respond via mail, call someone in local government for help or wait until August when the good folks come door to door.
Now about them pretty red legs. I’d like to salute the good folks at SUEZ for maintaining and rehabilitating our North Main Street water tank. It’s been a while since the old Bryan County Redskin emblem and the base and legs of the tank shone so bright and vivid red. Good news, we had enough left over to paint the old red caboose downtown.
Next: For better or for worse (Public Safety), for sickness and in health (Public Health), as long as we both shall live (the Northside Cemetery story).
Floyd is Pembroke city administrator.