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Pembroke cuts utility fees to help economy
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The Pembroke City Council voted Monday to reduce water and sewer tap and connection fees for one year, as a way to help residents weather tough economic times.
“This is a 33 percent reduction in fees,” said Pembroke City Administrator Frank Etheridge. Fees will decrease from $4,900 to $3,300 per water and sewer meter installation.
Council members agreed to readdress the fees next year. Mayor Judy Cook said if the economy improves, connection fees could revert back to the original higher amount.
Pembroke City Council Member Tiffany Walraven recused herself from the water fee vote because she is in the process of building a house.
Builder Ray Butler, who is building a 32-unit, four-building apartment complex in the city, will be among the first to benefit from the reduction in fees. Butler negotiated a $105,600 promissory note with the city for his Old Mill Apartments project.
He will pay $25,000 when water meters are installed on the first two buildings and an additional $25,000 when meters are installed on the final two buildings. Butler will then pay the city $56,500 in increments over the next three years.
In other city business:
- Pembroke will apply for a USDA loan by July 1 to fund a $1.4 million sewer expansion project. Engineer Matthew Barrow with PC Simonton & Associates told council members the city can receive grants to help fund 75 percent of the project cost. However, to receive the grants the city will need to raise its monthly rates by about $1.50 after the project is complete, Barrow said. Rates were last set in 2004 to the current monthly average rate of $32.50, he said. The project is scheduled to begin construction in January 2012. Increased rates would go into effect in 2013.
- The city has contracted Linda Warburton to run its recreation program. As recreation director, Warburton is scheduling swim classes and summer activities at the Dixie Harn Community Center pool on Lanier Street. Warburton, who is American Red Cross certified, is currently interviewing and training lifeguards. A suggested pool admission fee of $2 was approved by council members. Youth volunteers and swim class participants may receive discounts on pool admission. The pool will open May 29 for the summer season.
•    A Splash into Summer bash will be held from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 5, at the community center pool. The city council agreed to temporarily close a portion of Lanier Road from Industrial Boulevard to just north of Judge John R. Harvey Drive where it intersects with Public Safety Road. This will provide space for vendors and a bicycle rodeo, Etheridge said.
•    The YMCA will not offer summer camp in Pembroke, Warburton told council members. Letters informing parents of the cancellation and alternative summer activities will be sent out, she said.
•    Pembroke Police Chief Mark Crowe said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has established a drug task force presence in the city and county. Crowe also informed council members Bryan County Relay for Life raised a total of $30,667.
•    Pembroke McDonald’s restaurant manager Dawn Gregory told council members she would like to start a Keep Pembroke Beautiful or Adopt-a-Highway campaign. City officials pledged to support Gregory’s efforts.
•    The city’s Memorial Day observance will be held downtown from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 29.

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