PEMBROKE – A budget of $ 6.3 million for fiscal year 2021-22 was approved by Pembroke City Council on Monday and will come into effect on Thursday.
The budget, which totals $ 6,382,917, is $ 300,000 more than the 2020-2021 budget and includes a cost of living adjustment increase of 2% for City employees. The budget makes no change in water and sewer charges and leaves the property tax rate at 64 cents for every $ 100 of property value.
The newly approved spending plan includes funds for three new police patrol vehicles, a new tractor with an arm cutter, operating funds for the installation of city water jets and the addition of a full-time administrative assistant for the Parks and Recreation Department.
Funds from a matching grant from the State Fire Marshal’s Office of the Fire Department to purchase a thermal camera, automated external defibrillator, pagers and vehicle computers for the city’s fire department are also included in the budget.
City manager Tyler Thomas made it clear to residents at the meeting that the money for the approved budget did not include the more than $ 15 million the city had received in grants, which includes a $ 5.2 million grant. dollars for BUILD and a grant of 6 million dollars for the administration of economic development.
“These amounts are separate from the city’s recurring fiscal year budget,” he said.
During the public hearing portion of the budget meeting, Chris Locklear asked Council to consider reducing the license vendor’s fee, which is currently $ 200, for operating during the nine-day period of the Lumbee reunion.
City Councilor Channing Jones said the reasoning behind the city’s fee hike about a year ago was to demonstrate fairness between the city’s brick-and-mortar business owners, who pay taxes, and temporary sellers.
Also during the hearing, Richard Monroe, executive director of finance for the Robeson County Community Arts Guild, called on the city to consider donating money to the Guild; and Matt Locklear of the Pembroke Rescue Squad asked council to consider increasing the city’s annual allocation to the squad by $ 5,000.
No action was taken on these requests and the budget was approved as presented.
In the development news, the commissioners voted to dezone three tax plots of an R-20 residential area in the business district of the C-3 motorway to make way for two new businesses. The parcels in question are at 807, 809 and 811 W. Third St.
A related request was made to rezone a vacant one acre lot on Lowry Street, but the item could not be considered as it had been filed by the city’s planning council at the following the reaction of residents who live on the streets.
The owners of the four plots would like to sell their plots as commercial properties to the Inspire Brands and Break Bread Ventures franchises, which are looking to build a Slim Chickens and Dunkin Donuts in the area.
Slim Chickens, which is based in Arkansas, offers chicken fillets, bison wings, sandwiches, salad, and wraps. Dunkin Donuts is “the world’s leading bakery and coffee products chain, serving more than 3 million customers every day,” according to its website.
Rob Bryan, owner of Break Bread Ventures, told Council the development would represent a $ 4 million investment in the city and the Slim Chickens would generate 75 jobs.
The two franchises propose to develop 807, 809 and 811 W. Third St. for restaurants and to use the vacant lot on Lowry Street for parking, as well as for entry and exit. All three residential properties are to the west of a McDonald’s restaurant and the vacant lot is to the rear.
Some residents spoke out against the rezoning of Lowry Street on Monday due to the increased traffic it would bring to the residential neighborhood.
“I love chicken and I love donuts… bring it,” said Gary Locklear, a resident and former lawyer in the city.
But what Locklear doesn’t like is the increased traffic on narrow Lowry Street.
“Bojangles came to town just beyond where they intended to build,” Locklear said. “Pizza Hut is there and they come in from the front and they come out from the front and unless someone suggests otherwise I think they’re doing great.”
Residents have suggested that the city consider denying Lowry’s request.
Bryan told Council that not allowing the rezoning of the Lowry Street property could jeopardize the development of the other properties.
“These are just growing pains,” said Councilor Jones. “These are good problems to have. I am proud of it and I think there is a solution here.
In other matters, council approved a resolution supporting the increase in the city hotel occupancy tax rate from 3% to 6%. The higher rate would help the Tourism Development Association seek grants to promote tourism in Pembroke, as the increased rate would mean the city is eligible for these grants.
Tourism Development Authority board member John Revels, who made the request, said the increase would only affect people who occupy the city’s only hotel.
“The tax increase will not place any additional burden on our residents here in town,” Revels said.
People staying at the hotel would see an increase in the cost per night of just about $ 3, Revels said.
– Appointed Patrick Strickland to the Housing Authority Board.
– Approved a resolution in honor of Diane Locklear Goins, a Union Chapel resident who “served the community by teaching kindergarten children, serving the less fortunate, and volunteering with seniors for nearly 50 years ”. The resolution will be presented to Goins on Saturday.
– Approved a proclamation designating June 28 as the 26th day of the amendment.
Tomeka Sinclair can be contacted at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.