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Mabton hopes to add new police officer in 2006

MABTON - The Mabton City Council met last night to discuss expenses in the 2006 budget.

Expenses in the General Fund are expected to increase to $533,782.13. That's $58,000 more than this year's expenses.

Law enforcement expenses in the General Fund are the main reason for the big jump. City officials hope to hire a new full-time officer to bring the police staff to six. Another reason for the increase is because the city will now have to cover 50 percent of the School Resource Officer's salary. Last year the SRO's salary was covered by a state grant.

A 3 percent cost of living increase will also be added to city employees' salaries.

The council also proposes to un-freeze the step increase for city employees' salaries. This is a pay raise scale that has been frozen since 2002.

Water/Sewer expenses are also expected to rise in 2006. Proposed expenses are $470,774, up from $443,903 in 2005. Most of this increase is in salaries and benefits. Benefits the city pays for are medical insurance, retirement, life insurance, vision and dental, L&I, Medicare and unemployment.

The cemetery fund, EMS fund and garbage fund are all expected to rise anywhere from 2 percent to 10 percent. The cost of living increase and the salary step increase account for most of this.

The city street fund actually is expected to decrease around $500 but City Administrator Ildia Jackson warned capital projects and potential equipment purchases have not been added in yet.

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