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Mabton council reviews 2008 budget wish list

MABTON - At its regularly scheduled meeting last night (Tuesday), the Mabton City Council heard 2008 budget wish lists from public works, the police department and city staff.

The 2008 budget process is currently hindered somewhat by the fact that the books for 2006 haven't been closed out yet, according to Mayor Velva Herrera.

The city hired a part time helper, Ret Stewart, to assist city staff with the budget process. Stewart has been meeting on the weekends with city clerk and treasurer Sharon Roy, Herrera and councilwoman Oping Hutson.

In a memo to Herrera, Stewart said, "Discussion will continue as we are waiting for some finalization of the figures so that Mabton knows where it stands and will give some information to prepare final figures.

"The meetings will begin the first of November, which will give Sharon three more weeks and then we must move really quickly after that with possible Saturday study sessions in the first of November in order to be brought up to speed."

Public works is asking for quite a few items, including three items that were approved in the 2007 budget, but have not been purchased due to the uncertainty of where the city is financially. Those items are small tools for the water/sewer division that amount to $1,500, a gas welder and a tent for the cemetery.

Public works is also asking for a trailer for the cemetery, and employee Frank Tijerine told council that the trailer the city currently uses was homemade 30 years ago and doesn't have lights on the back and isn't licensed. They are also asking for a grooming mower deck, Kawasaki Mule tractor, motorized water spray tank, a snow blade, new hydrants, a camera for the city's sewer lines, an industrial weed eater, a drill, pole saw and a Stihl Cutquik cart. In addition, they've asked that $6,000 be included in the budget for annual training.

The police department is asking for a new photocopier, three new Tasers and new phone lines.

When it came to city staff requests, Roy explained that if the city approves the purchase of three pink chairs, 15 percent of the proceeds will be donated for the breast cancer cause. Cost for the chairs is $507.

Roy also said city staff is requesting a new copy machine and she would also like to see new adding machines added into the budget in case the current ones break. City staff is also asking for a new recording system that will include microphones so that the person taking the minutes of council meetings can hear more clearly who is speaking. The cost for that was not provided. Roy also requested a new Christmas decoration for City Hall, because it's often the first place visitors stop when coming to the city.

City staff is also requesting a phone headset and upgrades to the city's current phone system.

In addition to that, Roy said that the city needs to replace a window in front of City Hall.

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