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Mabton Council reviews 2009 budget wish list

MABTON - At a special Mabton City Council budget meeting this past Friday night, 2009 budget wish list items were heard from all department heads, but only one city council member, Oping Hutson, was in attendance, along with Mayor Velva Herrera.

The wish list totals for the Mabton Police Department is $31,000, but $24,000 of that is for a new police car, which Chief Robert Perales feels is necessary.

He told Herrera and Hutson that of the city's five police vehicles, three have more than 100,000 miles on them. The other two have 35,000 and 45,000 miles.

"The old fleet has been nickel and diming us," he said, adding that once a police vehicle has racked up 100,000 miles it can compromise safety in terms of response times.

Mabton purchased a police vehicle from West Richland last year and the city paid $5,000 for it. Of the vehicle, Perales said, "We only paid $5,000 for it, so we got our year's worth out of it." It's one of the vehicles with more than 100,000 miles.

Mabton has three officers, one student resource officer and a police chief.

Also on the wish list is updated medical supplies (four kits), four digital cameras, two tasers, four lighting systems for assault rifles, four night vision binoculars, four stinger flashlights and a digital camcorder, which Perales said he'd like to use to record the serving of search warrants.

Fire Chief Luke Cussins said that Fire District #5 is going to start paying $30 per volunteer firefighter to the Volunteer Relief and Pension Fund. Because Mabton is a combined fire station with the district, Mabton will have to pay that amount for half of its volunteers, amounting to $270. Cussins would also like to see compensation for volunteers increase from .50ยข to $6.50 per call.

Also on Cussins' wish list is uniform t-shirts.

Among necessary items for the fire department, Cussins said an increase in utilities is necessary because the city has been way over budget in this area for two years. The fire station is heated by propane, and the cost of propane has skyrocketed, he said.

Many items on the public works wish list have been requested and denied in years past, like a trailer for the cemetery. Public works is currently using a homemade trailer, and has for years. Also requested is two push mowers and a lowering device for caskets.

Public works is requesting that the 2009 budget includes $13,930 for the wastewater treatment plant, which would help fund things like centrifuges, test kits, hardness kits and training, among other things.

For the water department, public works is asking for a chlorimeter, training and dual mechanical scales to the tune of $4,700.

Also on the public works wish list are new hydrants, a hitch mower and pothole repair cement mixture.

Budget wish list items for administration are few. City Clerk Kitty Curtiss told Herrera and Hutson that she needs a new chair. She would also like a new recording device to use for the meetings.

No future budget meeting date has been set.

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