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City fees increased by Mabton officials

MABTON - The Mabton City Council passed several ordinances at the end of December 2008, which modernized the municipality's license and permit fees for 2009.

"The council raised the fees to bring them more up to date," Mabton Mayor Velva Herrera said. "A lot of these fees haven't been raised in a decade."

Most of the fee increases will bring much needed money to the city's general fund. Herrera said she didn't have an estimate of how much the fee increases would bring into the city's coffers but said it would be substantial.

"Things will be looking a lot better for 2010," she predicted.

New water connection fees rose from $300 for each connection to the city's water system to the current fee of $500. This is a fee that's added to the basic cost of labor and material plus 10 percent. The last time this fee was raised was nine years ago.

It's also been nine years since sewer connection fees were raised. This fee also rose from $300 to $500.

Fees for submitting an exemption regarding short plat exemptions rose from a $25 non-refundable application fee to $100.

Fees for various land use permits also were raised for 2009. A conditional use permit doubled from $75 to $150. Variance fees rose from $75 to $200. Re-zoning permits climbed from $125 to $250.

Building permits per the Yakima County fee schedule were also raised. It will now cost $25 for a certificate of zoning, up from $10. And administrative appeals now cost $300, up from $50.

An annexation fee of $300 was added to the fee schedule.

Several gaming licenses and fees dealing with entertainment were also raised. The fee to have games of skill in an establishment rose to $50 for one machine and $100 for two or more. This fee must be paid on a yearly basis. The previous ordinance stated an establishment must pay a fee of $25 for each machine every calendar year.

Billiard and pool table fees increased as well. All establishments operating any billiard or pool table for hire must pay the city $200 per year, up from the previous amount of $50.

Dancing licenses, yard sale and business license fees all go up in 2009, as well.

Teenage dances used to cost $15 for a license. Now it will cost $50. A public dance or cabaret license rose from $10 to $50.

Business license fees rose from $25 each year to $50 for each year. Yard sale licenses went up to $10 instead of $2. Citizens caught having a yard sale without a license must now pay a fee of $15, up from $5.

Mabton Councilman Mario Martinez agreed that the extra cash infusion will help things for the city but stopped short of joining Herrera's rosy outlook on 2010.

He estimated the fee increases will bring in between $3,000 and $6,000 in extra revenue for the city.

"This is good but it's not money that will turn our situation around," he said.

He added that a lot of the fees that were raised are not collected on a regular basis.

"But every little bit helps," said.

The city council still doesn't have up to date numbers of where Mabton sits financially but Martinez said that should be straightened out by the first council meeting in February.

Martinez has just received December 2008 numbers and he said it will take him a couple of days to check the numbers. On a positive note, Martinez said initial numbers show the city received $120,000 in revenues in December, up from an estimated amount of $110,000.

If these numbers hold true Martinez said that would be a good thing but cautioned against optimism until the numbers are checked.

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