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City clerk confident state audit problems in Mabton correctable

MABTON - The Mabton City Council received a bit of good news last night from interim city clerk Ret Stewart, the first good news received in what seems like a long time.

Addressing the recent release of a city audit by the State Auditor's office, Stewart told the council that there is nothing in the audit that can't be fixed.

Stewart began work with the city last week after first declining the position two weeks ago.

Stewart told the council she has reviewed the audit and believes things will work out, just not over night. She informed the council that the city will receive $19,000 in additional taxes from property that was recently annexed into the city. A $10,000 grant for the police department is also in the works and the paperwork is being completed.

The bad news, she said, is that numbers for 2008 are still not known. Stewart told the council that the State Auditor's office did not receive a complete annual report for 2006 and didn't receive one at all for 2007. The 2008 annual report has also not been sent out yet and Stewart said she would not be able to do this until she tracks down some accurate figures.

One more bit of bad news the council received from Stewart was the revelation that several agencies, such as the IRS, employment security and the department of retirement, have told Mabton City Hall that there were errors in the reporting or the reporting was late. This has resulted in several penalties the city will have to pay. Stewart will review all the penalties to see if the city can have them forgiven before council authorizes the payments.

Also at last night's council meeting the city's six-year transportation improvement plan was adopted. The majority of the streets on the list are unpaved roads in the Mabton area.

Councilwoman Sophie Sotelo questioned why a proposed park-n-ride isn't in the transportation plan. Mabton Public Works Director Arturo De La Fuente said he believed Mabton Mayor Velva Herrera had applied for a grant to pave the park-n-ride but was turned down. De La Fuente said he believed the mayor was going to re-apply for the grant and that was the reason it was left off the plan.

Herrera was not present at last night's meeting. Stewart told Sotelo she would get the information for her by next council meeting.

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