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Mabton council looks at 2011 preliminary budget

MABTON - The Mabton City Council met last night, Tuesday, to go over expenditures in the 2011 preliminary budget city staff has prepared.

The council started with the police department's planned expenditures for 2010.

Salaries are expected to increase from a budgeted $66,230 in 2010 to $92,880. This is due to the mayor wanting to hire more full-time police officers. The extra money will allow the city of Mabton to hire at least one additional officer in 2011.

Another item on the police department's wish list is a data entry clerk. The police department is asking the council for $13,000 from the city's share of the three-tenths sales tax money it receives. The rest of the money would come from the general fund.

Mabton Councilwoman Sophie Sotelo questioned the need to spend the money on a new hire, suggested the cash could be used better elsewhere. Councilwoman Vera Zavala agreed, adding she would like to see the money used to hire additional officers.

But Mabton Police Chief Rick Gutierrez told the council a data entry clerk is needed in the department, especially when it comes to sorting out evidence.

"I advocate for it," Mabton Mayor Angel Reyna said of the new position. "I think there is a need for it."

Mabton Councilman Mario Martinez agreed. He said the extra help in the police department and at city hall will allow city staff to better track grants and be more efficient. This, he said, will undoubtedly bring the city more grant money.

"If we don't give ourselves a chance we'll just be stuck in molasses," he said.

Reyna asked the council to consider the matter and they will make a decision at a later date.

Total expenditures planned for the police department in 2011 are appropriated at $244,985.

Salaries in the fire department are expected to rise by $450 in 2011, this mostly reflects cost of living increases. Fuel expenditures, however, will drop by $250 to $750.

Overall, the proposed 2011 expenditures for the fire department are $33,608, down from 2010's appropriated amount of $33,870.

Council made another change to expenditures in the 2011 preliminary budget. The council asked staff to remove $2,000 from the parks budget that had been set aside for a mower.

The city plans to increase the amount of money spent on streets in 2011. City staff is recommending $61,878 be spent next year, up from $55,650 in 2010.

Water and sewer expenditures will increase, too. The city wants to spend $463,271 in 2011, up from $422,934 appropriated in 2010. This increase reflects money that will be used to bring in a public works director.

The council will meet again in a special session on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m., to discuss revenues in the 2011 preliminary budget and to revisit expenditures. The council is expected to adopt the 2011 preliminary budget on Tuesday, Nov. 23

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