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Mabton Council meets to come up with city priorities

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Mabton City Councilman Mario Martinez speaks with fellow council members this past Friday at a council retreat held in Mabton.

MABTON - More playground equipment for the city parks, green technology and 24/7 police coverage are just some of the priorities the Mabton City Council discussed this past Friday at a council retreat held in Mabton.

The setting of goals is something the council has wanted to do for some time. Several goals were listed by council members and they will be prioritized at a later date.

Everything was on the table. Mabton Councilman Mario Martinez told the council the goals don't have to be reachable right now, but listing them will give the council something to work toward.

"Are we going to be progressive or are we going to stick with the status quo," Martinez asked his fellow council members.

He told the council that it is them who are responsible for the improvement of Mabton.

"We've lost our vitality," he said. "It's our job to replenish it for Mabton."

He said the city's policies must focus on quality of life issues, such as crime-free housing. Instead of taking a wait-and-see approach and then playing catch-up, he advocated pioneering certain approaches and being progressive.

Policies, he added, should be implemented in a practical way. If the council wants to clean up the town, he said, then the council should figure out how to pay for the job and then complete the job in a practical way.

The expenditures for the city should be organized around programs and the objectives of the council. It is also important, he told the council, to provide easy to understand information to the community, so people can see where the money is coming from and where it is going.

The council listed several objectives, such as the appearance of the city, its services, arts & culture, parks & recreation, emergency services, economic development and communication and accountability.

The appearance of the city is important to the council. They would like to see the police department and city hall painted. City hall is not energy efficient and the council suggested new doors, windows and carpets. Graffiti abatement is also a big concern for the council and the majority thought it should be the responsibility of the city to clean it up.

City service goals include the upgrade of the water-sewer plant. The city also needs to purchase more water rights and bring up well #3 for use as a back-up. City hall hours were also discussed.

To attract more people to Mabton the council spoke about coming up with a theme, much like Leavenworth or Toppenish has. The recent Community Days was a big hit and the council wanted to see the event continued and expanded.

The parks are a big issue with council, as well. Suggestions for improvements included playground equipment, picnic tables and barbecue grills.

For emergency services the council's number one priority is 24/7 police coverage. The council also discussed adding security cameras in town and hiring a full-time fire chief.

Communication and accountability is also high on the council's list. It was suggested that better communication between Mabton citizens and city employees be improved.

The council will now narrow down the list of priorities in the coming weeks and then plan on meeting again to discuss it.

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