All members were present during Mabel’s regular City Council meeting on August 12. The council discussed CARES Act funding available to the city. According to City Clerk Karen Larson, Mabel has just over $58,000 available, which comes as a part of the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Larson explained, “So this is going to cover some of those unexpected expenses that cities have that have come up through COVID.” She said that if a city does not use all of the money by the deadline, it must be given back. Larson has already used some of the money for equipment and supplies the city needed, such as plexiglass, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer dispenser units.
Larson recently attended a training seminar on how cities may use the funds available, and she stated, “Cities could potentially give out some small grants to some of the local businesses… that maybe struggled with COVID or had some hardships.” She said she knows of some nearby communities that have chosen to do this, and have used an application process by which businesses request assistance.
Larson stressed that if Mabel chooses to offer this type of grants, a business would only be eligible if it is within city limits. Mayor Westby spoke in favor of such an application process, saying that the council then could determine the amounts of grants to offer, based on the need. When asked about the deadline, Larson said, “Checks have to be written by November 15.” The council voted to create an application process for Mabel businesses to apply for such a grant, with an application deadline of September 8, at noon.
The council again discussed utility disconnections. Although such disconnections had been waived for several months due to an order from Governor Walz, Larson said that order has expired, so it is now up to cities to decide. She also explained that every winter, from October 15 through April 15, such disconnections are not allowed.
According to Larson, Mabel currently has 17 accounts that would be eligible for disconnection, if the council chose to reinstate that process. She said that historically, many property owners with delinquent accounts will pay on their accounts following the first notification that the disconnection process has begun. Larson explained, “If we choose to do it, there’s still a legal process of sending letters… so it’s not like it would happen tomorrow.” She also reminded the council that Mabel has always made an allowance for payment plans, saying, “If they set up a payment plan, and stick to it, we don’t disconnect.” The council voted to reinstate and move forward with the city’s process for utility disconnections.
Larson informed the council, “Richard’s Sanitation is getting a new automated truck where the arm on it will pick up your stuff, and they’re actually going to be starting this next week. So that means people need to better follow the rules on where to set their totes out. She said information will soon be posted on the city’s webpage and Facebook page to show what Mabel residents should do to comply with the expectations related to this. Larson will also include the information in the city newsletter.
The council considered four zoning permit requests from citizens asking to make various additions or improvements to their properties. Adam Tollefson’s request is for bringing in a 30’x50’ canvas hoop building. Timothy Mengis plans to replace roofing and install siding. Davey Peterson plans to pour a patio and install a new roof and a few windows. Dean Peterson submitted a request to install new roofing (a portion in 2020, and the remainder in 2021). The council approved these requests.
The council discussed a donation of $7,291.17 from the Mabel Cooperative Telephone Company, earmarked for playground equipment. The council will determine the best uses for the funds, which are to be spent by June 2021. The council’s next regular meeting will be September 9, at 7 p.m. in the community center. Due to Veterans’ Day, Mabel’s city council meeting in November has been rescheduled to Thursday, November 12.