On May 8, the Mabel City Council held a regular city council meeting. Members in attendance included Adam Wilder, Gary Morken, City Clerk Karen Larson, Kirsten Wyffels, and Terry Torkelson. Mayor Jim Westby was absent, so Torkelson led the meeting.
A citizen, Don Kleiboer addressed the council about a concern with a neighbor. Kleiboer said his neighbor appears to be operating an automotive body shop at the property, and often has several vehicles parked in the driveway and on the street, which causes a parking space problem. Kleiboer asked if the city could please check to see if something can be done.
After Kleiboer departed, the council, along with City Attorney Gregory Schieber, discussed the issue. It was pointed out that the property is zoned Residential, so a business should not be operating on the property, without a permit. There was also discussion regarding the need for any vehicles parked on the street to be currently licensed, per state law. The council asked the sheriff’s department to help monitor this situation. Torkelson summarized, “We’ll dig into this some more.”
Regarding a previously addressed issue of mosquito control, the council heard from Bob Mierau, who suggested tablets that can be tossed into any bodies of water that the city wants to treat for mosquitoes. He said the cost is much lower than hiring a company to come in and spray, and it will allow the city to tailor the treatment to the specific areas needed. The council approved this plan.
Karen Larson updated the council on the status of unpaid parking tickets. She said the city sent letters to the citizens with unpaid parking tickets, explaining that the original $25 ticket would instead become a $115 state ticket if not paid promptly. She said some have been paid, but that six unpaid tickets remain, so they will be receiving the $115 state tickets.
Regarding utility bill late fees and delinquent accounts, Larson said there are now 38 delinquent accounts, owing a total of $5,860. She said that each month, more and more citizens are signing up for ACH automatic payment.
The council discussed the issue of a Floodplain Sample Ordinance. Bob Mierau explained that the city received a letter with suggestions from Davy Engineering, which states in part, “The city must replace the Floodplain Ordinance in order to continue to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program… After the ordinance is written for Mabel, we recommend sending it to DNR for their review.” Davy Engineering also suggested a few changes in the ordinance, specific to Mabel’s situation. Mierau and Schieber will meet and work on a draft of the ordinance to bring to the council’s June meeting. After the council gives preliminary approval, a public hearing will be scheduled this summer.
Karen Larson shared a draft of a “complaint form” that she designed, based on examples she had reviewed from several other cities. One side of the form shows the city’s policy, and the opposite side has a form to be filled out. Council members voiced satisfaction with the form, and it was approved for use. Any interested citizens can access the forms at the clerk’s office, and the form will eventually be available online as well.
Larson informed the council that the public library is in need of someone to work there on Tuesdays. A job posting will be run in the newspaper, with Adam Wilder and Kirsten Wyffels reviewing applications and bringing recommendations to the next council meeting.
Larson also noted that the library is celebrating its 100th year, and library staff are asking if the city can help with the cost of commemorative bookmarks that the library will be handing out at area parades this year. The library’s initial printing run of 500 bookmarks is not expected to last long. After discussion, the council voted to contribute up to $210 toward this.
Two bids had been received by the city for asphalt patching to be done, with the lower bid being $21,475 from River City Paving. The council voted to accept this bid. The council discussed, and approved, zoning permits for two properties in town (Bankes and Halse). The council’s next regular meeting will be June 12, at 7 p.m. at the community center. The public is welcome.