At its February meeting, Mabel council members voted on a standard rate that will be charged to businesses and residents who are not in compliance with the snow removal ordinance. The city ordinance states that snow must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours after a snowfall. If the snow is not removed, the city has the right to remove the snow at the property owner’s expense.
The ordinance does not indicate how much the business or resident would be charged if the city has to remove the snow. The city’s attorney said it was up to the council to determine the fee. After discussion and checking to see what other cities charge, it was decided that the snow removal fee would be $2 per linear foot, with a $50 minimum per snow event, plus any additional processing fees the city may incur. This fee would be effective immediately, but property owners will be given a warning first before any fees would be assessed.
Karen Larson, city clerk, said she has been calling property owners who have not shoveled within the 24-hour period. “Most have been good at getting the sidewalks cleared after speaking with them,” Larson said. “It’s a problem when the walks are on Main Street and other high-foot traffic areas. I’m hoping property owners will shovel their walks in a timely manner and we won’t have to charge the fee.”
The final plans for the daycare center have been completed and reviewed by the Economic Development Authority (EDA). The EDA sent the specs to the council for their approval. Kirsten Wyffels, EDA President, said these plans are more detailed than the previous ones and felt good that contractors would be able bid more accurately on the project.
Council member Gary Morken questioned whether these plans were detailed enough and sufficient for contractors to bid on the project. More discussion ensued and the consensus was that these plans were better than the last set of specs. Mayor Jim Westby reminded the group that the cost to get the most comprehensive spec book would be another $20,000. The council voted to approve the latest set of plans. All were in favor except Morken, who opposed.
The bidding process will be open for three weeks. The goal is to select a contractor as soon as possible. The start date for construction is set for April 1, with completion of the daycare building scheduled for the end of August.
Public Works Director Bob Mierau said the public hearing for the Wellhead Protection Management Plan will be held at the start of the March 14 council meeting. A representative from the department of health will be there to answer questions. Mierau reported that the city pickup truck is out of commission and recommended it be replaced. He will check the state bids and get back to the council on costs.
Mierau distributed a description of trees for the council to determine which ones should be used for the tree program this year. He said that the city will need about 15 trees to replace the ash trees that were infected and had to be cut down. Residents will have the opportunity to purchase trees and shrubs through the program. Information will be in an upcoming utilities statement.
In other business
• The council approved Adam Tollefson as the new fireman. Three candidates applied for the position vacated by Joel Graves’ retirement. Graves will officially retire in April and Tollefson starts May 1.
• Bills were approved to pay in the amount of $53,562.
• A proclamation was signed making February 7-14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.
• Catholic Charities Active Aging Program is using the fire station space on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-2:30 p.m. for classes for seniors. The council approved the use of the space at no charge.
• A temporary liquor license was approved for Mabel Lions Club for the “Dueling Piano Fundraiser for Education” on March 17.
The next council meeting will be Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at city hall.