On June 12, the Mabel City Council held two public hearings, followed by a regular city council meeting. Members in attendance included Gary Morken, Mayor Jim Westby, City Clerk Karen Larson, Kirsten Wyffels, and Terry Torkelson. Adam Wilder was absent.
The first public hearing was regarding a variance request at 109 Prairie Street. Public Works Director Jeff Rein said, “Bob and I went and measured it, looked at it. We saw no issue whatsoever.” The council approved the variance as requested.
The second public hearing was regarding the proposed Flood Plain ordinance. Bob Mierau summarized, “In order to stay in the flood insurance program, we need to move forward with that and get it updated.” Karen Larson said the DNR had already given “conditional approval” (contingent on formal approval by the city). No citizens voiced complaints or concerns with the proposed ordinance, and it was formally approved by the council.
In the regular meeting, the council discussed the letter of resignation submitted by Brock Bergey, deputy clerk for Mabel. Council members voiced their disappointment at hearing of his upcoming departure, and said he’s done a great job for the city. Brock’s last day is expected to be June 21, but Larson said Brock has indicated he will help however he can to create a smooth transition for whoever takes over the job. After discussion, the council plans to advertise the opening, with an application deadline of July 1. This is expected to allow interviews to be completed prior to the council’s July meeting, so that a hiring decision could be made then.
Regarding utility bill late fees and delinquent accounts, Larson shared data showing that as of June 7, roughly 10% of the accounts are delinquent, with a total of nearly $6,000 owed. Approximately 25% of accounts have signed up for ACH (automatic payment), with a few more coming on board every month. Larson said she continues to encourage this as the best way to avoid late fees.
The council heard from Dode Stoskopf, who told of the progress in working on a “history book of Mabel.” She said there are five totes full of pictures/newspaper clippings/memorabilia from the early days of Mabel, and she said the hopes are to have the book completed by Christmas. She also asked for council support for the project, and specifically asked if the city could provide somewhere for some of the historical items to be displayed, so they are not just stored away, out of sight. The council discussed that if such items were displayed in the community center, they could be subject to theft or vandalism, since outside groups use the center. Mayor Westby said, “We’ll have to take a close look at it” to determine if there’s a way to securely display some items. No formal action was taken at this time.
The council discussed a request from Jordan Nelson, science teacher at Mabel-Canton. She asked if Mabel could allow large recycling containers to be placed in the city. Council members voiced concerns that such containers often end up with non-acceptable items, and at other times, people may simply dump things nearby if the container is not accessible. There was also discussion that if such a container were installed, the city would incur costs from persons living outside the city, and that rural recycling containers are already available elsewhere in the county. The council chose not to take action on the request.
Mayor Westby shared that a donation was recently received from the Mabel Telephone company, to the Mabel Ambulance, in the amount of $19,953.11. Council members voiced their appreciation. The council discussed, and approved, a total of seven zoning permits in town. They also approved the hiring of two new members of the fire department (Cory Wilson and Adam Wilder).
The council’s next regular meeting will be July 10, at 7 p.m. at the community center. The public is welcome.