With many Mabel city streets torn up, Mabel residents are now feeling the effects of the extensive project to upgrade the city’s sewer infrastructure. The project was discussed at the Mabel City Council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 13, as two changes to the project were brought before the council.

Mark Davy of Davy Engineering, the city’s engineering firm administrating the project, proposed two change orders for the project — bringing the total cost of the project nearly $75,000 higher than previously estimated.

Davy explained the first change order is for the milling of the streets that have been excavated. “We’re going to take an inch and a half off the surface (of the street) and that will allow us to do the trenching a lot easier too. That also covers the clean up of the millings, trucking the millings, stock piling the millings and bringing them back for later construction,” Davy explained.

The cost of the change order is $35,030.16.

The second change order deals with tracer wire. “Tracer wire is simply an electrical method of tracing where we’ve put non-metallic pipe, because we can’t locate the (underground) plastic pipes without some type of wire,” Davy explained. He further added that the change is basically an upgrade caused by new standards from the Minnesota Rural Water Association.

The cost of the change is $39,019.70.

A third change order is for Hoskin’s Electric and is a time extension due to problems with their generator. There is no cost impact involved in the third change order.

 “It comes out to add $74,049.86 (for the project),” Davy said. “They (the changes) do fit within the contingency allotment that you’re granted with the loan and grant money.”

The project is being largely funded through grants and loans from Minnesota Rural Water Association.

 “I would consider (the changes) a ‘Cadillac’ system that will give you (the city) longevity,” Davy added.

The council unanimously, but cautiously, approved the changes, mainly due to concerns about costly changes occurring at the beginning of the project.

Davy said as the project continues, there will be some frustration on the part of the public.

“There is a certain amount of fatigue that is going to set in on doing this work. It is a difficult project,” he said, “and it is a long, tedious project. It is going to test the residents as far as bring able to get around.”

Project work near the Mabel-Canton school and issues with student transportation were also discussed. Davy said they will work with school officials to ensure the least possible impact. Work on Main Street, other than millings, will also wait until after Steam Engine Days.

The council approved a final payment to Hoskin’s Electric for the electrical work in the amount of $3,239.40.

A partial payment was also approved for Jech Excavating in the amount of $66,145.81.

Main Street lighting project

The council approved a bid from Bang’s Electric of Canton for a project to enhance street lighting on Main Street. The bid from Bang’s was the only bid that was offered for the project.

The project will install new wiring on the fixtures on Main Street. The cost of the bid was $17,406, which includes all material.

The project is expected to begin and be completed this fall.

Resolution supporting Tri-County Electric

Kaye Bernard of Tri-County Electric spoke to the council regarding the Southern Minnesota Energy Cooperative’s (of which Tri-County is a part) plan to purchase Alliant Energy’s service territory in southern Minnesota. While Alliant does not serve Mabel, Bernard said the company is approaching the cities they currently serve and asking for their support of the acquisitions.

“We just felt that this was really a good fit with coops right outside their door — and we think we could provide them with really reliable service by taking over this territory,” Bernard said. “There aren’t too many businesses out there that try to teach their customers how to use less of their product, which is something we try to do…. We think this is a really good way to help out existing members and be a good service for those new members.” 

The council approved a resolution support the acquisitions.

Other items

The council approved a liquor application from the Mabel Lions Club for its beer tent at Steam Engine Days. They also approved a fireworks application for the event.

City Clerk Karen Larson told the council there was interest on behalf of a non-profit to use the meeting room portion of the Mabel Area Community Center. The group was also seeking a discounted price for non-profit organizations. The council set a non-profit rate of $30 for the use of the meeting room and $60 if the lease includes the use of the kitchen.

Larson said AED (automated external defibrillator) training equipment has arrived. The AED was recently donated to the community center. Larson said she will invite the ambulance and fire departments to participate in the training to learn to use the machine.