Bob Mireau, Mabel's public works director, updated the Mabel City Council regarding the condition of several alleys throughout the community during the regular council meeting last Wednesday evening.

"I have been approached and did some research," said Mireau. "I wanted to make you aware that if there is a formal request there is a procedure to follow."

Mireau reported to the council that all property owners owning land to a specific alley would have to agree to have the blacktop in the alley. Mireau consulted with Mabel's city attorney, Richard Nethercut, and his suggestion was that if there was a petition for certain alleys to be blacktopped, a request would be submitted to the council, an assessment (at the property owners' expense) would need to be completed, and an estimate would be given to those petitioners.

The property owners are responsible for paying for the blacktop, curb and gutter.

"The trouble with most of the alleys is the drainage," explained Mireau. "Although, the property owners are responsible for paying for the blacktop, curb, and gutter, the city is responsible for maintaining it so we want to make sure it's done right."

Torkelson said, "I wonder if we have something in our ordinance that explains it?"

City Clerk Karen Larson said she would look into it and update council at next month's meeting.

Rural Development update

Mireau also provided the council with a Rural Development update. He explained there is a hold up in the process; the easement map is in the general council.

"We are unable to move forward until that step is completed," he explained.

Mireau suggested to save time, the council make a motion to set a bid schedule pending approval of Rural Development, which it did.

Fire hall improvements

Don Tollefsrud from STS Plumbing and Heating recently examined the heating system in the fire station. Mireau reminded the council that the current heating system is outdated.

Tollefsrud returned with an estimate to replace the existing heating system for their cost and charge no labor.

The council approved STS to move ahead with the project.

Mireau also noted that the deadline for bids for shingling the fire hall had passed and a total of four bids had been received.

The council agreed to accept the lowest bid as long as insurance is adequate and meets the requirements of the League of Minnesota Cities.

Clerk orientation conference

Larson, as the new city clerk, informed the council that the 2013 Clerk's Orientation Conference will take place in St. Paul. She expressed that it is an invitation for new clerks specifically and explained she had spoken to others that have attended and was told it was worthwhile and beneficial.

The conference is three days and with registration, hotel and mileage would cost the city around $700.

"It's an investment in our city and future," expressed council member Sue Amunrud.

The board approved Larson attending the conference.

Software purchase

Larson explained to the council that currently residents that bank locally have the option to pay online but with the purchase of software, residents that bank elsewhere will also have the option to use an online payment option.

The council approved the purchase of the software that would enable the city to offer this option to more residents.

Larson also explained information regarding the direct payment options would be included with the monthly billing and if customers were interested in direct deposit they would contact city hall and proper forms would be mailed to them.

Summer recreation

Council member Kirsten Wyffels explained that former summer recreation director Katie Tweeten is once again interested in leading the program for the 2013 summer. The council agreed to approve Tweeten for the position with a $25 a week raise from last year.

The council also discussed the summer recreation fees for students to participate in the programs.

"You don't want it to be a financial hardship," said Wyffels.

The council agreed to keep summer recreation rates at the same rate as the year before.

Public works report

Mireau notified the council on the storm damage from Tuesday, April 9. There was a power outage caused when a tree snapped off near Melby Drive. Tri-County came in and temporarily fixed the issue. He explained that the linemen would return later in the week to finish the repair.

Mireau presented the council with information regarding CPR and First Aid Training. The safety guidance officer suggested that the city of Mabel have an AED on-site in case something happened. An AED, an automated external defibrillator, is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock through the chest to the heart. AEDs make it possible for more people to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required. The cost of the defibrillator is approximately $1,794. Wyffels reassured the council that AEDs are user friendly.

The council did not take any action at this time.

Mireau recommended that the tree program be extended until April 26. "I don't think anybody is thinking about planting trees with this weather," he said.

The Treehouse owners had also expressed that typically they are flooded with orders by now and are not seeing many come in either.

Mireau said, "Hopefully we get a few orders in."

State-wide tornado drill

Mireau reminded the council of the annual state-wide tornado drill on Friday, April 18, when sirens in town will sound at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m. Residents should be aware this is only a test of the city's severe weather notification system and not a indication of severe weather.

In other business, the council handled the following issues.

• The council reviewed nine applications for the advertised summer lawn mowing position.

• The financial audit for 2012 was accepted and approval was given to posting the report in the News-Record, the city's official newspaper.