The Mabel City Council discussed many topics at its regular meeting last Wednesday, May 14.

June 2013 flood update

City Clerk Karen Larson updated the council on what is still taking place as a follow-up to the June flood of 2013.

"I wanted you to know, we're still not done with the flood from last year," said Larson. "We are working on a possible buyout/relocation on a few houses in Mabel that I submitted forward to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration)...they were hoping to get back to me this week on it."

Larson also explained it will be up to the homeowners if they want to or do not want to accept FEMA's offer. "There are some people who have an interest but depending on what they get through the buyout...they have the option of backing out," Larson added.

Council member Terry Torkelson said FEMA will pay for some of the buyout and relocation of homes - but not all of it. "There is going to be an outstanding percentage of that (and) the money is going to have to come from somewhere to make this happen," he added. "It would have to be determined whose going to have to come up with (those) dollars."

"The buyout is pretty clear-cut, (but) the relocation actually gets pretty complicated," Larson added. "You actually have to move the house somewhere...of the ones (homes) we have - only two of them were possible relocations."

Beehive request

Business owner Gary Steuart came before the council to notify them about his plan to bring and keep beehives within the city limits.

"I have never been aware of problems with bees in the city limits...it's been done for ages," Steuart said. "I told Karen (Larson) if it's a problem, we'll move them."

Both Larson and Public Works director Bob Mireau said there is no current city ordinance that regulates the keeping of bees in the city limits.

"I'm allergic to bees myself and I am not against Gary's wishes," Mireau said. "It's something that needs to have some thought in it."

Steuart said he plans to keep the bees on top of one of his buildings. "For the bees, the city is an ideal place for them because of the flowers...you've heard the expression of a 'bee line' - it's pretty straight. You put them up high, they don't fly down low until they get to the flowering plants."

Steuart said he plans to bring six to eight hives into town. He explained how honeybees go primarily after nectar rather than disturb people or get into soda cans.

Torkelson brought up the possible issue of more residents wanting to keep bees in the city limits.

"Why not if it's in their back yard?" Steuart responded. "They keep them in New York City in Manhattan on the rooftop...(but) if it's a problem I'll move them."

"Anybody that's got cucumbers or beans or anything like that needs pollinating - they'll see increased yields," Steuart added.

The council ended discussion with the understanding that if there are issues with the beehives, Steuart will work with the council to resolve it.

EDA report

"I'm happy to report that Quilter's Heaven has agreed to sell," said Larson as she updated the council on the actions of the Mabel EDA (Economic Development Authority) over the past month.

"We do have a signed, purchase agreement from her (the owner) for the two parcels there. EDA is recommending purchase of it to the city. They are hoping to close on it before June 1," she added.

Larson said the price for the two parcels was set at $11,000 and the current owner has agreed to clean up the building by June 1. "She has a crew coming to go in and clean it out, we are expecting work to start any time now," she added.

The council voted unanimously to purchase the building.

The city's plan is to eventually demolish the building, but Larson said an asbestos inspection will need to be done first.

It was also mentioned that the buildings that have been demolished on Main Street already make enough room for the building of the proposed coop grocery store.

The bill from Gjere Construction to demolish the former Mabel Record and Booman Chiropractic building along with Susie's Coffee Shop was listed in the city's payments this past month. The cost of the demolition was $52,000, which was taken from the city's EDA fund.

Sale of city-owned lot

The council voted unanimously to accept the single bid of $15,000 for the city-owned property located directly across from Green Lea Manor Nursing Home. The bid was made by Donald and Joan Garness, who plan to build a home on the site.

The funds from the sale of the property will go into the EDA fund, but, as Larson explained, the EDA owes money to the nursing home fund - so it will likely be added to the nursing home fund.

The property was appraised at $14,000.

Cherrywood Drive improvements

Larson told the council that all four of the remaining easements have been signed for the city to make improvements to Cherrywood Drive.

"I think we're on the right track," said Mireau. "(It's a) good thing to finally wrap up."

Location of the council meeting(s)

The council discussed the invitation and possibility of holding one of their regular meetings at The Meadows Assisted Living.

"They're looking for ways to get involved in the community," explained Larson.

Seeing no issues with the idea, the council voted unanimously to hold their June meeting at the facility.

"It's a beautiful facility," commented Council Member Kirsten Wyffels.

Donation of defibrillator

Larson reported to the council that Fillmore County, through a grant, has provided the city with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to be used at the Mabel Area Community Center. The city issued the following information about the donation.

"The City of Mabel, in partnership with the Fillmore County AED Collaborative, is pleased to announce the addition of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) to our area. This addition will allow our community to have life-saving capabilities for those suffering from a heart event. The Fillmore County AED Collaborative is a partnership of the county offices as well as every city in the county. As a group, we were able to secure a competitive federal grant to add over 70 AEDs to city and county locations, with two to be added to our city alone. This year, the AED received will be installed at the Mabel community center."

Transfer of city funds

The council voted unanimously to transfer approximately $12,000 from the city's sewer fund into the city's nursing home fund. The transfer is the last payment of what was essentially a loan from one city account to another.

Also, the council approved $70,000 to be transferred out of the nursing home fund to the EDA fund to purchase the Quilter's Heaven property, pay for inspection and abatement of the building, along with the costs for potential demolition of the two properties that were torn down last month.