Write-in candidate wins mayor's spot in Mabel - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Write-in candidate wins mayor's spot in Mabel

MABEL, Minn. (KTTC-DT) -- Mabel will have a new mayor in January and the candidate taking office is a write-in candidate.  Several residents say they were not surprised about voters' decision to replace the current mayor.

Liz Folstad will take office as mayor. She brought in 185 write-in votes compared to incumbent candidate Jim Westby's 118.

Residents say a controversial new building that has been proposed could very well be the main factor in how residents decided to vote on Tuesday.

"They've been wanting to put a community building in this town for $1.7 million. This town has a lot of older people. They are conservative people. And we have beautiful places like the barn, the legion, and some beautiful churches," says Mabel resident Loretta Ladsten.

The current but outgoing mayor, Jim Westby, says the cost is more like $1.2 million, but that city officials were intending to re-bid the project this winter to get a better handle on the actual cost.

Westby says the community is split 50-50 over the building project and he contends there was a lot of "mis-information" out there about the project in the days before the election.

The new mayor and new Mabel city council will have to figure out how to resolve this feud, a petition against the building project had been presented to the city council signed by 330 people in the community.  Westby says $750,000 has already been raised or pledged for it, much of it, by the Lions Club.

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