The Austin City Council approved the city’s tax levy and budget for 2020 at their last regularly scheduled meeting of 2019 Monday evening at the Austin City Council chambers.

The council approved a tax levy of $7,150,000, or a 4.03% increase from the 2019 tax levy of $6,873,000.  The increase for 2020 comes from the city planning for the further implementation of a Compensation and Classification study, modifications to some departmental budgets and settling bargaining unit contracts that will not have been settled by Dec. 31, 2019.  The council also approved a budget for the city for 2020 totaling $35,945,802.  

In other business, the Austin City Council approved the city’s 5-year capital improvement plan, which proposes spending of $151,858,100 from 2020 to 2024, but Finance Director Tom Dankert stated to the council that if grant funds are not accessed for a particular project, the project will be put on hold until all of the funding sources are realized.  The council also approved a tax abatement request from Kevin and Doreen Nelson, and they also approved an ordinance for engine braking in response to numerous complaints received from citizens of Austin living near the intersection of U.S. Highway 218 and I-90. The ordinance will prohibit the use of engine braking or transmission braking on a motor vehicle, which is also known as jake braking that causes loud noises to emit from the vehicle’s engine and exhaust system.  

The Austin City Council also moved to appoint Herve Idjidina, Doug Nuckolls, John Deyo, Elizabeth Leyk, Miranda Moen, Janet Anderson and Laura Helle to the city’s Arts and Culture Committee, and they also approved a DNR grant extension for the North Main Flood Control project, phase 1.  And, in other business, the Austin City Council approved a detour agreement with MnDOT concerning the reconstruction of I-90 from County Road 46 to State Highway 105 in 2020.  

The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Austin City Council will be their organizational meeting for 2020 on January 6th at 5:30 p.m. at the Austin City Council chambers.