Austin City Council approves modifications to city’s tobacco ordinance at Monday meeting

The Austin City Council approved modifications to the city’s tobacco ordinance at their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening at the Austin City Council chambers.  Chief of Police Dave McKichan stated to the council in a memo that the biggest change would entail the elimination of the possession, use and purchase offenses of those under 18.  McKichan stated that while he did not support eliminating that portion of the city’s ordinance in 2019 when the city revised the section of its code as it dealt with tobacco, nor would he have when the state considered the changes in 2020, he added that this is the direction that the State of Minnesota elected to go after receiving feedback from their public health officials.

In other business, the council approved a motion for the placement of flashing stop signs at 10th Drive Southeast and relocating flashing pedestrian beacons at a cost of $5,000 as the city looks to improve traffic control at the intersection of 10th Drive and 5th Place Southeast, and they also approved a 5-year master partnership agreement with MnDOT until 2027.  Public Works Director Steven Lang stated to the council in a memo that the agreement will provide services such as lab testing service on State Aid projects, and it would also facilitate cooperation between the city and MnDOT for projects such as I-90 corridor bridge replacement projects, the Highway 105 resurfacing project coming up this summer, and limited use permits.  

The Austin City Council also approved a joint powers agreement with the State of Minnesota and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at the meeting, and they also approved a liaison officer agreement with Austin Public Schools.  The agreement will enable the district to utilize the services of two police liaison officers who will service primarily Austin High School and Ellis Middle School.  The agreement is in place from August 29th of this year to June 1st of 2023.

The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Austin City Council is scheduled for Monday, July 18th.