The Austin City Council unanimously approved the addition of two police patrol officers for the Austin Police Department effective immediately at their meeting Tuesday evening, with the positions to be included in the city’s budget for 2024. The action by the council will boost the current authorized staffing level for the department from 34 to 36 licensed peace officers, as Chief of Police Dave McKichan stated to the council at a work session following their June 5th meeting that he did not think the department could accomplish the work asked of them without the staffing increase, citing growth in the city’s population and added expectations of officers as two main factors for his request.
In other business at their meeting Tuesday evening, the Austin City Council approved a pair of tax abatement applications from Bigelow and Lennon Construction, one for a property located at 1307 18th Street NE, and the other at 1803 12th Avenue NE, and they also approved a contract with SEH, Inc. in the amount of $5,500 for a law enforcement center needs assessment, with funding coming from 2023 contingency funds. The council also approved a contract with Independent School District #492 Austin for police liaison officers, and they also approved an updated agreement with the Minnesota Department of Revenue for the collection of a local option sales tax. The Austin City Council also approved a variance request from Meyer Properties and Holdings, LLC, aka The Muffler Center at 1204 Oakland Avenue West, and they also approved a 3-year lease agreement between the city and Austin MN Junior Hockey, LLC Tuesday evening for the use of Riverside Arena by the NAHL’s Austin Bruins.
The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Austin City Council will be held on Monday, July 3rd at 5:30 p.m. in the Austin City Council chambers.