The Austin City Council moved unanimously to put $700,000 toward an addition and remodeling project at the Austin Public Library during a work session following their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening. Of that total, the Austin Public Library Board will pay back $100,000 to the city using various resources that could include a gift of $884,000 given to the library by the late Walter Wienke of rural Austin, who first established the donation in his will in 1997. Rules of the will say the library can spend any annual interest earned on the money for 30 years. After that time, the library can spend 5% of the principal annually, along with interest, for a gift that will span 50 years in all. Different additions and remodeling projects at the library could include a new service desk, study rooms, remodeling the building’s bathrooms, a porch ceiling ramp, lighting upgrades, a book drop-off canopy, a storage closet, a staff entry awning and alarm system upgrades.
In other business during their work session, the Austin City Council approved a $12,000 request from the city’s Public Works Department to request the help of WHKS of Rochester to assist in the initial design for a $4.3 million sanitary sewer collection system project that will see the removal of three sanitary sewer lift stations and construction of one new lift station, construction of approximately 5,200 linear feet of gravity sanitary sewer main, construction of approximately 2,000 linear feet of sanitary force main, construction of approximately 25 sanitary sewer manholes and the reconstruction of 10 blocks of streets in Austin. The three phase project is set to start in the summer of 2023. City Engineer Steven Lang stated to the council that the project is part of the department’s five-year capital improvement plan.
In items of business on their regular agenda Monday evening, the Austin City Council approved the renewal of the tax abatement program through December 31st, 2025. The program provides five years of tax abatement for any newly constructed single or multi-family home for the increased value solely from the construction improvements. The council also approved a proposal from SRF Consulting Group to complete a traffic noise analysis to support an application to the MnDOT Greater Minnesota Standalone Noise Barrier Program. The study area will be the Pasture Heights neighborhood, located south of Interstate 90 from 4th St. NW to the Cedar River.
The next meeting for the Austin City Council will be held on Monday, October 17th at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers.