The Austin City Council discussed a motion whether or not to spray for mosquitoes this summer at their meeting Monday evening, as the city’s budget has been strained due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of a Compensation and Classification Study conducted to ensure that city employees are paid equally according to their job responsibilities while competing in a rapidly changing employment landscape. Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm spoke with KAUS during the “Meet the Mayor” segment on “Wright Here, Right Now” and stated that by a vote of 4-3, the council approved spraying for mosquitoes in the city this summer…

In another budgetary move, Stiehm stated that the council approved a motion to not install ice over the summer in Riverside Arena…

In other business Monday evening, the Austin City Council unanimously approved the adoption and publication of a vacant building registration ordinance.  

Under the ordinance, the owner or responsible party will be required to register a vacant building within the city no later than 120 days after it has been vacated. The registration fee is $120.

The building would be subject to city inspections and the owner or responsible party would be required to maintain the building.  The council also approved a motion at the meeting to vote on a resolution of support for the proposed River Bend Townhomes project.  

The Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership has proposed that the 30-unit townhome complex be constructed on a 4.66-acre parcel at 300 15th Ave. NE, east of Kuehn Motor Company and adjacent to Interstate 90.  The project would consist of three separate buildings with four two-bedroom units designated for persons with disabilities, 24 three-bedroom units, and two four-bedroom units.  Each unit would also include an attached garage.

Austin City Administrator Craig Clark stated to the council that the project requires a resolution of support from the council to extend tax increment financing for an income-limited housing project. Clark stated that the partnership must then apply to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for tax credits by July 16th.  The MHFA will then announce tax credit awards in December, and should the partnership’s project be approved, closing and construction would start in the fall of 2021.

Clark added that the total development cost for the project is currently estimated at $9,787,862.