The Austin City Council voiced their support of a 15-year tax abatement request from Hormel Foods to aid in the construction of a $5 million, 13,347 square foot, 130 slot market rate child care facility at a work session following their regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening. Jeff Holt, Senior Manager for Corporate Properties for Hormel Foods stated to the council during a presentation that the construction of the childcare center, which would be for infants through pre-K, and would also create nearly 24 full-time jobs would have an impact on other affordable centers by freeing up slots for others to access while creating 130 new childcare openings, which he indicated would be available to not only employees of Hormel, but to the entire community as well. Holt stated that Hormel has purchased property at the corner of 5th St. and 17th Ave. NW for the construction of the childcare center, with the goal of breaking ground for the facility in April. Hormel Foods has requested the three major taxing jurisdictions of the city of Austin, Mower County and the Austin School District to provide the 15-year tax abatement to help with what they project to be an operating loss for the facility, and the council will hold a public hearing on the tax abatement request from Hormel Foods at their regularly scheduled meeting on March 6th.
In other business at their work session Monday evening, the Austin City Council received an Austin Public Library construction update from Executive Director Julie Clinefelter, who shared photos and information on Project 25, a remodeling and expansion project currently underway at the library that will include a new project room, a new service desk, and updated book drop area and remodeled restrooms. Clinefelter stated that because of the construction, the library will be closed from February 13th through the 20th, and will then be open with limited services Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 4-6 p.m. from February 21st through March 17th. Clinefelter went on to state that the library will again be closed for construction from March 20th through the 26th, with a tentative reopening with regular hours on March 27th. The council also received a policy review from Public Works Director Steven Lang concerning the city’s paving and sidewalks assessment policies, and the council agreed to move those policies ahead to their next meeting for approval.
The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Austin City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21st at 5:30 p.m. at the Austin City Council chambers.