City will get new building

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Thanks to the acquisition of the Hormel hangar at Monday's Austin City Council meeting, the Austin Municipal Airport will soon have a new administrative building.

The hangar has been appraised at $130,000 and the city has a state grant that will cover up to $61,000 of the costs. The hangar will be renovated into an administrative building at the airport.

The council also approved using a maximum of $13,600 from the interest of the public employees retirement account (PERA) to fund the physical fitness and health program for the firefighters at the Austin Fire Department.

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City's mosquito spraying policy challenged

The city's mosquito spraying policy was scrutinized at Monday night's council meeting.

Bob Clarke, a resident of the Oak Park Village in Austin, told the council, "With all the spraying for mosquitoes that's been done, we have never had any in Oak Park Village. I talked to the city engineer (Jon Erichson) and he said that we don't qualify because we live on a private road."

However, he said, that doesn't change the fact the mosquitoes are terrible in the development because of swamp land behind the (CRC). "I think we qualify. We pay taxes just like everyone else in the city," Clarke said.

Erichson told him the city sprays the perimeters, treating it like any other development, and that no money is budgeted to spray those areas next year. He also explained the city's mosquito spraying program only kills adult mosquitoes on contact. Any larva in the area or any mosquitoes that come into the area after the spraying, are not affected.

Dick Lang, 3rd Ward councilman, said the program should be discussed at the Public Works Committee meeting Thursday because, "most importantly, it's a health problem." Perhaps the city should budget for the developments to be sprayed in the future because of the health threat mosquitoes pose, he explained.

Jeanne Poppe, 2nd Ward councilwoman, said, "I want to remind everyone to be concerned of the budget. The intent of the program is not to kill and destroy every mosquito at every stage of life. It's been a good program."

The Public Works Committee will discuss next year's mosquito spraying program at its meeting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Ellis Middle School request for fire truck approved

The council approved a request by Ellis Middle School to have a fire truck assist in a science project.

Austin Fire Chief Dan Wilson explained that for at least 15 years, the school has used the truck in a gravity project in which students have to construct a device to cushion an egg when it is dropped from 50 feet in the air.

City administrator Pat McGarvey said the city's insurance company will cover anything that could happen and Wilson said OSHA has no policy prohibiting such activity.

The council agreed to continue with the project, though 3rd Ward Councilwoman Gloria Nordin protested. "We should file something like that under monkey business … I don't think something like that is appropriate for the fire department to be doing that sort of thing."

Amanda L. Rohde can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at