Council approves 2018 goals; Goals will be further discussed in future work sessions

Published 7:50 am Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Austin City Council unanimously approved the 2018 council goals during its regular meeting on Monday.

Four goals were set for the council this year:

• Provide Austin residents quality services that recognize employees are critical to programs and administrative functions to deliver on public priorities.

Email newsletter signup

In order to achieve this goal, the city will conduct a compensation and classification study to ensure that city employees are paid equally according to their job responsibilities while competing in a rapidly changing employment landscape. The council will also evaluate providing resources for a part-time project assistant for financial accounting of projects so full-time staff can account for their core responsibilities and possibly hire a Facilities Supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Department.

• Make Austin a leader in economic development growth while focusing on adding quality paying jobs and tax base enhancement.

With housing being a major challenge to business growth and prosperity in Austin, the council will build on past efforts and develop a financial incentives package based on desired construction features as produced in the schematic design which identify the financial gap.

The council will build a reserve fund for the acquisition of property for redevelopment and evaluate the inclusion of a budgetary item for zoning updates as well as extra-territorial considerations. Along with Austin Community Growth Ventures, the council will explore possibly developing an incubator to advance commercialization efforts from the Hormel Institute and other possible business opportunities.

• Make Austin an attractive community that values public programs/amenities and protects our natural resources that ultimately enhance the quality of life.

The city will update and compile a Parks and Facility Master Implementation Plan and seek the designation of appropriate parks as significant, making them eligible for Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails funding. The council will assess current public recreation opportunities to offer different or expanded programming for residents.

The Austin Public Library will look to increase programming by 100 percent, with a particular focus on underserved groups, an will continue to work to increase the number of Wi-Fi hotspots for Austin residents.

The city anticipates the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will move forward with Austin’s wastewater treatment plant permit renewal this year and the council will work to ensure that new regulations from the MPCA permit will not place an undue burden on residents and local businesses. They will also continue the development of the City of Austin flood mitigation program.

• Protect the tax base, preserve existing housing and improve livability in Austin neighborhoods.

The council recently adopted a rental housing ordinance that would allow for inspections that would affirm health and safety measures are being followed to protect tenants from poor living conditions, protect neighborhoods from problematic tenants and reward responsible landlords.

The city will also work to provide street designs that meet the needs of disabled residents and requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The council will further discuss the goals and their implementations during future work sessions.