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Welcoming Week, snow removal ordinance on council agenda

Mayor Tom Stiehm will be declaring Sept. 13-22 as Welcoming Week 2019 during the Austin City Council’s next regular meeting.

Now in its fourth year, Welcoming Week will include a series of activities that highlight the diversity found in Austin. The event was created by Welcoming America, of which Austin is a part.

The Austin ArtWorks Festival City Award will be presented during the meeting. The council will also vote on whether or not to approve a natural gas prepay ordinance for Austin Utilities.

City Engineer Steven Lang will talk about a snow removal ordinance during the council’s work session following the meeting. Instituting new parking rules was discussed at length during the council’s work session.

Under the proposed ordinance, residents would have to obey parking rules once reserved for snow emergencies from Nov. 15 through March 15. These rules include:

• No on-street parking Downtown between the hours of 1-7 a.m.;

• Alternate side (even/odd) parking between 12:01 a.m. and 8 p.m. (changeover of vehicles would occur from 8 p.m. to midnight with no enforcement during that time); and

• Ticketing fine of $25 for parking violations

The same rules would apply for any snow emergency declared outside of the Nov. 15 through March 15 timeframe.

The ordinance was created in response to the high amount of snowfall received this past winter, when residents not obeying snow emergency parking regulations made the passage of large vehicles, such as emergency vehicles and school buses, difficult or impossible on narrowing roads.

Administrative Services Director Tom Dankert will continue discussing the 2020 budget with the council during the work session. It will be the last chance for the council to discuss the 2020 tax levy, which currently stands at the proposed increase of 4.03 percent, before voting on it during the Sept. 16 meeting.

By law, the council must have an approved tax levy by the end of September. After that, they may decrease it, but are not allowed to increase it.

In observance of Labor Day, the council’s next regular meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, in the City Council Chambers located in the basement of City Hall. The work session will be held immediately following the regular meeting in the conference room located across the hall from the Council Chambers.

For a complete agenda, visit www.ci.austin.mn.us/city-council