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NuTek Biosciences, First Street SE two-way traffic on council agenda

The Austin City Council will hold a public hearing on an application to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for a grant under the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) Program during its next regular meeting. The grant pertains to a proposed project with NuTek Biosciences in the Creekside Business Park.

The council will consider approving a development agreement  and approving a job creation fund application in connection with NuTek.

In addition, the council will vote on whether or not to approve the city’s participation in the Grow Austin program, which provides incentives for companies that offer higher wages to build in Austin. According to City Administrator Craig Clark, NuTek is expected to pay 34 of its 35 employees above the program’s highest pay incentive level of $50,098 per year and will be eligible for $1,350 per employee of Grow Austin incentive. Clark also said the capital improvement value, which requires a minimum of $250,000 of value, is to be capped at $45,000 for the city’s share, which is set at one percent of the overall value and 45 percent of a $10 million cap. This combined estimated value of the city’s incentive is $91,350.

The council will vote to set street assessment rates for 2021 during the meeting. The council voted 4-3 during its last work session in favor of increasing assessment rates for street repairs by seven percent. These rates are assessed to the adjacent property owners and apply to the residential and commercial/industrial assessment rates.

According to Assistant City Engineer Mitch Weenum, the increase will likely keep the assessment rates near 30 percent of the total street construction cost.

The council will also vote to appoint Teresa Lugo as the next honorary council member during the meeting.

Weenum will discuss options to make First Street Southeast from Oakland Avenue East to First Avenue Southeast open for two-way traffic during the council’s work session. Councilman Paul Fischer suggested the idea during the council’s Jan. 4 work session.

Weenum suggested the following options:

• Convert First Street Southeast to two-way traffic and reduce First Avenue Southeast to one lane of traffic on the west side of First Street Southeast; or

• Convert First Street Southeast to two-way traffic, convert First Avenue Southeast to two-way traffic, install a new signal light arm and reduce First Avenue Southwest to one lane of traffic on the west side of Main Street.

Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Kevin Nelson will discuss possibly extending ice at Packer Arena during the work session. Human Resources Director Trish Weichmann will also discuss sick leave for city employees under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act during the work session.

Due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the council’s next regular meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19, in the City Council Chambers located in the basement of Austin City Hall. The work session will take place in the City Council Chamber immediately following the meeting.

Some members may participate by telephone or other electronic means.

Any citizen wishing to monitor the meeting from a remote location should do so by tuning in to Charter Channel 180. Anyone not able to do so, or anyone wishing to address the council, should contact City Clerk Ann Kasel at 507-437-9943 to make arrangements in advance. Any citizen wishing to monitor the work session from a remote location should also contact Kasel to make arrangements.

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