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Cable franchise, bonding bill dollars on council agenda

The Austin City Council will vote on the preparation, adoption and publication of an ordinance for a cable franchise agreement with MetroNet during its next regular meeting.

Charter Communications, doing business as Spectrum, is currently the only cable provider in Austin. Approval of the franchise application would mean increased competition in the area.

MetroNet currently operates in seven states and serves approximately 16 communities in Minnesota.

A public hearing on MetroNet’s application was held during the council’s meeting on June 7.

The council will also vote on a resolution to apply for the City’s distribution of American Rescue Plan Act funds. According to City Administrator Craig Clark, the adoption of the resolution is not a specific requirement; however, the League of Minnesota Cities has suggested the City do so to establish a paper trail to document how the funds are handled.

The City is estimated to receive $2,873,530 based on tentative distribution amounts, but could be eligible for up to $4,180,525, Clark said.

The council will also vote on rescinding a request for $13 million in bonding bill dollars for  Waste Water Treatment Plant improvements in favor of a revised request of $14.5 million. Last year, the state awarded $7.45 million to the City in the bonding bill for WWTP upgrades.

The estimated total cost to upgrade the WWTP to meet the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s standards is about $77 million.

The council’s next regular meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 21, in the City Council Chambers at City Hall. There will be no work session following the meeting.

The meeting is open to the public; however, 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.

For a complete meeting agenda, please visit http://www.ci.austin.mn.us/Council/City%20Council%20Agenda.pdf.