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Council approves cable franchise agreement

The Austin City Council approved the preparation, adoption, and publication of a cable franchise agreement with MetroNet during its regular meeting Monday evening.

Under the agreement, MetroNet will be able to offer cable and fiber internet in Austin.

Charter Communications, doing business as Spectrum, is currently the only cable provider in Austin. Approval of MetroNet’s franchise application means increased competition in the area.

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

The council also approved a resolution to apply for the City’s distribution of American Rescue Plan Act funds. The City is estimated to receive $2,873,530 based on tentative distribution amounts, but could be eligible for up to $4,180,525, according to City Administrator Craig Clark.

The council also voted to rescind a request for $13 million in bonding bill dollars for the 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 also recognized Austin Police Det. Derek Ellis and K-9 Officer Rudy, who recently placed first in the US Police Canine Association trials for Region 12.