Public forum features candidates for Austin City Council positions

Austin City Council and legislative candidates weighed in on local issues during a community forum on Wednesday.

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 3:28 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 6:52 PM

AUSTIN, Minn. - With less than two weeks to Election Day, it's becoming increasingly important to know who is on your ballot and what they stand for. That’s why dozens of people spent their lunch hour Wednesday at the Eagles Club in Austin listening to candidates for Minnesota legislative districts and Austin City Council in a public forum.
Jeff Austin is running against Susan Fell Johnson for the at-large city council position.
They answered questions from the audience including why taxes are so high, how to address the current housing shortage and how to make the town more attractive to buyers and fix up dilapidated buildings.
“I think we need to work with the community to come up with some granting opportunities and outside funding opportunities and offer people incentives to fix up their existing homes,” says Fell Johnson.
“We've set aside $200,000 in the budget for next year for housing initiatives. I think we've been really proactive in this area with the rental housing. That's the first step we've taken because that's the low hanging fruit. We can go after those, recognize those properties and get those properties cleaned up and start there,” says Austin.

Austin currently serves as city councilman in the first ward. The two people hoping to take his vacated seat are Rebecca Waller and Jeff Arneson.
They answered the question, “When it comes to spending tax dollars, is it better to hire employees at the lowest possible wage or to attract quality employees with competitive wages and benefits?”
“The best way to use our tax dollars is to hire quality people and have those people stay in their position versus hiring low-quality people at the minimum rate we can do. Otherwise what we are doing is spending valuable resources on training people and then continuously training,” says Waller.
“I am a firm believer that we need to have in this state and this city a minimum wage of $15 per hour, a working wage. That is the key to keeping people here,” says Arneson.

In ward 2, Jason Baskin is running unopposed. Joyce Poshusta and Brian Heimer are going head to head in ward 3.
Also present at the forum, candidate for Minnesota State Representative District 27B, Jeanne Poppe. Her opponent, Christine Green did not participate. Candidates for Minnesota State Representative District 27A, Peggy Bennett and Terry Gjersvik also participated.
To hear from these candidates and more make sure to watch our Eye on Politics segment, Sunday nights at 10:00.

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Reported Deaths: 1036
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Hennepin8181606
Ramsey2863122
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Kandiyohi4901
Rice4522
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Carver2062
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Swift180
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Wilkin113
Marshall100
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Aitkin80
Koochiching70
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Mahnomen61
Lincoln50
Renville50
Big Stone40
Grant40
Red Lake40
Redwood40
Clearwater30
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Traverse30
Lac qui Parle30
Roseau30
Houston20
Lake10
Kittson10
Stevens10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 19217

Reported Deaths: 531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4160125
Woodbury274034
Black Hawk173944
Linn94976
Dallas89220
Marshall89216
Buena Vista7350
Johnson6149
Wapello5589
Muscatine55641
Crawford5142
Tama40227
Scott35810
Dubuque34518
Louisa34311
Jasper26116
Pottawattamie2578
Sioux2190
Washington1888
Wright1670
Plymouth1292
Warren1260
Allamakee1204
Story1091
Mahaska9310
Poweshiek908
Henry711
Bremer696
Des Moines621
Clinton611
Boone610
Taylor540
Clarke530
Guthrie503
Cedar461
Benton411
Webster391
Monroe385
Shelby370
Jones360
Hamilton350
Clayton343
Iowa330
Buchanan330
Osceola330
Marion320
Cerro Gordo281
Cherokee280
Madison282
Fayette270
Lee250
Winneshiek240
Monona240
Jefferson230
Harrison220
Davis210
Lyon210
Dickinson200
Grundy200
Mills190
Floyd191
Sac180
Humboldt170
Lucas170
Hardin160
Hancock160
Delaware150
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Clay150
Appanoose153
Butler151
Emmet140
Ida140
Page130
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Cass120
Howard120
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Jackson120
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Union70
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Palo Alto60
Unassigned60
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