AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Austin, Texas and Austin, Minnesota may share the same name, but one thing they do not share is the same city council. This is something several people are learning after mistaking an Austin, Minnesota council member for an Austin, Texas one.
“I will admit; I was a bit disconnected from the day to day operations in Austin, Texas,” said Jason Baskin, a city council member in Austin, Minnesota.
Baskin said his hands are tied when it comes to helping the dozens of Austinites who emailed him. The reason is because he's on a different Austin city council, one in another state.
“It was one of those things where you don't recognize the name, you're reading through the information, you're really confuse because you're not familiar with this being a major issue, you're not entirely sure if you're talking about it at your next council meeting, you haven't read anything about it, and then you get to the bottom of the page and it's a bunch of people from Texas,” said Baskin.
Baskin said this council member mix up began earlier this week. Based on his bio, he’s an Austin native and even went to Austin High School, except this is all in Minnesota and not Texas.
“I grew up in Austin, Minnesota, went to Austin High School in Minnesota and proud to live in Austin, Minnesota,” said Baskin.
Aside from sharing the same name, Baskin said there are some striking differences between the two cities.
“I think you guys have us beat on weather, a total of other things to do, but we've got you beat on cost of living and how quickly you can get around town,” said Baskin.
The recent emails mostly consist of people concerned about the potential health risks of 5G wireless internet speed which was added to Austin Texas.
“My standard response is to tell them I’m actually living in Minnesota, so I’m not sure I’m the right contact, but we've got a great cost of living, we have a free Spam museum, and we're always looking for growth if they are not happy in Texas we are more than happy to take them in the Austin of the north,” said Baskin.
Baskin addressed the confusion on Twitter where people asked what his council would do about other Austin, Texas issues like the homeless situation.
“It makes the controversy that we have about stop signs and an upcoming potential change to our snow emergency parking in the winter feel pretty tame,” said Baskin.
Overall he says people are being light-hearted about the whole mix up.
“It's been fun to know people have a sense of humor as well and to know whether you're in Austin, Texas or Austin, Minnesota we're all in this thing together,” said Baskin.
Before you contact your city council, Baskin recommends you double check it's the right state first.
Baskin does have family in Austin, so he's been here several times. He said their city hall occasionally gets phone calls from people here as well.
Other states with an Austin include Arkansas and Indiana.