City of Ames budget hearings begin

Emelie Knobloch

The City of Ames will be hosting three budget hearings this week. They will be Feb. 4, 5 and 6 at 5:15 p.m. in City Council Chambers.

“The focus of the hearings is to give an overview of the spending done by the departments of the City of Ames,” said City of Ames public relations officer Susan Gwiasda.

The first meeting, Feb. 4, will include discussions of library services, water pollution control, traffic maintenance, parking maintenance and the street system among many other topics.

Gwiasda said there will be a lot of departments presenting their budgets at the hearings.

“The budget is the centerpiece of policy making in government,” said Alexandria Harvey, student representative for city council. “It is the single most important document that affects the citizens of Ames.”

Harvey said students should pay attention to the budget process and get involved because we make up more than half of the population of Ames.

“Everyone should have an interest in how public dollars are spent,” Gwiasda said. “Let your voice be heard by the city.”

Harvey said that [students] need to make sure that the budget reflects their needs and priorities as well.

“Students have a large stake in where the city’s dollars are spent,” Gwiasda said.

The second meeting, Feb. 5, will focus on parks and recreation, parking law enforcement, fire safety, building safety and law enforcement.

“Students should attend these hearings because several topics directly relate to Iowa State,” Gwiasda said. “Iowa State and the City of Ames have many great partnerships.”

Gwiasda said that the main Iowa State related topics of the hearings include CyRide, the Ice Arena and the fire department that Iowa State pays 25 percent of the funding for.

The third meeting, Feb. 6, will include the transit system, city-wide affordable housing and community development block grant.

“We will be going over the budget as an overview, not line by line,” Gwiasda said.

An extension for the 2014-2019 Community Development Block Grant five-year consolidated and the Annual Action Plans for the Department of Housing and Urban Development is also on the agenda for the second meeting.

The hearings have been split into three different days because of the amount of material to cover according to Gwiasda.

The hearing will take approximately three hours each day.

Programs that will be presenting at the hearings include the community enrichment, utilities, public safety, transportation, general government and public works.

Public input will be heard Feb. 11 during the budget wrap-up process.