New year, new city council, new student opportunities

Emelie Knobloch

The city council meeting held Jan. 13 will be the start of a new year with many changes made.

The meeting will be held earlier than usual at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall.

New council members, Amber Corrieri of at-large, Gloria Betcher of Ward 1, Tim Gartin of Ward 2 and Chris Nelson of Ward 4, will start their positions on city council at this Tuesday’s meeting.

“They are interested in making Ames more sustainable and strengthening the vitality of Campustown,” said Alexandria Harvey, student representative for City Council.

The new council members were sworn in on Jan. 2 in a ceremony led by James Malloy, an associate district court judge. About 50 people attended the ceremony.

“I am excited that this new council seems willing to strengthen and expand partnerships with ISU students and GSB,” Harvey said.

Peter Orazem of Ward 3, formerly an at-large councilman, and Mayor Ann Campbell were sworn in at the ceremony as well. They both ran for re-election unopposed.

“I believe that there will be more opportunities for students to be engaged in city efforts such as trail planning or volunteering in one of the human service organizations under ASSET,” Harvey said.

This is an unusually large group of new council members due to the redistricting by the 2010 Census.

New city council members attended orientation sessions with Steve Schainker, the city manager, and other staff members through November and December.

“Orientation was broken into two sections: building relations with each other and goal setting,” said Corrieri.

This orientation included touring city buildings, learning council procedures and Iowa’s open meeting law, and many other activities.

“I am focusing on getting up to speed and fully understanding the issues and what council has been working on,” Corrieri said.

Campbell has recommended that Nelson fill former council member Tom Wacha’s position on the Ames Economic Development Commission Board of Directors.

Corrieri and Gartin have been recommended by Mayor Campbell to take Jeremy Davis and Victoria Szopinski’s positions on the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors.

Mayor Campbell also recommended that Peter Orazem be appointed to the Mini Board of the Conference Board.

These recommendations will be finalized at tonight’s meeting.

Matthew Goodman, former at-large council member, was the only member not up for re-election.

Davis, former Ward 3 council member, will be running as the Republican candidate against state Democratic Sen. Herman Quirmbach in this year’s election.

The new city council has already met to discuss an outline of goals for the next two years on Saturday, Jan. 11.

“I spent nine hours in a goal planning session with the new council this past Saturday,” Harvey said.

City council’s ideas were divided into six subject areas: economic development, human services, affordable housing, downtown and Campustown, community-building and sustainability.

“While everyone came in with very different ideas and opinions, in the end; we were able to come to a general consensus,” Harvey said.

Council members plan to rank and narrow down the goals at a meeting Jan. 17.

“Prioritizing our goals will be difficult but we hope to make major progress,” Corrieri said.