Ames City Council meets with community members to start planning 2014-15 budget


Hayley Hochstetler/Iowa State Daily

More than 700 donors contributed to the Curtiss Hall renovations and the Leonard and Evelyn Dolezal Auditorium. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held before the gathering in Harl Commons on Oct. 1.

Emelie Knobloch

Community members gathered with the City Council to give input and start planning Ames’ budget for 2014-15.

City managers Bob Kindred, Steve Schainker, Brian Phillips and Melissa Mundt, Director of finance Duane Pitcher and budget officer Carol Collings were present.

Ames Mayor Ann Campbell was also in attendance.

“There has been a fair amount of variability in property taxes over the past few years,” Kindred said.

The 2012-13 budget stated that there were five main goals of the city council for the those years.

The goals were to support environmental sustainability, promote economic development, strengthen the Ames community, mitigate flooding in the community and enhance relationships with Iowa State through additional partnerships.

According to the 2012-13 budget, the City Council explored methods of enhancing its relationship with Iowa State through additional partnerships by revitalizing Campustown, continuing to support Campustown Action Association, fostering negotiations between Iowa State and association to help Campustown business viability and explore flat space funding feasibility.

Kim Hannah, of Campustown Action Association, requested help from the Facade Grant. The organization will be looking for $50,000.

The 2012-13 budget documented a $0.12 property tax reduction, a water utility 4.2 percent rate increase, a sanitary sewer utility 10 percent rate increase, a resource recovery utility decrease of $1.40 per capita rate, a 7 percent transit increase in support of CyRide and increased fines for illegal parking.

There was not a revenue increase in electric utility or storm sewer utility, according to the 2012-13 budget.

Schainker said the city is looking to join with someone to fund an expansion of the research farm. This would be an expensive project, Schainker said.

The 2013-14 budget documented a $0.14 increase in the property tax rate, a 6 percent rate increase and a 9 percent rate increase in sanitary sewer utility.

There was not a revenue increase in resource recovery, storm sewer utility and electric utility, according to the 2013-14 budget.

“I would like to state some of the great things the city of Ames has already been doing,” said Debby Lee, an Ames resident. “We appreciate the work and code inspections in my neighborhood and a police department that is proactive.” 

Brian Riley, student at Iowa State, asked about free citywide Wi-Fi. Kindred stated there is not a big demand for Wi-Fi outdoors now because of a growing number of smartphones.

Schainker said the city of Ames is working to move Fire Station 2 away from Campustown.

Nov. 26 will be the city guideline meeting to review issues, priorities and preferences in service levels, the next part of the city of Ames budget process.

Throughout January and February, City Council will review the entire program budget with the departments in five public meetings which will be Jan. 31, Feb. 4 to 6

and 11.

The final budget hearing and adoption will be March 4.