Ames City Council discusses budgets, annexations

Tedi Mathis

The Ames City Council discussed budgets, annexations and housing options for lower income residents at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.

A conference board meeting to discuss budget proposals, which ended at 7 p.m., preceded the council meeting.

The council meeting opened with the consent agenda, which covered topics such as public works projects and liquor licenses for restaurants in Ames. All items were passed unanimously except for one item that was removed prior to discussion.

The meeting breezed through agenda items until the discussion on the city’s Capitol Improvement Plan and the floor opened for public input.

First on the floor was the director of the Ames Community Preschool who was present to ask for funds for a playground at its new property. She asked the city to consider investing $27,000 in the playground and sharing it with the city during non-school hours.

The final three presenters spoke in reference to the Roosevelt school and park area. One resident asked that the council “include money for another good play structure in particular.”

Another hot topic of the night involved the annexation of the Athen property, as the city chose to delay action until issues were clarified and resolved. Debate over the topic lasted almost an hour as city council members discussed the best way to cover sprinklers in homes and extension of electric utility lines.

Chuck Winkleblack was present and spoke on behalf of Hunziker Land Development and encouraged the council to spread the services up to the Hunziker property.

The meeting then moved on to a discussion about the city’s Action Plan in the Community Development Block Grant Program, and the conversation focused on affordable housing in Ames.

One resident stated Iowa State was part of the problem when it came to the lack of affordable housing. She stated that students renting some of the less expensive apartments in Ames was a problem, “especially now that the university is pushing to increase enrollment in the upcoming years.”

Also discussed throughout the meeting was the use of fireworks at North Grand Mall at the grand opening of the Kohl’s store, and a short review of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in the city.