City council relevant to students

Kayla Schantz

While enrolled at Iowa State, students are residents of the City of Ames. And although they may not realize it, the Ames City Council is an important part of every student’s life.

The council makes legislative decisions that affect students and faculty. This could involve a variety of issues, such as snow and ice removal from sidewalks, noise ordinances, Campustown redevelopment and Homecoming funding.

The council is made up of the mayor and six council members — four elected from each ward and two elected to represent the city as a whole.

Mayor Ann Campbell has served since 2006. The duties of the mayor are to preside over council meetings and appoint members of city boards, commissions and committees. The mayor does not vote, except to break a tie.

The City Council has the responsibility of making laws, ordinances and policies. The current council members are Tom Wacha, Jami Larson, Jeremy Davis, Riad Mahayni, Matthew Goodman and Peter Orazem.

An ex-officio student representative also serves on the council. Appointed by the Iowa State Government of the Student Body, this non-voting member represents the student body in the various issues discussed during meetings.

In addition to the council, the city manager plays an important role in the city government. Unlike the elected council members, the city manager is hired by the city.

The city’s current manager, Steve Schainker, has been serving Ames as city manager since 1981. Schainker carries out the daily responsibilities of running the city. He also oversees city departments and divisions, as well as the annual city budget.

The council meets regularly on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Council Chambers, which is located on the second floor of City Hall. Special meetings may also be called at other times to discuss additional issues that come up.

During the council meetings, any member of the community is allowed to speak during what is called public forum. At this time, people can address the council about any subject.

In order to speak during public forum, residents need to fill out a card with their name and address and give it to a staff member prior to the meeting. The mayor will then call each resident’s name to speak at the public forum time.

To keep up to date on council issues, students can go to the City of Ames website, The website, which is recently redesigned, contains information where residents can find a schedule of council meetings, contact information for council members, past council meeting minutes and upcoming meeting agendas.

Another way students can get involved with the city government is through the Student Affairs Commission. The group meets once a month to discuss student-related issues and bring them to the council.

The group is comprised of representatives of various student and city sectors, including city manager Schainker and ex-officio student representative England, as well as the Government of the Student Body president, a Greek community leader and several students.

The Student Affairs Commission has recently discussed subjects such as Campustown cleanliness and also had plans approved to renovate DZ Triangle, a piece of land in the Greek Community.

No matter how they choose to get involved, students should keep up to date with recent council decisions, and not hesitate to contact council members or the ex-officio student representative with concerns, or address council during public forum with issues.