Council enlists ISU sustainability director for energy conservation efforts

James Heggen

The City Council approved a contract Tuesday night to employ the services of the ISU sustainability director to help with Ames’ energy conservation efforts.

The vote initially failed 3-2. However, because it is a resolution, there must be four votes for the resolution to pass. After being reconsidered, the resolution passed by a vote of 4-1.

Matthew Goodman, City Council member, initially voted against the contract, but changed his vote, which allowed the measure to pass. Goodman was concerned that the way the contract was written, it had too narrow of a focus on what would be done in terms of sustainability.

Steve Schainker, Ames city manager, said the reason why the contract is very specific in the spelling out of duties for ISU Sustainability director Merry Rankin is because the city wanted her duties to be as focused as possible because sustainability can encompass so many things.

“She will maintain her office at the university, not here, that’s important to know,” Schainker said.

He said after talks with Rankin and the university, they learned the term sustainability was very broad, and if the responsibilities were not specific, measures would be too broad to get objectives accomplished.

Under the contract, some of Rankin’s main objectives will be to head a “Community Sustainability Task Force,” which will work on a plan to reduce the Ames’ carbon footprint.

The contract will be for one fiscal year and pay Rankin $25,000. There will be an opportunity to extend the services if desired.

A resolution was also approved choosing Neumann Monson as the architect for the transmodal hub.