City Council to discuss electric charging stations and mental health initiative


Ames City Council conducting business Jan. 14, 2020.

Finn Mcnally

In their meeting Tuesday, Ames City Council will vote to approve the purchase of $120,000 worth of electric vehicle charging stations. They will also discuss a mental health initiative and a name change for Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority.

The Council will be voting to waive the $25,000 Purchasing Policy threshold in order to purchase electric vehicle charging stations for the city of Ames. This would also include awarding a contract to Commonwealth Electric of Des Moines, Iowa, for the installation of $16,000 worth of charging stations.

The Council will also vote to approve an amendment that would change the name of the Squaw Creek Watershed Management Authority (SCWMA) to the Ioway Creek Watershed Management Authority. The SCWMA is part of an agreement with other cities and counties that aims to engage, educate and encourage all citizens to improve the health, stewardship and resiliency of our watershed resources. 

The term squaw is considered offensive by Indigenous groups in America due to its historically derogatory use. The official name of the creek itself was changed in February 2021 to Ioway Creek. The city manager has recommended changing the SCWMA to match this rather than coming up with a new name.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, Mayor John Haila suggested an initiative for mental health awareness. The initiative would aim to improve mental health wellness, recovery and resiliency and would include a public forum discussion with mental health experts, mental health first aid training, suicide prevention training and resource and information distribution.

Also on the agenda, the Council will discuss the installation of security cameras around Campustown. The project was proposed in December and has since been changed based on feedback and the Iowa State Student Government passed a resolution in support of the project.

In response to concerns over privacy, the city staff said the security system would not have advanced tracking abilities such as facial recognition and that video footage would only be retained for 30 days and would not be public record.

The City Council will meet at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday. The meeting will be accessible via Zoom or via livestream on YouTube and City Council’s website.