City approves the increase of penalties during 801 day

Ward+1+Rep.+Gloria+Betcher%2C+Ward+2+Rep.+Tim+Gartin%2C+Ward+3+Rep.+Anita+Rollins+and+City+Manager+Steve+Schainker+during+the+regular+Ames+City+Council+meeting+May+10.

Photo by Katherine Kealey/ Iowa State Daily

Ward 1 Rep. Gloria Betcher, Ward 2 Rep. Tim Gartin, Ward 3 Rep. Anita Rollins and City Manager Steve Schainker during the regular Ames City Council meeting May 10.

Maximillian Lisowski

The Ames City Council amended a city ordinance to increase fines on 801 day for nuisance party municipal infractions. 

The City Council raised first-time offenses from $100 to $650 and subsequent offenses from $200 to $855. This decision came after an extensive discussion the council had last week and multiple complaints from residents living in Ames.  

Originally, the ordinance was proposed to deter students from engaging in “risky behavior” on the Saturday before classes begin. But now that 801 day has increasingly become a destination for people from out of town, complaints from residents in the area have also grown, according to city documents. The fine amount proposed was $750 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for subsequent offenses to try and deter students and out-of-town visitors to Ames from engaging in said behavior.  

The proposed dollar amount split the council. Ward 3 Rep. Anita Rollins, Amber Corrieri and Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen voted for the motion to increase fines for nuisance parties on certain occasions but was met with a dissenting vote from Ward 2 Rep. Tim Gartin and Rachel Junck. Gartin said he did not want to approve the adjustment because little information about the council’s discussions was available to the public. 

“It’s unfortunate that the tribune provided no coverage over this story,” Gartin said. “And so the public didn’t really have any sense of the discussion that we had. It’s difficult to get public input if we don’t let the public know what we’re doing.” 

Since the initial vote did not receive four votes, a requirement for implementing new city ordinances, the council discussed it further.  

The members were willing to support a substantial increase, but the proposed fine amount was not reasonable to the collective. Instead of raising fines to $750 for first offenses and $1,000 for subsequent offenses, the council decided to vote on fines of $650 and $855, respectively.  

“We’re trying to send a strong message,” Mayor John Haila said. “We have residents that appeared before this council and complained about inappropriate behavior or trying to clean up, and the point is that they’re breaking the law. They’re breaking ordinances.”

In a 4-1 vote, the City Council voted again to amend and implement the new ordinance raising fine amounts on 801 day. Rachel Junck voted against the ordinance. Ward 1 Rep. Gloria Betcher was not present at the meeting. 

More information concerning Tuesday’s meeting can be found on the city of Ames website.