City Council discusses proposed budget, CyRide


Chris Anderson/Iowa State Daily

Ames city council reviews the proposed budget before voting next week.

Chris Anderson

Ames City Council met Thursday to discuss items of the proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, including funding for the CyRide transit system.

The meeting was the last of three special meetings held to discuss the new budget.

Much of the time was spent discussing the CyRide transit system. Many issues and challenges facing CyRide were brought to the council, as well as projections for the next year.

Due to $20,000 in cut funding from the state and costs relating to Affordable Care Act laws, CyRide is expected to need more funding for the fiscal year.

Another $50,000 is being added to the CyRide program as well to deal with administraitive costs.

To make up for lost funding, student fees for CyRide are set to rise $2.25 to a total of $75.35. The budget also allocates less funding for fuel to CyRide because of decreasing fuel costs.

One issue that CyRide is facing is the increasing difficulty of its drivers to obtain their commercial driver’s license. The city is currently looking at more ways to make employment more attractive due to the barriers potential drivers face.

CyRide is also currently looking to increase space to store its busses and is currently looking at spaces to expand.

Another way CyRide is being forced to expand is with increasing evening ridership due to an increase in evening classes being offered at Iowa State.

Many items on the budget with employment as a factor faced budget uncertainty due to the state of health care laws in the country.

The city currently complies with the Affordable Care Act, however, with President Donald Trump promising to repeal the law, there are worries that health care costs could rise.

The city currently is acting as if the Affordable Care Act will continue to stay law and scheduling its budget for city employees’ health care accordingly.

After the budget meeting, the council discussed other topics such as taking advantage of state funds and setting up a fund for affordable housing in Ames.

The Senate will vote on the proposed budget next during Tuesday’s meeting.