City Council advances e-cig ban, CyRide budget


A student waits to get on CyRide, the public transit system available to students in Ames.

Christie Smith

Council members heard public input regarding CyRide budgeting and e-cigarette use at a meeting of the Ames City Council on Tuesday night.

The meeting included a scheduled public forum for the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, a 5-year budget for major projects. A section of the plan has been dedicated for improvements to the CyRide fleet, storage facility and bus stops.

The plan, which was introduced at the Jan. 20 meeting by city manager Steven Schainker, will provide for the purchase of 13 new buses and 25 used buses by 2021. It also allocates more than $2 million to expand CyRide’s current storage facility, which the CyRide Board of Trustees estimate will be outgrown by fall 2016.

In an effort to improve bus stops, the plan provides funding to install shelters at three bus stops per year over the next five years.

Funding for CyRide has become a priority for the city since federal funding has been cut and the burden of the public transportation system has relied more heavily on local funding.

CyRide fees for students, which are built into tuition costs, have increased this semester from $66.35 to $73.10 per semester, according to ex-officio representative Sam Schulte.

No one commented on the CyRide budgeting during the public forum. The Capital Improvement Plan will be voted on at the Feb. 9 meeting.

Council members also voted 6-0 on the second passage of an ordinance to ban electronic cigarette and nicotine delivery systems Tuesday.

The ban, which was introduced to council on the heels of the Iowa State ban Jan. 12, was passed unanimously a second time after widespread public support.

The council first discussed a potential e-cigarette ban in December. Several residents, including many students from Iowa State, attended the Dec. 8 meeting to voice their support for the ban.

Members from Iowa State’s Health Promotion Club, who spoke during public forums in December and January regarding the ban, were present at the meeting Tuesday to support its second passage.

The ordinance will ban e-cigarettes in all public places where cigarette use is already prohibited under the Smokefree Air Act, with an exception for e-cigarette stores. City Council will vote on the ban for a final time in February.