Ames City Council, Student Government discuss sustainability during joint meeting


Kara Dehner/Iowa State Daily

Vice President of the student government Shakes hand with Mayor John Haila after adjourning the joint city council and student government meeting on Oct 23. 

Amber Mohmand

Ames City Council and Iowa State Student Government spoke about sustainability and internet services at a joint meeting Wednesday evening. 

Councilman Chris Nelson, Ward 4 representative, said the city had moved towards reducing its carbon movement taking steps such as converting older CyRide buses into electric buses. Ames Mayor John Haila said the financial aspect is holding the council back from converting all of the buses. 

“I think that if [the council could] convert every vehicle to electric and be cost neutral, we would do it in a heartbeat,” Haila said. “[An] electric bus [costs] $400,000 more than a diesel bus, we would go $500,000 to $900,000 and we have, I think it’s close to 100 buses — that’s $40 million to convert to electric buses.” 

As CyRide is funded by the city and Iowa State, Haila said if the city were to convert all of the CyRide buses to electric buses, it would significantly increase student tuition. 

“Students pay about 40 percent of CyRide budget, so if we would go ahead in 10 years time [and] we all start buying those buses — you start doing the math — instead of paying $80 towards CyRide every semester, I think it’s going to go up exponentially in order to do that,” Haila said. 

The council also introduced the internet feasibility study to Student Government which will be used as a tool for the council to consider introducing a municipal internet service. Ward 3 Representative David Martin said the council is investigating the extent to what the service will bring and what a new provider, MetroNet, will bring. 

“What we’ve been investigating is the extent to which internet access is really accessible, affordable and available off-campus,” Martin said. “Of course there is a huge amount of overlap between what happens on-campus and off.” 

The council and student government also discussed options for changing adding flashing pedestrian signs to three areas: one between Lincoln Way and Stanton Avenue, S 16th Street as well as the intersection of University Boulevard and Haber Road.

Nelson said the changes could be challenging due to the city only having authority to the intersection between Lincoln Way and Stanton Avenue. 

“When the state owns the property on both sides of the road, it’s a state street,” Nelson said. “So, we have streets in Ames that are actually not city of Ames streets. Those are in the jurisdiction of the university.” 

There was also a discussion of bringing rental motor scooters to the city.

At-Large Representative Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen said she is concerned with the safety and where community members would leave the scooters. Beatty-Hansen said she is concerned if the areas where people would place would impact those with disabilities and if there was a fine introduced for improper parking of the scooters, it could help with that concern.