City of Ames budgets 2015-16 fiscal year


Jonathan North/Iowa State Daily

Duane Pitcher, director of finance, addresses the Ames City Council. Pitcher oversees the entire budget project for the city of Ames. At the Feb. 3 meeting, the City Council discussed the 2015-16 draft budget.

Katie Titus

The City of Ames is spending the week in budget meetings to decide what needs funding from the city.

There are two different budgets for the fiscal year. One budget is for the year 2015-16 and consists of day-to-day operating expenses, while the other is the Capital Improvements Plan. The Capital Improvements Plan exists to map projects for the city five years in advance.

“The Capital Improvements Plan is separate and focuses on capital improvement projects,” said Susan Gwiasda, City of Ames public relations officer. “There usually has to be a certain amount of money being spent to even go into the [Capital Improvements Plan].”

The current Capital Improvements Plan and annual budget draft show potential for funding changes in the upcoming years.

Public Transit:

“The City’s contribution to CyRide will increase by 5.03 percent in fiscal year 2015-16, or an additional $79,401 over the previous year,” said City Manager Steve Schainker, according to a letter to the City Council.

ISU students make up 90 percent of CyRide’s riders, but they only fund 67 percent of what it costs to keep CyRide in service.

Increase in ridership and cutbacks in funding will cause the city to budget more money toward public transit to keep CyRide operating regularly for students and city members.

Public Transit is budgeted in the draft to cost $1,804,552 for the fiscal year.


“Expenditures for our parking operations are expected to exceed revenues generated from parking space rentals, overtime violations, illegal parking violations and parking meter collections by $53,045,” Schainker said.

The current parking fund has enough money that it does not require new direct funding in the budget this year, but if the pattern continues, it may call for budget changes in the upcoming years.

The current budget draft shows that the Parking Fund will not be asking for more money in the budget, but should the council later decide to rely on operations revenue to fund lot improvements, the cost of fines could be potentially raised.


The traffic control proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year is $989,151, which is up 6.6 percent from what the adopted budget for traffic control was in the 2014-15 year.

Traffic control constitutes construction, maintenance and replacement for controls for transportation.

The city has drafted $850,664 for total expenditures on transportation, including street and sidewalk maintenance.

Snow and Ice Control:

City crews utilize 33 units to remove ice and snow from the roads and sidewalks.

Ames has received 28 inches of snow this year, including the most recent storm Jan. 31 to Feb. 1. The average snowfall planned for each year is about 43 inches.

It costs $100.84 per inch of snow per mile to be removed. The total funding being asked for snow and ice control on the draft budget is $1,151,047.

Ames City Library

The focus of this year’s budget was the library renewal project.

The library has been renovated in all areas and has increased in size from 48,000 feet to 77,445 square feet.

The library renewal project is not part of the city budget for this year because it was allotted a certain area on Ames citizens’ property taxes last year.

“The library is paid for through a referendum,” Gwiasda said. “It had a special tax under property taxes.”

To find more about where the City of Ames is budgeting to spend money, view the City of Ames website and the 2015-16 draft budget.

Projects that are projected to go through Capital Improvements Plan will not be included in the yearly budget, but have their own budget for a five-year plan.