Ames City Council, Student Government Discuss Hurricane Welcoming Weekend – Iowa State Daily

The Ames City Council discussed the Cyclone Welcome Weekend, among a host of other topics, at a joint meeting with the Iowa State Student Government.

The council meets with student government once per semester to discuss topics relevant to Ames students.

Cyclone Hospitality Weekend

Members of the Senate and City Council heard from Ames Police Chief Geoff Huff and Iowa State Police Chief Michael Newton on the home weekend proceedings cyclones. John Haila, Mayor of Ames, said the intent behind Cyclone Welcome Week was to create a safe environment for returning students to celebrate their return to the city.

Newton said 62.9% of those cited during the Cyclone Welcome Weekend were neither Iowa State students nor Ames residents. He added that before receiving citations, visitors told him they had heard that Ames was the place to be this weekend to party, but after receiving citations, the visitors would say, “Ames is lame”.

“We want Ames to be fun for all of you who are here and love Ames, Newton said. “We know that because you like Ames, you’re going to handle things appropriately, right?”

Huff and Newton, with the support of the council, expressed their wish to prevent out-of-town revelers unconnected with Ames from participating in Cyclone Welcome Weekend and other associated events.

“A lot of people came into town from the University of Iowa for this event, so we hope to see the number of people coming from out of town go down over time,” Huff said. “I hope they will stay at their university and that our event will continue with these well-planned official events. [and] well attended.

Huff said Ames police were having trouble recruiting staff for the cyclone welcome weekend because they had $5,000 in overtime, excluding overtime from supervisors who are not paid overtime. Newton said ISU police supplemented the Ames police force over the weekend because most activity is off campus.

“We also had accusations related to the printing of the sign – the giant signs – indicating that you might be towed away,” Huff said. “It was almost $2,200 plus the time and effort to put up and take down all the signs.”

Huff said he most often heard that events unfolding over the cyclone’s welcome weekend lacked the excitement of years past, which he said was hoped for. He added that the ordinances passed by city to increase penalties over weekend helped the parking situation.

Off-campus Senator Katherine Engelken, a graduate in animal ecology, suggested the administration hold events downtown during the cyclone’s welcome weekend to discourage parties. Haila said the Ames Chamber of Commerce participated in the Cyclone Welcome Weekend and was evaluating effective methods to attract more students to the town centre.

“I think it’s worth exploring further; I want to know specifically what you think would entice students to come,” Haila said.

Mental Health

On the topic of mental health, College of Design Senator Emi Thornton, an architecture major, asked the city council what they plan to do to address the salary and lease gaps in Ames as they have a negative impact on student mental health. .

“In low-wage terms, students were half the population for more than three-quarters of that year, and that’s a high workforce,” Thornton said. “When they are disenfranchised due to low pay and the high stress of many hours of lessons, their mental health will suffer. Treating mental health symptoms with workshops will not solve the long-term problem.

Thornton said the living wage at Ames was $15, then they listed city and campus jobs that pay less than $15.

“Seven of the 12 jobs currently posted on the city government website don’t pay $15 an hour, they pay less than that, you can just Google ‘City of Ames jobs’ to find that,” said said Thornton. “The ISU restaurants pay $13 an hour, the ISU library pays $10 an hour – these are the jobs that employ most of our students.”

At-Large Rep. Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen said the city is limited in what it can do to address the issues because the legislature has blocked city-level administrators from imposing minimum wages above minimum wage. of State. She suggested a meeting could be held with landlords and landlords to work out lease gaps, but that doesn’t guarantee a remedy.

Deputy city manager Deb Schildroth said she and the campus and community commission, made up of students, had conversations in an effort to fill in the gaps in the leases, citing a survey sent to the owners on the matter.

“While not all of the property management companies or landlords responded to our survey or told us about the issues we were trying to solve, a good number did,” Schildroth said. . “And on the issue of the lease gap, what landlords who participate and respond to our survey said is that if it was discussed with them in advance, they would try to make accommodations to allow people to stay in the apartment or move into their next apartment sooner.

Schildroth said there would be a cost associated with housing, but landlords would try to work with tenants.

Brian Vanderheyden, director of student welfare at Iowa State, said the university is completing a health and needs assessment. They said the assessment includes quantitative analysis, qualitative analysis, and environmental scanning, all to meet the needs of the Iowa State community.

“This part of it looks at 181 best practices that relate to a variety of topics such as basic needs, mental health, substance use, power response and others,” Vanderheyden said.

Vanderheyden expects the report to be completed by the end of the fall semester.

The city currently has no mental health initiatives specifically for underrepresented or marginalized communities. Mary Malausky, a junior psychology student and student government’s diversity equity and inclusion director, suggested the city take over, as people from marginalized communities are more likely to struggle to access mental health resources.

“Cultural competency and recognition of each person’s individual needs are at the root of the initiatives we take,” Schildroth said. “We would like to have more information on this. I think we can improve and we have to improve.

Ames Climate Action Plan

Schildroth gave a brief overview of Ames’ climate action plan to the Senate. The plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3% by 2030, with a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. A city consultant detailed the six major actions the city must take to progress towards its objectives:

–Reduce vehicle emissions.
–Increase active transport.
–Increase public transport.
–Installation of retrofits.
– Achieve net zero emissions for new developments by reviewing existing policy.
–Reduce waste emissions.

“We have 29 action steps under these six big moves,” Schildroth said. “So what staff have been doing over the past few months is analyzing those action steps and looking at financial feasibility, legal feasibility, how this is going to affect our community and our residents and what kind of staff time or administrative time it will take to implement these action steps.”

City staff will report their findings to City Council at 6 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Student engagement

City council members and city staff asked the Senate for more ways students can engage with local government. Deputy City Manager Brian Phillips shared an app called Ames On The Go with the Senate.

“Ames On The Go allows anyone in the community to let the city know about issues you may be having with the community, whether it’s potholes, sidewalk repairs, traffic lights traffic not working properly, issues with parks and recreation, graffiti — things of that nature,” Phillips said.

The app also features events and jobs available throughout Ames.

Haila shared various committees open to students to contribute to the affairs of the city. Having served on the transit agency’s board of directors for five years, Hailia said joining a committee is a good way to examine how the city and state of Iowa work together.

“I know a lot of people aren’t engaged in city government, maybe because they think it doesn’t affect their day-to-day life, but there’s definitely a lot going on in this city that matters. said Ward 4 Rep. Rachel Junck, a graduate student in business administration. “The sales tax you pay at any Ames restaurant or retail store – it’s because of the government.”

Pedestrian master plan

Damion Pregitzer, Traffic Engineer for the City of Ames, provided an update on Walk Bike Roll Ames, a project that aims to make walking, cycling and driving safer and more comfortable through Ames, according to the city’s website.

“It’s basically an infrastructure plan,” Pregitzer said. “He will talk about politics; it will talk about ways to encourage walking and cycling and things like that, but the plan focuses on how the network is designed, how it is planned for the future and how it is paid for.

The plan only affects city-run spaces, leaving the state of Iowa with the ability to come up with its own plan. Pregitzer said students can stay up to date with the plan by visiting the city’s website and signing up for updates.

Thornton asked if the city would impose an ordinance requiring helmets on bicycles, to which Pregitzer replied that such an ordinance would be added if the consultants working on the plan suggested it after reviewing current policies and best practices.

“If we don’t have this type of law or something that [Thornton was] describing we could make a recommendation when the plan is ready to pass that we have a helmet law or we have some other type of thing and then it will be up to the city council to decide if they want to go ahead with that,” Pregitzer said.

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