Ames City Council concluded an agreement with Ames Community School District to provide school resource officers, in addition to approving Ames Plan 2040 Tuesday night.
The meeting began with the presentation of the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 years. These were the 35th, and 36th years in a row the city of Ames received this award for an outstanding budget presentation.
The council heard from community members during the public forum. The council went on with presentations and hearings concerning the future of Ames and its residents.
The council came to a decision not to renew the school resource officer (SRO) program shared between the city of Ames and the Ames Community School District (ACSD). The agreement initially assigned one full-time officer to Ames High School but was amended in 2019 to include a second full-time officer.
Upon the amendment of the program, both parties came together on a formal agreement on the duties and obligations of SROs. The agreement formalized that SROs would not be security officers for the schools and should instead focus on fostering positive relations with the youth.
Since the return to full-time classes, officers have spent much more time trying to maintain a stable learning environment and uphold ACSD rules at the request of ACSD. These tasks no longer fit those specified in the formal agreement from 2019. Both parties agree that the formal agreement no longer serves the needs of the district or the city, warranting the end of the SRO program. At-Large Rep. Amber Corrieri gave her take on the issue after witnessing the School Board meeting the previous night from a parent's perspective.
"I saw teachers speaking through tears about the conditions that have been negatively effecting both staff and students," Corrieri said. "If there is a motion, I will vote in the favor of the City managers recommendation, not because I believe that the program is not successful or necessary for individuals, but because I trust the city manager when he says that the city's goals and the school district's goals are not in alignment."
The council also approved Ames Plan 2040, the long-term planning effort between the different goals within the Ames community.
Ames Plan 2040 is centered around the council's evaluation of growth scenarios for the next 20 years. The plan considers housing and commercial growth given an estimated population growth of 15,000 people over the next 20 years.
The plan includes vision statements addressing growth, land use, environmental concerns, transportation, and housing issues. The plan incorporates policies that would tie land use, transportation and environmental issues together to allow for a community design that accommodates common interests. The plan not only addresses the growth of new areas along the outskirts of the city but also the intensification of investments in targeted existing areas inside the city.
Ames Plan 2040 is meant to coordinate efforts in transportation, community, character, environment and parks and trails to allow the city to address its overall goals for expansion. Ames Plan 2040 is directly connected to many of Ames' existing infrastructure plans. The plan also has a placeholder for the community-wide climate action plan that will continue to be developed over the next 18 months.
The city council unanimously approved the City of Ames' participation in the national opioid settlement against large pharmaceutical corporations. 28 billion dollars are to be split between the U.S. states and accompanying counties proportionately to the effect that the opioid epidemic has had on areas.
With no downsides to participation in the settlement, Ames City Council unanimously approved the motion, entitling it to an undetermined percentage of the opioid settlement.
The City Council also approved the reprecinting of wards across Ames. Ames City Council quickly approved the reprecinting map provided by the county despite the complications arising from overlaps between new and old wards and their representatives. The council united behind their hopes for the overall community to overcome the difficulty of reprecinting amid the election cycle.
For people looking for more in-depth information concerning Ames Plan 2040, all information is available here. The next city council meeting will take place Jan. 11 in Ames City Hall at 6: p.m. It can also be attended virtually on the City of Ames website or their YouTube page.