Good evening and welcome to the first Ames City Council meeting for the month of November. A full agenda tonight. The council gets a report from electric utility officials on public sessions on options for what could be major changes in how the city generates electricity. The council will consider aresolution determining if the power plant should be fueled by coal or natural gas. The council also takes another look at a tech company's Campustown redevelopment project. Kingland Systems wants to take down the building on west Lincoln Way near Welch Ave. The compnay wants put up a larger building that will serve at it's headquarters, offer office space for Iowa State University, and add new retail space. Kingland wants the city to give up $2 million in tax abatements to offset construction costs. The council will also consider a Convention and Visitors Bureau proposal for $38 million in expanded convention space at the Iowa State Center. Voters would be asked to cover half of the cost in a $19 million bond issue. Iowa State University would pay for the other half of the construction.
6:20PM: Council and EURAB board move to chose natural gas as the primary source of fuel for the city's power plant. On now to regular council agenda.
7:01PM: We just cleared the first severe tire damage spikes of the evening, spending a long time listening to issues related to alleys and streets in Campustown.
7:25PM: I thought we were done with that C'Town issue. I was wrong. After moving the agenda around a bit with the early start time, we are now back on track.
7:40PM: ACVB presenting "flat space" ballot issue...
7:45PM: ACVB Director Julie Weeks says study in 2011 says addition of hotel to Iowa State Center as part of new convention space was not a good idea.
7:50PM: Weeks says additional convention business would bring $30 million to Ames economy.
7:55PM: Weeks says the center itself would operate at an annual $230,000 deficit. She says $300,000 in ACVB's take of additional hotel/motel tax from more people in Ames would cover the shortage.
7:55PM: ISU Senior Vice President for Business and Finance Warren Madden says the university is committed (with board of regents approval) to fund it's half of the $38 million price tag.
8:00PM: City Manager Steve Schainker says the new Scheman Building would have meeting space set aside for community groups to use for free.
8:05PM: Council votes unanimously to direct staff to draft ballot language for a March 4th election. Council will consider the issue again at it's Nov. 26th meeting.
8:05PM: Time for a 10-minute long 5 minute break.
8:15PM: And, we're back...
8:25PM: Kingland plan is up. Settle in, this is gonna take awhile.
8:30PM: Kingland CEO Todd Rogness tells the council their design plan has changed, major retailer no longer requires a drive-thru. Council expressed initial concern that this could present traffic issues.
9:00PM: Council and Kingland officials debating how long the building's first floor should be used exclusively for retail. Kingland is OK with that provision for the 10-year life of the tax increment financing plan. Council is pushing for retail in perpetuity.
9:05PM: At-Large Council Member Peter Orazem--"Perpetuity is a long time..."
9:20PM: The council is parsing the language it sends back to staff for tax increment financing, length of requirement for retail use in buidling, etc. Staff would like to have the issue back to the council for discussion at it's 11/26/13 meeting, final approval at the 12/10/13 meeting.