Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Ames Animal Shelter

    • How do I adopt a pet?

  • Ames Area MPO

    • How often does the MPO update the Long Range Transportation Plan?

    • How often is the Passenger Transportation Plan developed?

    • How often is the Transportation Improvement Program developed?

    • How often is the Transportation Planning Work Program developed?

  • Customer Services

    • Can a utility account be in more than one name?

    • Can a utility service be transferred from one roommate’s name to another roommate’s name?

    • Can anyone pay a utility bill?

    • Can utility deposits be transferred between roommates?

    • Does the Utility offer level or even payment plans (budget billing)?

    • How soon do I need to inform the Utility to start, stop or transfer my utility service?

    • Is a deposit required to start my utility service?

    • May I change the due date of my utility bill?

    • What do I do if there is a power outage?

    • What is budget billing?

    • What utility services does the City of Ames provide?

    • When do I get my utility deposit back?

    • When is my utility bill considered late and a late fee assessed?

    • Where do I pay Parking Tickets?

    • Where do I pay Traffic Tickets?

  • Economic Development

    • Does the City of Ames issue business licenses?

    • I would like to install an awning/canopy or a sign that extends past my property line into the public right-of-way. What type of permit will I need to obtain?

  • Electric

    • What do I do if there is a power outage?

  • Finance

    • How can I estimate my property taxes?

    • How can I obtain current assessment and tax information on a property that I am interested in?

    • How do I protest my assessment?

  • Fire

    • Do you offer fire extinguisher training?

    • Do you offer tours of the fire stations?

    • How can I become a Firefighter for the City of Ames?

    • How can I get a copy of a fire incident report?

    • How can I schedule a fire truck or firefighter at my function?

    • How do I contact the Inspection Division?

    • How do I sign up for emergency notification?

    • What if my carbon monoxide detector is sounding?

    • What is the burning policy in the City of Ames?

    • When an emergency vehicle is approaching that is displaying emergency lights and sirens, what should I do?

    • Who do I call about a fire extinguisher that doesn't work?

    • Why do fire trucks respond to motor vehicle accidents?

    • Why do firefighters respond to medical calls?

    • Why do I see fire trucks with full lights and sirens go through a red light at intersections and then, after they go through, they turn off their lights and slow down?

    • Why do so many fire apparatus respond to simple incidents?

  • Housing

    • I am installing a pool in my yard. What are the rules?

  • Information Technology

    • What is the City's policy about linking to a person's web page through the City web page?

  • Inspections

    • Are certain properties exempt from the rental code?

    • Are closet lights required or allowed?

    • Are there parking requirements for a rental property?

    • Can I appeal a decision made about my rental property at the time of my routine inspection?

    • Can I have a property inspected before I purchase it?

    • Can my gas fired furnace and water heater be located in or in close proximity to a bedroom or bathroom?

    • Does the property owner need to be present for the routine inspection or the re-inspection?

    • How do I know if my property is considered a "rental" property?

    • How do I register my rental property?

    • How do I remove my rental property from rental registration?

    • How do I update my rental contact information?

    • How many ground-fault protected outlets does a rental property need in the kitchen? In the bathroom?

    • How often will my rental property need to be inspected in order to maintain a Letter of Compliance?

    • How will I be notified of an upcoming inspection?

    • I am installing a pool in my yard. What are the rules?

    • I heard there were new requirements for automatic alarm systems in apartments. Does this affect all apartments?

    • I want to put up a sign at my business. What do I need to do?

    • If I am purchasing an already registered rental, do I need to have an inspection?

    • Is a bathroom required to have a bath fan?

    • Is gravel an approved parking material?

    • Is it true that a single furnace serving multiple units is not allowed?

    • Is there a fee for a routine rental inspection?

    • Required Smoke Detectors

    • What are the general expectations for the exterior of a rental property?

    • What are the requirements for smoke detectors?

    • What are the rules about having open-flame cooking devices on a deck?

    • What is a Fuel Burning Appliance Certification form and when do I need to provide one for my mechanical equipment?

    • What is a Knox Box and do I need one?

    • What is the process for filing a complaint against a rental property?

    • What material is safe for a clothes dryer vent?

    • What type of fire extinguisher do I need to provide for my rental property?

    • What type of smoke detector should I install in my rental property?

    • Where am I required to have an egress window/emergency escape opening?

    • Where can I find information to help me prepare for a rental inspection?

    • Who do I contact if I need to re-schedule my inspection?

    • Who is responsible for the extermination of insects and rodents in a structure?

  • Legal

    • Does the City of Ames have an ordinance that prohibits the keeping of any particular breed of dog?

    • I’ve noticed many cats around our neighborhood. It seems as though they’re let out the door and left to roam.Is there a leash law for cats as well as dogs?

    • I’ve noticed that as the days get longer, there are more and more construction projects starting even earlier in the morning. Sometimes the noise is so loud it wakes me up. Is the legal?

    • Is it legal to raise chickens in one’s backyard within the City limits?

    • Can I burn my leaves?

    • Can I support a candidate with a sign in my yard?

    • How do you know if the snow ordinance is in effect?

    • I have a landlord/Tenant Dispute Question.

    • I have a neighbor who mows the lawn and uses a blower at 7 am in the morning. Doesn't the city have ordinances or rules regarding this issue?

    • I’m thinking of putting a fence around my property. I’m looking at a lot of different styles and heights. When I install my fence, what do I need to know?

    • I’ve noticed a lot of campaign signs in yards, posters on light poles, and even information left at my house and on my car windshield. Are these Legal?

    • My lease is almost up and I’m getting ready to move out of my apartment. How do I get my security deposit back? What do I do with all the junk from my apartment that I want to discard when I move?

    • My neighbor’s dog barks constantly. Is there a rule against constant disruption of the peace and quiet of a neighborhood?

    • My neighbor’s tree hangs over my driveway, dropping leaves and branches on my car. Is there a law that says my neighbor must keep the tree trimmed back? Can I trim the tree back?

    • Now that the weather is warmer, I’m exercising outside more often. Some of the sidewalks I jog along are cracked and in poor condition. I don’t want to run in the street, what can I do?

    • Once the weather turns cooler, I’m interested in completing some home repair projects. Do I need a building permit to add a deck or rebuild my old garage?

    • What are the rules for posting signs around town to advertise my upcoming garage sale?

    • What can I do with all these leaves?

    • Where can I ride my skateboard?

    • Who is Responsible for Damage from a Tree Falling onto City Property?

    • Who is responsible for shoveling sidewalks in front of a residence?

  • Police

    • An officer stopped me for no reason and acted very rude to me. I want to issue a complaint against that officer. What do I need to do?

    • Can you tell me the road condition of the roads in Central Iowa?

    • Does my bicycle need to be licensed with the city? If so, where do i need to go to get a license?

    • Does the city of Ames have a severe weather outdoor warning system?

    • How about fingerprinting children?

    • How can I get a noise permit?

    • How can I get my towed vehicle out of the impound lot?

    • How can I obtain a copy of an incident or accident report?

    • How can I obtain a restraining order against someone?

    • How do I apply for the Citizen Police Academy?

    • How do I report graffiti I've seen in Ames?

    • How long can I park my car on the street?

    • I don't have room in my garage or driveway for all my vehicles. Can I park a car in my front yard?

    • I got a parking ticket that I didn't deserve. Do I have to pay it?

    • I need to be fingerprinted for a job application, professional license or other personal reason, will the Ames Police Department do this?

    • I need to get a dog license. How much does that cost and where do I go to do that?

    • I received an obscene/harassing phone call. What should I do?

    • I want to report a missing person. What information do I need?

    • I would like to have an officer talk to my neighbors and me about crime prevention. Is that possible?

    • Is my friend in jail at the Ames Police Department?

    • Is the Ames Police Department currently hiring?

    • My neighbors park their cars across the sidewalk of their driveway. Is this legal?

    • People are knocking on my door selling magazines. They are very rude and can't take no for an answer. Is it legal for them to sell door-to-door?

    • Was my stray pet picked up by an Animal Control Officer?

    • We want to have a party, but heard there is a Keg Ordinance in Ames. What should we do?

    • We're going to have a parade down Main Street, do we need a parade permit?

    • What can I do if someone is parked in my parking space?

    • What if I want to contest a parking ticket?

    • What is the city's snow ordinance and when does it go into effect?

    • What is the location of the Ames Police Department?

    • What is the phone number for Iowa State University Police Department?

    • What is the phone number for the Iowa State Patrol?

    • What is the phone number for the Story County Sheriff's Department?

    • What is this I hear about a nuisance party ordinance?

    • Where can I get information about the city's parking regulations?

    • Where can I get information regarding the city of Ames noise ordinance?

    • Where can I go to obtain an Iowa Driver's License?

    • Where can I pay a city of Ames parking ticket?

    • Where can I pay a traffic ticket?

    • Where do I get a license for my vehicle?

    • Where is the courtroom?

    • Who can I call for assistance if my electrical power goes out?

    • Who do I call for assistance with natural gas service?

  • Public Works

    • *Re-Bid* South Skunk River Basin Watershed Improvements (City Hall Parking Lot)

    • 2007-08 Shared Use Path Expansion (Oakwood Road)

    • 2014-15 Low Point Drainage Improvements: Northwood Ravine Stabilization

    • 2015-16 Airport Improvements Program (Terminal Building)

    • 2015-16 Downtown Street Pavement Improvements (Clark Avenue)

    • 2016 Flood Prone Manhole Rehabilitation (Various Locations)

    • 2016-17 CDBG Public Facilities Improvement Program (Mainstream Living Parking Lot)

    • 2016-17 US Highway 69 Improvements (S. Duff Safety and Access Project)

    • 2016-17 Water System Improvements Program #1 - Water Service Transfer (8th Street, Hayward Avenue, Little Street)

    • How can I stay up to date on progress?

    • How do I report a stormwater concern?

    • How do I report someone dumping motor oil down the sewer or polluting a stream or river?

    • How long will this take and why start in the winter?

    • I use 6th Street to walk or commute with my bicycle. What are my options?

    • NEW! 2016/17 Asphalt St Improv & 2016-17 Water Program 2 (Northwood, Trail Ridge, Idaho)

    • Replace Tipping Floor Concrete at C-1 Area

    • Squaw Creek Water Main Protection Project

    • What about the roadway and entrance to Brookside Park and the Skate Park?

    • What will the new Sixth Street Bridge feature?

    • Why is the bridge being replaced?

  • Purchasing

    • How do I get on the bid list?

  • Resource Recovery

    • Can I haul it myself?

    • How can I get rid of furniture and appliances?

    • What about Recycling?

    • What do we do with Construction and Demolition Waste?

    • What other services are offered at the RRP?

    • Where is the landfill?

    • Who collects my garbage?

    • Will the City pick up any of my trash?

  • Water & Pollution Control

    • I have no water? Who can tell me why?

    • There is a septic or sewer odor in my house. Who can tell me what to do?

    • What if I have a water quality question?

    • Where can I dump my travel trailer wastewater?

    • Where can I report a rusty water problem?

    • Where can I report low water pressure?

    • Where can I report water coming up in the street?

    • Why are the water towers so close together?