In The News

  • COPS Hiring Program Accepting Grant Applications 

    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    ​The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is now receiving applications for its COPS Hiring Program (CHP) grants. The program offers funding assistance for law enforcement agencies hiring and rehiring entry level career law enforcement officers in an effort to create and preserve jobs and increase their community policing capacity and crime prevention efforts.

    Awardees may receive up to 75 percent of the approved entry-level officer salary and fringe benefit costs, with a minimum 25 percent local cash match requirement and a maximum federal share of $125,000 per officer position over a three-year grant period. Grant funds may be used to hire new, full-time sworn officer positions, to re-hire officers who have been laid off, or to re-hire officers who are scheduled to be laid off on a specific future date as a result of local budget cuts. As in the past, CHP requires that each position awarded be retained with local funds for a minimum of 12 months at the conclusion of 36 months of federal funding for each position.

    Applicants may apply for the number of officer positions equal to 5 percent of their actual sworn force strength, up to a maximum of 15 officers for agencies with a service population of less than 1 million.

    Under Fiscal Year 2015 CHP additional consideration will be given to applicants who select one of the following community policing problem areas: Homicide/Gun Violence, Homeland Security Problems, or Building Trust. Additional consideration will also be given for applicants who indicate that the officer position(s) requested will be deployed as a School Resource Officer.

    Applications are due June 19 and must be submitted using the COPS Office Online Application System. For more information on the program and application instructions, visit the COPS Hiring Program Web site.
  • Funding Available Through Community Policing Grant Program 

    Thursday, May 21, 2015

    ​Cities can apply now for Community Policing Development grants, which are designated for advancing the practice of community policing and supports the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.

    The program helps law enforcement agencies through training and technical assistance, the development of innovative community policing strategies, applied research, guidebooks and best practices that are national in scope. The program is administered by the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office as part of the U.S. Department of Justice's efforts to advance community policing in America.

    The 2015 grants will fund projects related to the following topic areas:
    • Microgrants Initiative for Law Enforcement
    • Critical Response Technical Assistance
    • Community Policing Emerging Issues Forums
    • President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing Field Initiated Projects
    • Collaborative Reform Initiative Program Evaluation

    The program is open to all public governmental agencies, profit and non-profit institutions, universities, community groups and faith-based organizations. Applications are due June 19 and must be submitted using the COPS Online Application System. More information and application package materials are available on the COPS Web site.

  • IMWCA 

    Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    The League is proud to endorse the Iowa Municipalities Workers’ Compensation Association. IMWCA was created in 1981 by the League in response to the increasing cost and unavailability of workers' compensation coverage for municipal employees. Now more than 500 members strong, this self-funded risk-pooling program is owned, controlled and operated by and for the benefit of Iowa's cities, counties and 28E entities. Administered by the League, IMWCA provides in-house loss control, claims and underwriting services.

    To learn more visit or contract Tim Kirgan at (800) 257-2708.

  • Registration Open for 2015 Small City Workshops 

    Monday, May 18, 2015

    ​Registration is now open for the 2015 Small City Workshops! We will hold six workshops around the state in June with information and guidance designed for small city officials. This year's workshop topic is Sustaining the Small City and will include a two-part presentation and discussion on how small cities can be sustainable in the face of growing challenges such as population and business loss, demographic shifts and budget shortfalls.

    All workshops are scheduled for 5:30-8 p.m. and the cost is $35 (dinner is included). The workshops will be held on the following dates and locations:

    June 2 | Osceola
    June 4 | Solon
    June 9 | Manning
    June 11 | Fayette
    June 16 | Emmetsburg
    June 18 | Ellsworth
  • IEDA Hosting Downtown Forums in June 

    Monday, May 18, 2015

    ​The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) Downtown Resource Center is hosting four downtown forums in June to bring together community leaders interested in engaging in a discussion about their downtowns. Attendees can network with other downtown leaders, learn about the host location and engage in conversations about the challenges and opportunities that exist in Iowa’s beautiful downtowns. The forums will be held at the following locations:

    June 10 – Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce, 1121 Broadway, Emmetsburg, IA 50536
    June 11 – Quilts & Other Notions Creative Center, 201 North Elm Street, Creston, IA 50801
    June 17 – Franklin Street Brewery, 116 South Franklin Street, Manchester, IA 52057
    June 18 – Public Library, 214 West State Street, Williamsburg, IA 52361

    The downtown forums are free to attend, and anyone interested needs only to RSVP here and select the location and date of the forum they plan to attend.

  • IDOT Announces Draft 5-Year Transportation Improvement Plan 

    Friday, May 15, 2015

    The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently released a draft of its five-year Iowa Transportation Improvement Program, which details Iowa’s multimodal transportation system including aviation, transit, railroads, trails and highways. The plan will be considered for approval by the Iowa Transportation Commission at its June 9 meeting in Council Bluffs. Public comments are being accepted on the program's Web site.

    The draft 5-year plan includes approximately $3.2 billion for highway right of way and construction with a primary investment objective of stewardship (i.e. safety, maintenance and modernization) of Iowa’s existing highway system. Funds from the increase in fuel taxes that was approved in the 2015 legislative session is included as 100 percent of the additional revenue allocated to the IDOT will be spent on road and bridge projects that are critical to maintaining transportation infrastructure and create opportunities for expanded economic activity.

    Over $1.3 billion is programmed in FY 2016 through FY 2020 for modernization of Iowa’s existing highway system and for enhanced highway safety features. In addition, the Commission was able to add construction for four-lane improvements to U.S 20, U.S. 30 and U.S. 61 – the first time in three years that additional corridor work has been able to be added to the Program.

    A large part of funding available for highway programming comes from the federal government. Accurately estimating future federal funding levels is dependent on having a multiyear federal transportation authorization bill. The current authorization, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) was signed into law on July 6, 2012. However, it is a short-term authorization that has been extended to May 31, 2015, resulting in continued federal funding uncertainty after this date.

    Another major concern with federal funding is the solvency of the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Approximately half of the funding available for programming in the 5-year plan could be impacted by the solvency of the federal HTF.
  • IAMU Social Media Workshop to be Held June 10 

    Friday, May 15, 2015

    ​The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU) is offering a Social Media Workshop on June 10 at their training complex in Ankeny. The workshop will cover how to take advantage of social media to communicate with customers and citizens with presentations on why cities and utilities should have a social media presence, creating social media accounts, and automating social media messaging.

    The workshop costs $75 to attend and attendees are encouraged to bring their own laptop so they can work on their social media sites during the event. Additional information and online registration is available on the IAMU Web site.

  • 2015 League Webinar Series Continues May 12 

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    The next webinar in our 2015 Webinar Series, City Elections Guidance, is now available! With 2015 being a municipal election year, citizens across the state will be voting for their representatives on the city council this November. While some of the duties assigned to the city clerk’s office have been removed through recent legislation, cities still play an important role in the process. This webinar will provide a review of the important rules and laws that govern municipal elections as well as guidance for how cities can help ensure an effective election is conducted. The following topics will be covered:

    • Review of basic city election laws and rules
    • Nomination process and the city’s role
    • How ballot questions are handled
    • 2015 City Election Calendar and important dates

    Additional information and online registration is available on the 2015 Webinar Series page.

  • Launch of Arts Build Communities Program 

    Tuesday, May 12, 2015

    ​The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, University of Iowa and Iowa State University have partnered to offer up to $10,000 in grant funds to assist communities in using various types of art in the community. Assistance will be available from the Iowa Arts Council, and the goal is to demonstrate the role that arts can play in builinding vibrant and resilient communities.
  • Know an Award Winner 

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    ​A highlight of the League Annual Conference & Exhibit in Cedar Rapids is the induction of individuals into the League Hall of Fame and the announcement of the recipient of the Rhonda Wood Smith Award.

    You can contribute to this great tradition by nominating individuals for this recognition.

    Hall of Fame
    The Iowa League of Cities created its Hall of Fame in 1995 to recognize individuals who have provided extraordinary public service to the League and local government. The Hall of Fame is not limited to city officials, but includes individuals who have provided exceptional support to city government.

    Individuals may be nominated by anyone, but must be endorsed by a member of the League Executive Board, a member of the Hall of Fame, or a member of the League staff. Nominations are reviewed by the League’s Awards Committee. Fill out a nomination form by June 12 to nominate for this prestigious award.

    Rhonda Wood Smith Award
    The Rhonda Wood Smith Award recognizes exemplary work of young city officials and those new to city government. The intent of the award is to encourage and affirm participation in local government by young people who may make great sacrifice for public service due to significant career and family commitments. Those eligible for consideration are younger city officials who may or may not be serving for the first time.

    Rhonda Wood Smith was such a civic-minded young person. A single parent, working as a municipal consultant with Simmering-Cory, Inc., Smith was elected mayor of Garner in November 1993 and served in that capacity until January 1, 1997, when she resigned due to poor health. She died of cancer on January 15, 1997.

    Anyone involved in city government can nominate for this award. Fill out a nomination form by June 12 to nominate for the Rhonda Wood Smith Award.
  • Funding Available Through IDOT Railroad Revolving Loans and Grants 

    Friday, May 08, 2015

    The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) is accepting funding applications for its Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant (RRLG) program, which provides financial assistance to improve rail facilities that will create jobs, spur economic activity and improve the rail transportation system in Iowa. The RRLG program has three funding categories under which eligible applicants may apply:

    • Targeted job creation. These rail projects are those that provide immediate, direct job opportunities. Funding is contingent on job creation and retention commitments by the applicant. Both grants and loans are available. Grant requests require a 50 percent match contribution to the overall rail project cost. Loan requests require a 20 percent match contribution.
    • Rail network improvement. These rail projects are those that support existing rail lines and service. No direct job creation is required. Only loans are available in this category. Loans will be offered at 0 percent for a ten-year term. Loan requests require a 20 percent match contribution.
    • Rail Port Planning and Development. These studies will further efforts to plan, design and otherwise prepare for the development of rail port facilities. Grants will be available in this category. Grant requests require a 20 percent match contribution. No single award may be greater than $100,000.
    Applications for funding must be submitted by 3:30 p.m. on June 19. Funding guidelines and applications are available on the RRLG Web site.
  • Iowa Ethics Board Offers Candidate Training 

    Thursday, May 07, 2015

    The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board will provide campaign finance seminars around the state in the month of July. The training will be targeted toward city and school board candidates. The purpose of the seminars is to help individuals understand Iowa’s campaign finance laws as well as the Ethics Board’s web reporting system for campaign disclosure reports.

    The training will occur in the following locations:

    12:30-2:30 p.m. on Friday, July 10 at the Cedar Rapids Public Library  
    12:30-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14 at the Clear Lake Public Library  
    1:00-3:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17 at the Capitol in Des Moines
    12:30-2:30 p.m. on Monday, July 27 at the Sac City Public Library
    12:30-2:30 p.m. on Friday, July 31 at Council Bluffs Public Library

    The seminars are free, and anyone may attend. To register contact Sharon Wright at (515) 281-4082 or​
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Tuesday, May 05, 2015

    The League's electronic Cityscape ePub magazine for the May2015 edition has been released.

    Take the time to chose your subscription preference: print, electronic or both. Unless action is taken, your subscription will continue to note a preference for print. Visit to change your preference.

  • Wood Disposal 

    Tuesday, May 05, 2015

    ​Do you have a large amount of trees/logs? Donate them to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help with the Avian Flu.

    Denali Companies, with operations in both Minnesota and Estherville, is currently assisting the USDA with the Avian Flu. Massive amounts of wood chips are needed. The company will come and take the trees for free. This is a great way to get rid of ash trees, but they need many logs to make it worth the trip. Denali Companies have a compiance agreement to move material between Iowa and Minnesota.

    If you have logs, contact Craig (218) 330-6273 or

  • IABD Releases Updated Tobacco Permit 

    Monday, May 04, 2015

    ​If your city issues tobacco, alternative nicotine or vapor permits, check out the latest communication from the Iowa Alcohol and Beverage Division regarding the updated application form 70-014 (4/10/2015). The communication includes information regarding completion and submission of the new Form 70-014 (4/10/2015). This new form is required for all applications for Fiscal Year 2016.

    If you have questions about the submission of the applications you may contact or (515) 281-7434.