In The News

  • All-Star Community Award 

    Monday, March 27, 2017

    Tell us what your city accomplished in 2016, and your project could encourage excellence in other communities.

    The All-Star Community Award program provides a means for sharing Iowa’s public service ideas. Applications must be submitted using the online entry form and are due Monday, April 3, 2017.

    After the panel of judges chooses winners from each population category, the remaining applications will be entered into a bracket-style tournament for public "Liking" (voting) on Facebook. Winning projects will be recognized at the League’s 2017 Annual Conference & Exhibit, featured in this magazine and brought to the attention of local media.

    Don’t miss this chance to promote the wonderful things your city did in 2016! Learn more and see previous applications and winners online.

     
  • Preview of Upcoming U.S. Surpreme Court Cases in March 30 Webinar 

    Monday, March 27, 2017

    ​The State and Local Legal Center is hosting a webinar on Thursday, March 30 at 1 p.m. that will provide a preview of significant U.S. Supreme Court cases affecting state and local governments. The Court is scheduled to hear cases involving policing, preemption and First Amendment rights, all of which could have an impact on local governments. The webinar is free and online registration is available on the State and Local Legal Center's Web site.
     
  • Iowa Government Finance Initiative Workshops Registration For 2017 

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    The Iowa Government Finance Initiative (IGFI) workshop is designed as a tool-based training for local elected and appointed officials and other stakeholders on issues relating to public finance and community and economic development. Additional information and a brochure detailing the program are available online. The event will be held at the following locations: Ottumwa (April 6), Storm Lake (April 13), Des Moines (April 20), Mason City (April 27), Atlantic (May 4) and Cedar Rapids (May 18).

    Participants will learn:
    • How to use the IGFI annual city and county fiscal conditions reports
    • About the value of financial indicators and how to use them
    • About ‘peers’ in the region to make comparisons
    • Capital Improvement Planning (CIP)
    • Understand trends in capital spending in your region, for all cities and counties
    • To use simple Excel-based tools to make demographic projections, assess benefits to compare with costs for capital projects​
    ​​
     
  • Keep Iowa Beautiful Month Celebrated in April 

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    ​April is Keep Iowa Beautiful Month, and cities are encouraged to help celebrate by promoting local beautification, clean up and recycling projects. Cities can also issue proclamations designating April as Keep (your city name) Beautiful Month. A sample proclamation is available on the Keep Iowa Beautiful Web site.

    Keep Iowa Beautiful is a charitable organization that works with citizens, communities and regions to improve the quality, beauty and cleanliness of Iowa. The organization empowers Iowans to have a greater commitment in building pride and respect in the places we live.

     
  • Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 27-March 31 

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    The National Weather Service and the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division have declared March 27-31 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. The week and its associated events are an opportunity to increase awareness of and response to severe weather hazards.

    During this week the National Weather Service, in cooperation with local emergency management agencies, encourage participation in the Statewide Tornado Drill that will take place on Wednesday, March 29 at approximately 10 a.m. Should actual severe weather occur on this date the statewide tornado drill will be postponed.

    This is an excellent opportunity for cities to check the proper operation of their outdoor warning sirens and for all of us (individuals, families, schools, businesses, etc.) to ensure our weather alert radios are programmed correctly and have fresh batteries. Mark your calendar, and plan to participate in the drill for your local area.

     
  • IPERS Changes Economic Assumptions 

    Friday, March 24, 2017

    The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System’s (IPERS) Investment Board voted at their meeting on March 24 to approve changes to economic assumptions used in calculating IPERS’ liabilities. This action followed an economic assumption study presentation by the consulting actuarial firm of Cavanaugh Macdonald. 

    The new assumptions are:

    • Inflation drops from 3 percent to 2.6 percent
    • Interest on member accounts drops from 3.75 percent to 3.5 percent
    • Investment return drops from 7.5 percent to 7 percent
    • Wage growth drops from 4 percent to 3.25 percent
    • Payroll growth drops from 4 percent to 3.25 percent

    The study applied these assumptions to the 2016 data to illustrate their impact on key funding measurements. The funded ratio is a “snapshot in time” and indicates the financial health of a pension system. Using the new assumptions, with the 2016 data, IPERS’ funded ratio dropped from 84 percent to 80 percent. These assumptions will first be applied in the June 30, 2017 valuation, which will be used to determine the contribution rates effective July 1, 2018.

    The net result of these changes will be a lower funded ratio and an increase in liabilities of $1.4 billion. Even though these changes will have a negative impact on IPERS’ funded ratio, the Investment Board believes that these modifications will provide a more accurate valuation of future liabilities. Each year an investment return is less than the assumed return adds to the liability and increases the needed return in future years which can lead to even higher contribution rates.

    As expected in a mature retirement system, IPERS pays out more in benefits than it collects in contributions. Therefore, IPERS relies to a great extent – nearly 70 percent – on investment returns to pay current benefits. This also makes the IPERS' funding more sensitive to market downturns.​​

     
  • Iowa Employment Conference to be Held April 5-6 

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    ​The 2017 Iowa Employment Conference will be held April 5-6 at the Meadows Events & Conference Center in Altoona. The conference is the largest of its kind in Iowa, offering over 60 informative, interactive and educational sessions delivered by some of the top employment lawyers, payroll professionals, workforce development leaders and others. Featured topics include the latest developments in labor and employment law, changes to health care, payroll taxes, employee benefits, unemployment insurance, wage and hour laws, and much more. 

    The conference will include a track for public sector employers and offers CLEs and IMFOA education credits. Additional information, along with online registration, is available on the Iowa Employment Conference Web site.

     
  • President Releases Budget Proposal 

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    President Trump’s budget proposes more than $50 billion in domestic spending reductions. The president’s budget represents an unprecedented withdrawal of federal investment in America’s neighborhoods and communities and an abandonment of the role the federal government traditionally plays as a stakeholder in cities, the nation’s economic engines and centers of opportunity. Programs likely to see reductions or elimination include: 

    • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
    • HOME Investment Partnerships Program for Affordable Housing
    • Economic Development Administration Grants (EDA)
    • Transit New Starts for Public Transportation
    • TIGER Grants for Public Transportation Projects
    • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Grants
    • Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
    • Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants
    • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)
    • Weatherization Assistance Program

    Learn more about federal budget issues by connecting with the National League of Cities.​​ 

     
  • Keep Iowa Beautiful Announces Annual Award Winners 

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    ​Keep Iowa Beautiful (KIB) recently announced its 2017 award winners for enhancing the beauty, cleanliness and attractiveness of the state of Iowa. Annual awards are given in three categories: community, organization and corporate.

    The city of Woodbine received the Robert D. Ray Community Award for Excellence for investing in downtown rehabilitation by saving 45 buildings and 37 upper story housing units.

    David Dahlquist and the RDG Dahlquist Art Studio were given the Donald F. Lamberti Hometown Pride Vision Award for the creative art, architecture and landscape design of public and private spaces that make Iowa and the nation a more attractive place to live.

    Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls received the Corporate Award of Excellence for designing and manufacturing environmentally-friendly, quality products from recycle plastics.

    Finally, Pride in Community Appearance (PICA) received the Organization Award of Excellence for the many volunteers that enhance the beauty, cleanliness and attractiveness of Fort Dodge.

     
  • Provide Valuable Feedback With League Membership Survey 

    Monday, March 13, 2017

    ​We encourage all member city officials to take the Membership Survey to evaluate your Iowa League of Cities and help shape the future of the association. The survey is done every two years and offers members a chance to provide feedback on League services and programs. Randomly selected participants will receive an emailed or mailed copy of the survey the week of March 13. However, any other city official is welcome to take the survey online.

    The survey will be open until Friday, April 7. If you experience any technical issues with this survey, please contact Mickey Shields at (515) 244-7282. We appreciate your assistance in making the League a stronger association!

     
  • 2017 Motor Grader Operator Training Workshops 

    Monday, March 13, 2017

    Registration is now open for the 2017 Motor Grader Operator Training (MoGO) workshops through Iowa LTAP. MoGO is a one or two-day program led by experienced operators. Day one is a classroom session, and day two is an optional field session in which the instructors will travel to their students’ site to advise them on the use of their equipment. The program reflects the 2015 revision of the “Gravel Roads Construction & Maintenance Guide”. All motor grader operators and their supervisors are encouraged to attend.

    The dates and locations for this year’s workshops are:

    • May 2, Tripoli, Bremer County Extension      
    • May 9, Storm Lake, BV County Extension              
    • May 16, Ames, Holiday Inn                             
    • May 23, Atlantic, Cass County Com. Center      
    • May 31, Sigourney, Keokuk County Extension       

    For registration and information, please visit the event Web page.

     
     
  • Iowa Technology & Geospatial (ITAG) Conference 

    Wednesday, March 08, 2017

    The ITAG Conference, on June 20-23 at the West Des Moines Sheraton, is a joint effort between the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC) and the Iowa Counties Information Technology (ICIT) to combine annual conferences into one, comprehensive technology and geospatial event. In total, there will be more than 50 hours of educational content over the course of the conference. Online registration and a full schedule is available!​

     
  • IAWEA to Host Small Community Workshops 

    Wednesday, March 08, 2017

    ​The Iowa Water Environment Association (IAWEA) will host six regional workshops in March and April that focus on small community wastewater infrastructure. Topics to be covered include regulations and compliance, operator training, funding mechanisms and case studies. Representatives from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), USDA Rural Development, State Revolving Loan Fund, local IDNR field offices and others will be present to discuss their role in helping small communities.

    Each workshop will run 4-7 p.m. and includes dinner. The cost is $25, and all city officials are welcome to attend. The full schedule of workshops and additional info is available on the IAWEA Web site.

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, March 06, 2017

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine ePub magazine for the March 2017  issue has been released.

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

     
  • New Deadline for Perpetual Care Cemetery Report 

    Monday, March 06, 2017

    ​Cities that own and operate perpetual care cemeteries are required to file the Perpetual Care Cemetery Report by April 30. The new filing deadline replaces the old standard of October 31.

    The annual report must be filed with the Regulated Industries Unit at the Iowa Insurance Division. The report must be completed in full, signed and notarized before being submitted. Another change, completed reports must be submitted online using the portal available on the Regulated Industries Unit Web site.