In The News

  • Growing Sustainable Communities Conference Scheduled for October 6-7 

    Tuesday, August 04, 2015

    ​The Growing Sustainable Communities Conference will be held October 6-7 at the Grand River Center in Dubuque. The 8th annual conference will be hosted by the City of Dubuque and Sustainable City Network and provide two days of education, inspiration and collaboration on topics of interest to anyone who cares about the convergence of economic prosperity, ecological integrity and social/cultural vibrancy in community design and development.

    The conference will educate leaders and staff on the latest sustainability best practices in more than 30 workshops and mobile tours, two keynote luncheons, a networking reception and vendor exhibition. Attendees will include municipal leaders and staff, elected officials, college faculty, administrators and students, business leaders, nonprofits and sustainability managers from both the public and private sectors. Additional information and online registration is available on the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference Web site.

  • League Conference Workshop Slate Includes Advanced Track 

    Tuesday, August 04, 2015

    ​The League's Annual Conference & Exhibit, September 23-25, will include an advanced track in the workshop lineup. The advanced track of workshops will be designed for veteran city officials, but all attendees are welcome to join. Below are the two advanced workshops offered at this year's conference: 
    • Hire Hard/Manage Easy – Tips for Getting the Best Employees (Thursday, 8:30-9:30 a.m.)
    • Life Cycle Cost Analysis for Planning a Capital Project (Thursday, 2:15-3:15 p.m.)
    The advanced track is part of the conference's overall workshop schedule, which includes more than 40 options that cover a wide range of municipal government issues. See the full conference schedule to learn about these workshops and register for the conference.
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, August 03, 2015

    The League's electronic Cityscape ePub magazine for the August 2015 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.

  • Congratulations, All-Star Community Award winners 

    Monday, August 03, 2015

    ​Congratulations to this year’s All-Star Community Award winners:
    Less than 3,000 in population: Elkader’s Founder’s Park & Riverfront Development
    3,000-9,999 in population: Sheldon’s Joint Community Sports Complex
    More than 10,000 in population: Waterloo’s Cedar Valley SportsPlex
    Learn more about the award-winning projects in the September issue of Cityscape magazine, see photos of this year’s winners on Facebook and learn more about the award program on our Web site.
    You can help choose the final All-Star Community Award winner by participating in the People’s All-Star Community Award challenge. Beginning August 24, vote for your favorite city project on Facebook—winners move on to the next round. Then attend the Awards Banquet at the League’s Annual Conference & Exhibit to see who won.
  • Brownfields Redevelopment Resources 

    Monday, August 03, 2015

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources Brownfields Program and the Technical Assistance to Brownfields Program (TAB) at Kansas State University present the 2015 Funding Economic Development & Land Revitalization through Brownfields Workshop. The free workshop will help communities learn about Brownfields properties and how to fund successful redevelopments through different available resources. The workshop will focus on identifying State, Federal, and other financial and technical resources to address environmental and redevelopment issues for communities in Iowa. Often vibrant community spaces such as housing, parks, trails, and job-creating businesses can be developed on previously used sites, including brownfields.
    The workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. on September 15 at the Drake Community Library in Des Moines. Learn more and register for the event online.
  • Transportation Conference 

    Monday, August 03, 2015

    ​The American Council of Enginerring Companies of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Transportation are hosting the 2015 Transportation Conference on Wednesday, August 26 from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Sheraton in West Des Moines.

    Learn more and register for the event online.

  • Conservation Education Grant Opportunities 

    Friday, July 31, 2015

    ​Do you have an idea to advance environmental literacy, but lack funds? The Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP CEP) annually awards $350,000 for conservation education in Iowa, and grant reviewers are seeking applications for innovative projects that need start-up funds. Plan now for the November 1 grant deadline. The average grant award is approximately $22,000, and mini-grants for $3,500 or less are also available.
    For more information about the application process and the types of programs funded, go to the REAP Conservation Education Web site.
  • IMFOA Certification Credits Offered at Annual Conference and Exhibit  

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    Members of the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association (IMFOA) can receive up to 10 flex credits during this year’s Annual Conference and Exhibit taking place September 23-25 in Cedar Rapids. Flex credits are used by IMFOA members to become an Iowa Certified Municipal Clerk or Iowa Certified Municipal Finance Officer. Attendees can earn three hours of flex credit for attending a Wednesday workshop, more than five hours of flex credit will be offered on Thursday and the conference will conclude on Friday with two hours of flex credit. Credit will be offered for each workshop attended.

    The conference features a City Clerk workshop track as well as a workshop designed especially for city clerk’s occurring on Friday morning titled “Effectively Managing Public Records Requests.”

    Learn more about the exciting and informative line up of workshops designed to meet the needs of municipal professionals. Register now.​

  • Electric and Gas Franchise Fees Special Report Updated 

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    The Electric and Gas Franchise Fees Special Report highlights policy considerations and options of establishing or increasing the amount of a franchise fee. The League’s Special Report also provides several documents that are essential to the process.

    This publication has been updated as a result of legislation approved earlier this year that clarifies that cities need to hold a public hearing prior to increasing a franchise fee.​

  • Annual Financial Report Now Available for Download 

    Friday, July 24, 2015

    ​The Annual Financial Report (AFR) is now available for download through the State Auditor's Office. Every city must complete and electronically file the AFR with the State Auditor by December 1 of each year. The AFR does not have to be formally approved by the city council, although it is recommended that the council review the document and discuss the financial condition of the city.

    The League will offer help on preparing the AFR through our 2015 Annual Financial Report Training Video, which will be available in September. The online video will cost $35 and those that purchase it will be able to access the video as many times as needed.

  • Tree Management Grant Available  

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015

    Iowa communities with a population of 5,000 or greater, have the opportunity to learn more about tree care, identification and inventory through a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

    The two-year grant program currently provides training and assistance to Atlantic, Fairfield, Grinnell, Marion, Marshalltown, Mason City, Muscatine, Oskaloosa and Pleasant Hill, and is now accepting applications for 10 additional communities in 2016.

    Grant communities receive intensive training by a team from the DINR and members of the Iowa Arborists Association. Training covers tree identification, health, inventory, planting, corrective pruning and maintenance, benefits of urban trees, ordinances, and community outreach.

    Through this cooperative effort between the IDNR and the U.S. Forest Service, each selected community will have a complete street tree inventory, canopy cover analysis, and an urban tree management plan with goals and methods to increase its tree canopy. Grant applications and instructions are available online. The deadline to apply is September 1.​​

  • City Council Orientations to be Featured in Next League Webinar 

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015

    The next webinar in our 2015 Webinar Series will cover City Council Orientations and be available on August 18. Orientation programs are essential to getting new council members up to speed and informed of important city business. With 2015 being a city election year, numerous cities around the state will be welcoming new members to their council. This speaks to the need of establishing and completing a successful orientation program. Such programs are also beneficial to returning council members as they can provide a refresher on different aspects of the city. The webinar will cover some ideas on what to include in an orientation program, including:

    • Form of city government
    • Roles and responsibilities of elected officials and city employees/departments
    • City boards and commissions
    • Budget and financial condition
    • How council meetings are run

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

  • Economic Development Workshop Track Offered at League Annual Conference 

    Monday, July 20, 2015

    ​The 2015 Annual Conference & Exhibit (September 23-25 in Cedar Rapids) includes a track of workshops that will focus on economic development. The track will offer a variety of workshops that are designed to provide guidance and information on this important topic. Cities of all size will benefit from each of the workshops, which can be seen below:
    • Public-Private Partnerships: An Approach to Economic Development (Thursday, 8:30-9:30 a.m.)
    • TIF and Other Economic Development Tools (Thursday, 10:45-11:45 a.m.)
    • Connecting the Money: Federal to State to Development on Iowa Brownfield Property (Thursday, 10:45-11:45 a.m.)
    • Effective Uses of TIF (Thursday, 2:15-3:15 p.m.)
    The economic development track is part of the conference's overall workshop schedule, which includes more than 40 options that cover a wide range of municipal government issues. See the full conference schedule to learn about these workshops and register for the conference.
  • Operator Training/Roadeo 

    Monday, July 20, 2015

    The American Public Works Association (APWA) Iowa Chapter is once again hosting the Operator Training/Snow Roadeo. The 2015 event will be held September 29-October 1 at the West Des Moines Public Services site and is a combination of training and competition that will benefit operators of all types.

    There are three events to choose from: Backhoe Training Snow Plow Operator Training (SPOT) on September 29-30, and classroom training will take place the first day with some behind the wheel training and testing on the second day. All of this is wrapped up on the third day with the annual Iowa Snow Plow Roadeo. There will be competition for two person and single person teams and an all new Skid Steer Roadeo!

    Register or learn more online.

  • RISE Program Accepting Grant Applications 

    Friday, July 17, 2015

    ​Grant funding is available through the Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy (RISE) program at the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT). RISE provides grant assistance for projects that promote economic development through the establishment, construction, improvement and maintenance of streets that improve or maintain highway access to development sites, economically depressed areas, trucking terminals, points of shipments and tourist attractions, among other things.

    All cities and counties in the state are eligible to apply for and receive funds under the RISE program. Joint applications from two or more counties or cities are encouraged when mutual action is required to support economic development. Joint applications shall designate a lead county or city to serve as a principal contact point for the department.

    Grant applications are due September 1 and must be filed with the IDOT. More information and application packets are available on the RISE Web site.