In The News

  • Iowa Reinvestment District Applications Due March 15 

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    ​Cities interested in the Iowa Reinvestment District Program, housed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), must apply by March 15. The program provides up to $100 million in new hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to be reinvested within an approved district. The funding mechanism works through taxes generated by new retail establishments, which are then used to fund projects within the district. Districts cannot exceed 25 acres in size and must be in an Enterprise Zone or Urban Renewal Area.

    Initial applications are due to the IEDA by March 15. Applicants are then allowed to make reasonable changes to its plan before the final application is considered. Pre-applications are scored and provisional approval is made by the IEDA Board no later than June 30.

     
  • Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service 

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    ​Mayors and county officials across the nation are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address local challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have a positive and lasting impact – making our cities and counties better places to live. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors and county officials can participate in the fifth-annual Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service on April 4.
     
    A coordinated day of recognition presents a unique opportunity to spotlight the key role that national service plays in solving local problems and challenges. Participating in the day will highlight the impact of citizen service, show support for nonprofit and national service groups, and inspire more residents to serve in their communities.
     
    To participate in the Recognition Day, provide your information online. More information about Mayor and County Recognition Day is available on the Corporation for National and Community Service Web site.
     
  • NLC Report Details National Preemption Issues 

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    ​The National League of Cities (NLC) recently released City Rights in an Era of Preemption, a new report that reviews preemption efforts from around the country. The report examines the prevalence of state preemption across the country and details recent increases by state legislatures to adopt preemption bills. Included in the report is a focus on seven policy areas where preemption has impacted municipal home rule: minimum wage, paid leave, anti-discrimination, home sharing, ride sharing, municipal broadband, and tax and expenditure limitations.
     
  • City Clerk Duties and Responsibilities Webinar Available 

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    The first webinar of the 2017 League Webinar Series is now available! The City Clerk Duties and Responsibilities webinar provides guidance for this important position. Learn about the primary duties for city clerks, fiduciary responsibilities and the state and local laws that clerks should be aware of.

    The 2017 series will feature six webinars on topics important to all city officials. New this year, the webinars are free to access and watch after posted to the League Web site. Please continue to visit www.iowaleague.org for additional information about the webinars and to view them as they become available throughout the year.

    City Clerk Duties and Responsibilities | Available Now!
    The Impact of Drones | April 11
    Municipal Elections Guidance | May 23
    Grant Management and Funding Sources | June 27
    Annual Financial Report Instructions | August 22
    What the Future Holds for City Governments | October 24
     
    Please visit the League Webinar Series page to learn more about this years webinars. 

     
  • National Civic League Encourages All-America Conversations 

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    The National Civic League recently announced All-American Conversations, a new initiative that offers ideas and resources to improve civility at the local level. The program seeks to help local leaders to bridge divides and create a sense of civic pride and inclusiveness.

    To help communities face challenges and tensions, the National Civic League created the All-American Conversations Toolkit. This free resource provides ways to hold productive and meaningful conversations, recruiting participants, where to hold conversations and preparing facilitators.

     
  • Iowa Government Finance Initiative Workshops Registration For 2017 

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    The Iowa Government Finance Initiative (IGFI) workshop is designed as a tool-based training for local elected, appointed officials (finance, planning and economic development) and other stakeholders on issues relating to public finance and community and economic development. The training sessions will be conducted in six regions in the state during April 06-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
     
  • IDNR Offers Derelict Building Grants 

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    ​​Cities with fewer than 5,000 in population are eligible to apply for funding through the Derelict Building Grant Program. Administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the program works with small communities to help improve the attractiveness and appearance of their towns by providing financial assistance to address neglected structures that have sat vacant for at least six months. Each project must have a landfill diversion component through the recycling and reuse of materials.

    Funding assistance is available for a variety of projects, including asbestos inspection and abatement, structural engineering analysis, environmental site assessment, building renovation and building deconstruction. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis. Grant applications must be filed with the IDNR by April 21. Additional information and the application form can be found on IDNR's Web site.

     
  • Iowa Employment Conference Coming in April 

    Tuesday, February 14, 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.

     
  • Iowa APWA to Host Two Spring Conferences 

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    ​The Iowa Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) will host two conferences this spring to provide training to public works professionals. The Iowa APWA will first host its annual Spring Conference in West Des Moines, March 30-31. The conference includes educational seminars on leadership, fleet maintenance and more.

    The Iowa APWA is also hosting the North American Snow Conference, April 23-26 in Des Moines. The event is a great opportunity to attend a national conference for training on snow removal and working in a cold weather climate.

    The Iowa Chapter of the APWA is the state affiliate of the national APWA and helps provide members educational and networking opportunities to tackle the challenges of their jobs. Membership is available on an individual basis or as a group with others in an organization.

     
  • Water and Waste Water Operator CEU Deadline is March 31 

    Monday, February 13, 2017

    ​Water and wastewater operators are reminded that their current certificates will expire June 30 and renewal applications must be submitted prior to the deadline. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for renewals must be earned by March 31. Operators of Grade A, I and II level systems must earn at least 1 CEU; operators of Grade III and IV level systems must earn at least 2 CEUs.

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) maintains an Operator Certification database for each operator's individual details regarding their certificate and training. Operators may also use the system to apply for their renewal certificate and make an online payment.

     
  • Amazon Business 

    Monday, February 13, 2017

    ​U.S. Communities launched a new contract with Amazon Business. The account is an exclusive multi-year contract to make it easier and faster for organizations to get the supplies they need via the Amazon Business marketplace. Government agencies can now access 10 purchasing categories through this new contract. With FREE Two-Day Shipping on orders of $49 or more, tax-exempt purchasing and price discounts, Amazon Business is a powerful procurement option for your organization. A Webinar for the new contract will be held February 22 and February 23.

     
     
  • Collaborative Workshop on Walkable Communities 

    Wednesday, February 08, 2017

    The Healthiest State Initiative and Active Living Iowa have announced the creation of the Iowa Walking College. The Iowa Walking College is an interactive, online educational program for walkable community advocates based on the National Walking College created by America Walks.

    “Today most Iowans are required to use a car to get from point A to point B, leaving less of us walking,” said Jami Haberl, executive director at the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. “Walking is one of the easiest, most affordable and accessible ways for all of us to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, which is proven to improve your physical, social and emotional well-being.”

    The Health-Transportation Workshop facilitated by America Walks and the Project for Public Places and in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Department of Public Health, and Iowa Economic Development Authority met last year to address walkable communities in Iowa. Five recommendations resulted from the workshop: 

    1. Design a collaborative planning process.
    2. Deploy partner organizations to lay the groundwork for change.
    3. Develop a communications campaign that targets Iowa communities.
    4. Develop and deliver training programs at multiple levels.
    5. Identify funding sources for infrastructure changes.

    “Thriving, vibrant communities, are walkable communities,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. “Working with our state and local partners to improve community walkability will improve the quality of life and support a healthy and productive workforce.”

    Fifteen fellowships will be awarded to Iowans working as community change agents. The fellows may be working alone, in organizations, or in professions such as public health, planning, transportation, economic development or education. The Iowa Walking College is a six-month program, where fellows will explore ways to improve walkability around the state through online and face-to-face interaction. The Healthiest State Initiative is accepting applications for fellows now until March 10, 2017. Additional information and an application are available online.

    A report detailing recommendations of the recently held Collaborative Workshop on Walkable Communities in Iowa can be found online.​ 

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, February 06, 2017

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine ePub magazine for the February 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.

     
  • LTAP Training 

    Monday, February 06, 2017

    ​Registration is now open for a lane reconfiguration workshop, “Converting Four-Lane Undivided Roads to Three Lanes: A Low Cost Safety Improvement”. This free workshop includes lunch and will focus on this potential treatment to address safety concerns along four-lane undivided roadways. Its content will be based on the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Road Diet Informational Guide.  
     
    The workshop is presented by the Iowa Department of Transportation, FHWA, and Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). Registration is required to attend. Additional information and registration is available online. Please contact Keith Knapp at kknapp@iastate.edu or (515) 294-8817 with questions.
     
  • ISU Extension Announces Intro to Planning & Zoning Workshops Schedule 

    Friday, February 03, 2017

    ​ISU Extension has announced the schedule for this year's Introduction to Planning and Zoning Workshops, an annual training series that provides the basics of land use planning and development management. The workshops will be held in seven locations in April and May:

    • April 18 – Waterloo
    • April 24 – Johnston
    • May 2 – Dubuque
    • May 8 – Fairfield
    • May 10 – Fort Dodge
    • May 15 – Davenport
    • May 16 – Council Bluffs

    The three-hour workshops are designed for elected officials, planning and zoning officials, and board of adjustment members without formal training in the subjects. Using case scenarios in a highly-interactive format, the workshop highlights issues frequently faced in the land use process, such as the roles and responsibilities of the planning and zoning commission, the board of adjustment, and the elected body. It also will highlight legal issues frequently faced by local officials, such as variances, special uses, nonconforming uses, spot zoning, hearing procedures and conflicts of interest.

    The registration fee is $65 per individual. This fee is reduced to $55 per individual if a city or county registers 5 or more officials to attend. The workshop has been pre-approved by the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association and the Iowa League of Cities for credits toward certification.​