In The News

  • FY 2020 Equipment Usage Rates Posted by IDOT 

    Friday, January 18, 2019

    ​The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) has posted its Fiscal Year 2020 equipment usage rates. The schedule of rates provides estimates on the cost of using various types of equipment for projects and is helpful in planning for the FY 2020 city budget.
  • Derelict Building Program Accepting Grant Applications 

    Friday, January 18, 2019

    ​Cities with fewer than 5,000 in population are eligible to apply for funding through the Derelict Building Program. Administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the program works with eligible communities to address neglected structures that have been vacant for at least six months. Each project must have a landfill diversion component through the recycling and reuse of materials. Established in 2011, the program has assisted 115 communities, diverted more than 46,000 tons of materials and saved more than $1.5 million in landfill disposal costs.

    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 February 21. Additional information and the application form can be found on IDNR's website.

  • IDOT Workplace Safety Workshops Begin Soon 

    Thursday, January 17, 2019

    ​The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT), in partnership with Iowa State University's Institute for Transportation, is hosting the 2019 Workplace Safety Zone Workshops in February and March. Seven workshops are included in the series, held at locations around the state to offer work zone traffic control and safety training.

    Each one-day workshop will cover current revisions in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), particularly part 6. The workshops consist of a general session for all participants, plus breakout sessions tailored to specific categories of work zone activities: city, county, IDOT construction and contractors, IDOT maintenance and utility contractors. The MUTCD recommends that all workers (and their supervisors) whose duties place them on or near the traveled portion of roadways regularly complete work zone traffic control training. It is not necessary to attend a work zone safety workshop every year; every three years is recommended.

    More information on the workshops, the full schedule and online registration is available on the Workplace Safety Zone Workshops website.

  • Cities in the News 

    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    ​The Iowa League of Cities collects news articles from the week to share with our members. Cities are doing great things around the state, and we want to celebrate your success with you. If your city is in the news please share it with us at     

    Note: The articles compiled above come from independent media sources who are solely responsible for their content. Iowa League of Cities staff did not participate in writing any of these articles and Iowa League of Cities does not necessarily endorse the content of the articles. Some articles may be available only by subscription. All cities in the news will not be featured each week.

  • Legislative Link 

    Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    ​The 88th General Assemily convened on Monday. The first week will include the swearing in of legislators and presentations on the Condition of the State, the Condition of the Judiciary and the Condition of the Iowa National Guard. Stay up-to-date on Legislative issues that impact your city by subscribing to Legislative Link.

  • 2019 All-Star Community Award 

    Monday, January 14, 2019

    Remember the great project your city completed in 2018? Use that project to apply for the League’s All-Star Community Award. The 2019 award recognizes city projects implemented or completed in the 2018 calendar year. Applications are due April 5 and can be filled out online.


    More information about the award as well as applications from winners and other city projects are also available online​.

    Winning city will be announced this summer and recognized at the League’s Annual Conference & Exhibit in Dubuque.

  • Appia and Doc Express training 

    Monday, January 14, 2019

    The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) Office of Local Systems is offering Appia and Doc Express training for Local Public Agencies (LPA) around the state. Appia and Doc Express are programs that are used to handle the “paperwork” of road construction projects.

    Cities are not required to use Appia at thie time but can request to use the system with District Local Systems approval. Full implementation is possible for the 2020 construction season.

    Appia is electronic field documentation software for item quantity tracking, pay estimates, change orders and other final documents. Doc Express is an electronic filing cabinet that everyone has access to related to the contracted project. It includes document exchange with electronic signature capability for change orders, payrolls, material certifications and reports, and other final documents.

    All of the trainings will be held at the District’s office. A training description is available online. To register for training go to and select the correct training title. 

    Date and District
    January 23 | District 3, Sioux City
    January 30 | District 2, Mason City
    February 11 | District 6, Cedar Rapids
    February 13 | District 4, Atlantic
    February 20 | District 5, Fairfield
    February 27 | District 1, Ames

  • Municipal Professionals Institute Scholarship 2019 

    Monday, January 14, 2019

    The Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute (MPI) and the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association (IMFOA) have tuition scholarships available for 2019 on a reimbursable basis. The MPI scholarships are open to ALL Iowa municipal clerks or staff within their office. The IMFOA scholarships are open to members of IMFOA (see for details on membership). 
    To be eligible for a tuition reimbursement scholarship participants must demonstrate their city’s support to attend, register for and successfully complete at least 30 hours of classes. The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. April 1. Email or mail your completed application and the resolution of support from the city council to: Cindy Hopton [formerly Stuve], Office of State and Local Government Programs, Iowa State University Extension, 2321 N. Loop Drive, Suite 121, Ames, IA 50010-8218 or email to

    Learn more about selection criteria and scholarship rules onlineOther opportunities for scholarships may be through regional organizations in your area, please contact them directly for more information.  

    The application and sample resolution of support are available. For more information contact Sara Shonrock at (515) 290-1811 or, or Cindy Hopton at (515) 294-8397 or ​

  • Natural Resources Funding Available Through Iowa Partners for Conservations 

    Friday, January 11, 2019

    The Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced funding is available to local governments through the Iowa Partners for Conservation program. The goal of the program is to address local natural resource issues, encouraging collaboration and developing state-and-community-level conservation leadership. Successful proposals will address at least one of the following:

    • Building soil health
    • Improving economic and environmental performance of grasslands, woodlands and wildlife area
    • Support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy
    • Build capacity
    A total of $5 million is available in the program and applications are due February 4, 2019. Additional information about the program and application instructions are on the Iowa Partners for Conversation website.
  • Upcoming Legislative Session Featured in The Square 

    Friday, January 11, 2019

    The Square kicks off 2019 with a special look at this year's legislative session. The episode features an interesting conversation with Kim Downs, city administrator of Hiawatha, who shares some of the important legislative issues for municipal governments, her role on the League's Legislative Policy Committee and some tips for successful grassroots advocacy.

    We also chat with our very own Robert Palmer, Director of Government Affairs and General Counsel, about his role in representing cities at the legislature and what a typical day is like at the Capitol. Get a double dose of Robert, as he is this month's featured staffer in our Get to Know Your League segment! In the Your Questions Answered segment we're asked what limitations cities have in establishing local property taxes (it must be budget season for cities).

    Hear the answer to last month's trivia (what is the newest city in Iowa?), and send answers to to this puzzler: which city in Iowa had the largest increase in population from 2000 to 2010? 
  • Public Works Services Bureau Survey  

    Friday, January 11, 2019

    The Institute for Transportation (InTrans) at Iowa State University is conducting a study to determine if there would be support for the creation of a Public Works Bureau in the State of Iowa. They envision this Public Works Service Bureau to be an organization that provides public works staff from cities of all sizes across Iowa a direct way to communicate among themselves and other agencies, such as the Iowa Department of Transportation. It could also provide a location to input information for a central clearinghouse on any number of topics, which could then be used to provide statewide data to improve decision making and efficiency of operations.

    In order to decide if a Public Works Service Bureau will provide value to your city, they are requesting your input by survey and invite the city’s public works or maintenance staff to complete the survey. There is an opportunity at the end of the questionnaire to include additional comments.

    Please respond as soon as you can, but no later than January 25.

  • OSHA Log to be Posted by February 1 

    Thursday, January 10, 2019

    OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, must be posted by qualifying cities by February 1. The summary is required to be posted in the place or places where notices are customarily posted and must remain in place until April 30. Also, employers must post the summary in each separate location where employees work, such as a city hall, public works facility, library, etc. The summary posted at separate locations should only list the employees working at that location. Employers must post the log even if there were no injuries or illnesses during the year and enter zeros in the total line before posting.

    Federal regulations require employers to keep injury and illness records, with few exceptions. The most common exception is if the employer had 10 or fewer employees during all of the last calendar year. Full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal workers and paid volunteer firefighters are all included when counting employees.

  • Tree Award Nominations Now Available 

    Tuesday, January 08, 2019

    The Iowa Urban Tree Council invites city officials to nominate a tree volunteer, project or program to be considered for special recognition at the Annual Award Luncheon​ on April 3. Nominations should be filled out online and are due by February 15. Contact Emma Hanigan at or (515) 249-1732 with questions.​​

  • Attend the Iowa Walking College 

    Thursday, January 03, 2019

    Are you looking for a way to make your community healthier, more vibrant or improve economic development? Consider attending the Iowa Walking College, an educational opportunity hosted by the Healthiest State Initiative. The college is an interactive, in-person and online educational program for walkable community advocates.    

    The Iowa Walking College is modeled off of the national America Walks Walking College and will take place May-September 2019. Sessions include three days of face-to-face learning and one webinar and feature national presenters and local experts to help equip you with the knowledge you need to advocate for a more walkable community.  

    Twenty fellowships will be awarded to Iowans to work 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. Additional information and an application for the Iowa Walking College can be found online. Applications will be accepted until  March 1. ​

  • Hometown Pride Program Seeking to Expand with New Communities 

    Friday, December 28, 2018

    ​Keep Iowa Beautiful's Hometown Pride Program recently announced it plans to expand into new communities beginning in 2019. The program began in 2012 and walks alongside qualifying Iowa communities and coaches them to a more vibrant future. This effort enhances the community and its cultural and economic vitality – strengthening the community and increasing its chance for not simply survival, but growth with increased pride.

    Qualifying communities receive five years of long-term technical and professional coaching assistance on leadership training, skill development, planning guidance, youth service learning and a variety of educational components, and solutions for community development. The effort is done through a partnership with Keep Iowa Beautiful and local communities and organizations.

    Interested communities must send a letter of interest by March 15, 2019. Additional information about the program can be found on the Hometown Pride website.