In The News

  • The Department of Management Releases Video 

    Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    ​The Department of Management is the state department responsible for city budgets. In addition to the forms, instructions and other data, this year they have released video to assist city clerks in the preparation of the city budget. Find them online.
     
  • Interstate 80 Planning Study 

    Tuesday, February 09, 2016

    The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) is asking interested parties to take a few minutes to review the materials on the I-80 Planning Study Web site and complete the survey. Survey responses will help IDOT staff gain a better understanding of perceptions and experiences of those traveling I-80 in Iowa. The study will bedeveloped and released through a series of technical reports that identify the existing condition of I-80, the way the system is performing, short and long-term issues, and strategies to improve the route. Each report will be accessible online as it becomes available on the IDOT’s I-80 Planning Study Web site.

     

     
     
  • Register Now for the Understanding Iowa's Property Tax System Webinar 

    Monday, February 08, 2016

    Registration is now open for the 2016 League Webinar Series! We will again host five webinars that will cover a variety of topics important to city officials. The first webinar, Understanding Iowa's Property Tax System, will be released February 16:

    What: Understanding Iowa’s Property Tax System Webinar
    Release Date: February 16
    Speakers: League Staff
    Registration: $35 | Register Online
     
    Iowa’s property tax system is vital to city budgets as one of the major sources of revenue, giving city governments the ability to provide needed services. Understanding the system is important for city officials so they are able to make informed decisions when setting the city budget and throughout the year when contemplating future needs.
     

    This webinar will give a breakdown of the property tax system and walk attendees through how property valuations are used, the assessment limitation (or rollback), and a comprehensive analysis of the new multi-residential property class. It will also provide guidance on how the property tax system shapes city budgets and ways to prepare for the future.

    Below are the webinars to be released later this year. More information is available on the 2016 Webinar Series page.

    • Assessing and Replacing Outdated Utility Infrastructure | March 15
    • Placemaking: Building Your Community Identity | May 17
    • Open Meetings and Open Records Laws and Best Practices | August 16
    • Human Resources Management for Cities | October 18

    Each webinar will be pre-recorded and released on the date listed. The webinars will be archived, giving registrants the ability to access and view any purchased webinar whenever they like. Webinars from the 2014 series and 2015 series are also archived and available for purchase.  

     
  • All-Star Community Award 

    Monday, February 08, 2016

    ​The application form for the All-Star Community Award is currently available online. Applications are due April 1.

    The award program highlights cities who’ve complete projects in the 2015 calendar year. Judges will choose one winner from each of three population categories and the remaining applicants will compete for the title of People’s All-Star Community in a bracket-style competition on Facebook. Winners will be recognized at the Annual Conference & Exhibit in September.

    Fill out an online application, learn more about the award or see a list of other cities and projects that applied for the award online.

     
  • 2016 League Property Tax Model 

    Monday, February 08, 2016

    ​The League has developed a Property Tax Model for cities to gauge the estimated impact of Division II and III of the property tax reform (SF295) law passed during the 2012-2013 legislative session. Each year, an updated model has been released. This is the first update that includes information related to Division III, which established the new multi-residential class of property. This model does not include additional city impacts included within the law relative to Divisions I or IV. The model was updated in February 2016; the information included is based on forward projections only. 

    Note that this model was created for estimation purposes only, and not intended for use in annual budget forms. See model assumptions.

     
  • USDA Farm Housing Program 

    Thursday, February 04, 2016

    ​The application deadline for funding offered through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development's Farm Labor Housing program this year will be Tuesday, April 12. This USDA loan and grant program provides affordable financing to develop housing options for year-round and migrant or seasonal farm laborers.

    New this year, USDA Rural Development is working with Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation to provide applicants with technical assistance as they develop housing projects for agricultural workers in their areas. This technical assistance is available to communities of all sizes, community development corporations, and housing authorities free of charge and can help projects from the pre-application phase through construction, including rent-up and management.

    Interested applicants are encouraged to take advantage of this free technical assistance to develop a competitive application and an application workshop is being tentatively planned for Tuesday, February 23rd in Kansas City. 

    Types of eligible applicants are farmers, family farm corporations, nonprofit organizations, as well as most state and local government entities. Housing occupants must meet the definition of agricultural labor.

    All program applications must be submitted to USDA Rural Development by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12.

    Please contact Mary Beth Juergens, USDA Rural Development Housing Program Director in Iowa at mary.juergens@ia.usda.gov or Jo Uteidt with Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation at jo@affordablehousingconsultants.org with any questions or for more information about the application workshop or process.

    More information on USDA Rural Development's Farm Labor Housing program including the 2016 Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) and application process can be found at www.rd.usda.gov keyword search Farm Labor Housing.

     
  • Governor's Volunteer Awards 

    Thursday, February 04, 2016

    The Governor's Volunteer Award program was established in 1982 to honor and recognize the commitment, service and time that hundreds of volunteers contribute each year to meet community challenges; making our cities and our state a better place to live, work,and raise a family.

    The program provides an easy, non-competitive and low-cost way to honor individuals or groups who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work through their volunteer service with a prestigious state-level recognition award.

    The program is administered by the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service. Learn more at www.volunteeriowa.org or contact them at icvs@iowa.gov or (515) 725-3094. The nomination form is also available online, and applications are due April 4.

    The $15 per award handeling fee is payable to the State of Iowa and should be mailed to Volunteer Iowa, ATTN: Governor’s Volunteer Awards, 200 East Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309. Please include the name(s) of your nominee(s) with your check. Payment deadline is April 30.

    Awards are presented during recognition ceremonies held each spring at several locations around the state. The $15 per award handling fee helps cover the cost of presenting the awards.

     
  • Dangerous Dog Policy and Rabies Education Session 

    Thursday, February 04, 2016

    The Iowa Department of Agriculture, Animal Rescue League, Iowa Department of Public Health and the Cerro Gordo Public Health Department are presenting a day-long session on Dangerous Dog Policy Development and Review of Rabies Regulations and Recommendations. 

    The session will be held from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Aprill 11 at the Jester Park Lodge in Granger and is free to attend. The event is targeted toward law enforcement (county sheriffs and city police departments), animal control/shelters, local officials (such as county supervisors, county attorneys, and city council members), local public/environmental health officials, wild life rehabilitators, nuisance wildlife control operators, veterinarians, and healthcare providers. 

    Registration is requested prior to attending the free event.

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, February 01, 2016

    The League's electronic Cityscape ePub magazine for the February 2016 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 www.iowaleague.org to change your preference.

     
  • 2016 Legislative Day 

    Monday, February 01, 2016

    As a city official, the League Legislative Day on March 1 gives you a wonderful opportunity to learn more about what is taking place at the Capitol and how it affects your city. In addition, the day provides you with an opportunity to share ideas with each other and legislators.

    Day at the Capitol | March 1, 1 – 4:30 p.m.
    Legislators will speak on issues of particular importance to cities during the 2016 legislative session. You are also welcome to watch floor debate, attend any committee meetings that may be going on during that time, set up a private meeting with your legislators, or ask League staff to help you arrange a meeting while you are here.
     
    Legislative Reception | March 1,  5 – 7 p.m.
    Join the League’s annual Cities Legislative Reception in the beautiful Des Moines City Hall Great Room on Level 2. All city officials and legislators are invited to attend. The reception will feature hors d'oeuvres from locally owned restaurant, Noodle Zoo. A cash bar serving wine and beer will be available
     
    This event is always a lot of fun so consider inviting another city official to come with you! Register now.
     
  • Keep Iowa Beautiful Announces 2016 Grant Opportunities 

    Friday, January 29, 2016

    Keep Iowa Beautiful (KIB) has funding available in three grant programs that support community beautification efforts. KIB is a statewide organization that aims to make Iowa the cleanest and most attractive place in the nation.

    The Paint Iowa Beautiful program is accepting applications for grant funding that can be used to reimburse organizations that need paint for community enhancement projects. Interested cities need to complete and file an application by February 19. Those that are awarded grants through Paint Iowa Beautiful will receive paint provided by Diamond Vogel Paint, which has donated over 7,000 gallons of paint to Iowa communities.

    Another grant opportunity is available through the Yo-Ho Tools program. These grants are for $200 worth of YO-HO Quality Tools to assist community volunteers in beautification and cleanup projects. The application deadline for the Yo-Ho Tools grants is March 4.

    KIB is also accepting applications for Build with Bags grants, which provides up to $2,000 in funding to communities for projects that support plastic bag recycling. The deadline for this grant is March 30.

    More information and applications instructions for each of these grant opportunities can be found on KIB's Web site.

     
  • 2016 Planning & Zoning Sessions Announced 

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    Registration is now open for the Spring 2016 Introduction to Planning and Zoning Workshops. More information and online registration is online.

    The dates and locations are:

    • Monday, March 21 - Okoboji - Arrowwood Resort, 1405 Highway 71
    • Tuesday, March 22 - Clear Lake - Best Western Holiday Lodge, 2023 7th Ave North
    • Tuesday, April 5 - Decorah - Hotel Winneshiek, 104 East Water Street
    • Wednesday, April 6 - Cedar Rapids - Clarion Hotel & Convention Center, 525 33rd Ave. SW
    • Monday, April 11 - Sioux City - Bev's on the River, 1110 Larsen Park Road
    • Tuesday, April 19 - Creston - Supertel Inn & Conference Center, 800 Laurel Street

    The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshop is a three-hour session designed to introduce the basic principles of land use planning and development management to 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.

    All workshops begin with registration and a light supper at 5:30 p.m.  The program begins at 6 p.m. and concludes by 8:45 p.m. 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 fee covers the workshop instruction, workshop materials and supper.

    The workshop has been pre-approved by the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association and the Iowa League of Cities for credits toward certification.​
     
  • 2016 NLC Congressional City Conference Coming in March 

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    ​The 2016 Congressional City Conference, hosted by the National League of Cities (NLC), will be held March 5-9 in Washington, D.C. The conference provides delegates with the opportunity to hear from policy makers and to educate members of Congress about the needs of cities. Attendees will also learn about NLC's priorities for federal action in 2016 and advocate on behalf of cities.

    The conference schedule includes workshops on climate change, revitalizing brownfields, the new five-year federal transportation bill, water infrastructure and much more. More information and online registration is available on the Congressional City Conference Web site.
     
  • Advanced Accounting and CAFR Preparatoin Class 

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    Iowa State University Extension and Outreach's Office of State and Local Government Programs is excited to announce a one-day, advanced accounting course for cities that do or are considering cash to accrual conversions at year-end and/or in house Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) preparation for the GFOA Certificate in Excellence in Financial Reporting. This session will be on April 5 at the Clarion Hotel & Convention Center, 525 33rd Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids.

    This class will instruct participants on understanding and applying year-end cash to accrual accounting conversion for cities and utilities. Particular emphasis will be placed on the reconciliation adjustments to the government-wide statements and maintenance of government-wide funds. Participants will also learn how to prepare a CAFR in compliance with the Government Finance Officers Association guidelines. This  event is sponsored by the Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute/Academy and qualifies for 8 hours of Flex or Financial Credit for IIMC and IMFOA certification programs. Credits can also be applied to CPE for CPAs.

    The cost for this training will be $290 which includes breaks and a Potato Bar luncheon. Travel, expenses and housing are the responsibility of the participant. The group room rate is $69; be sure to indicate that you are with ISUEO, Office of State and Local Government Programs

    Online registration is available. Fees must be paid before the session begins on April 5. Please register as soon as possible to ensure that we have the minimum participation threshold satisfied.  

    Questions? Please contact Cindy Kendall at ckendall@iastate.edu or (515) 290-1811​.

     
  • Apply Now of the Innovations in American Government Awards 

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    ​Applications are now being accepted for the $100,000 Innovations in American Government Awards. Offered by Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, the Innovations Award is the nation’s premier award for the public sector. It recognizes programs that demonstrate creative and effective government at its best. All units of government — federal, state, local, tribal and territorial — from all policy areas are eligible to apply for recognition. Applications are due April 15.

    This year the Ash Center is also once again offering the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, a special Innovations Award that will recognize government-led programs that demonstrate novel and effective approaches to increasing public engagement and participation in the governance of towns, cities, states and the nation.

    The winners of the Innovations in American Government Award and the Roy and Lila Ash Award will each receive a $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities in 2017. Top finalists will also receive monetary grants. Applications and additional information are available online.