In The News

  • Cities in the News 

    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    ​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 citynews@iowaleague.org.     

    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.

     
  • Cities are Eligibile for Partnership with Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities 

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    ​Cities can apply to become a community partner through the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) at the University of Iowa Office of Outreach and Engagement. IISC is a campus-wide effort to enhance the capacity of rural and urban communities in Iowa to address the environmental, equity, economic and cultural issues they face today and plan for a sustainable future.

    Community partners are matched with university students and faculty to implement projects that will advance the community's sustainability and vitality. Through the program, community partners will receive roughly 10,000 hours of work from students and faculty from a variety of disciplines.

    Applications are due February 1, 2019 and additional information is available on the IISC website. Interested communities are encouraged to contact IISC Director Travis Kraus at travis-kraus@uiowa.edu or (319) 335-2798. 

     
  • DMACC offers Public Works Course 

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    DMACC now offers a public works academy course. The course will teach workplace readiness skills, safety, use of tools and equipment operation.
    Participants will receive a DMACC non-credit certificate that will demonstrate preparedness for an entry-level job in public works. The curriculum has been developed with input from area public works departments.

    Contact Aaron Chittenden at (515) 256-4921 or ajchittenden1@dmacc.edu​ with questions. Registration is currently available online.
     
  • American Communities Survey 5-Year Estimate and Tool 

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    The U.S. Census released its American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates (2013-2017) last week. Also released was an interactive tool that looks at what can be learned from it in a variety of areas, including the following Census categories: age, commuting to work, computer and internet access, disability, education, employment status, foreign born, household income, households and families, and poverty. The most recent one-year ACS population estimates were released in September.
     
  • FY 2020 City Budget Form Available 

    Monday, December 10, 2018

    ​The Iowa Department of Management (IDOM) has released the Fiscal Year 2020 city budget form, which can be downloaded from the IDOM website along with other helpful resources and previously adopted city budgets on the City Resource page. Cities that uploaded their Annual Financial Report (AFR) electronically by December 6 will have related data included on the budget form. The FY 2018 AFR data will automatically appear once the city name has been entered on the certification page.

    As a reminder, cities cannot adopt a budget until they have filed their AFR and the Annual Urban Renewal Report (for cities with an urban renewal area and plan in effect during the fiscal year). The city budget must be completed and filed by March 15 each year after the city has held a public hearing and adopted the final budget by resolution.

     
  • Changes Made to W-2 and 1099 Filings with Iowa Department of Revenue 

    Monday, December 03, 2018

    ​Cities should make note of important changes to filing requirements of forms W-2 and 1099 with the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR). Beginning with 2018 tax year filings, all employers must electronically file employee W-2 forms and independent contractor 1099 forms. The deadline to submit the forms is January 31, 2019 and employers are required to file them electronically through the IDR's portal. Additional guidance on these new requirements, including a recorded presentation and specific instructions for uploading files, can be found on the IDR's W-2 and 1099 page.

    Cities are also reminded to complete and issue Form W-2 to each employee of the city and send Form 1099-MISC to any service vendor or contractor the city has issued total payments in excess of $600 during the previous year. Cities with more than 250 employees must report health care costs on the W-2; this provision is optional for cities with less than 250 employees. W-2s must be filed using paper or electronic copies with the Social Security Administration by January 31, 2019. Cities must file paper or electronic copies of 1099s with the IRS by January 31, 2019 (when reporting nonemployee compensation payments in Box 7).

    Lastly, cities must continue to submit the Verified Summary of Payments (VSP) electronically with the IDR. This must be done by January 31, 2019.

     
  • Episode 5 of The Square Now Available! 

    Monday, December 03, 2018

    ​A new episode of The Square is now available! Jim Thompson, Downtown Economic Development Specialist at the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), joins the podcast for a fun conversation about his experiences working with cities and programs at the IEDA that can help communities. Jim previously served as a council member in Charles City before getting involved in economic development work, giving him keen insight into what works for cities and the challenges that so many face. Hear his perspective on what cities can do to understand their identity, make important improvements around the community and the specific programs that cities can utilize through the IEDA.

    This month's Your Questions Answered segment takes a look at the differences between a city manager and a city administrator. And the Get to Know Your League conversation features a fun talk with Tim Kirgan of IMWCA, who talks about his role with the League and shares a little baseball wisdom.

    As always, send us your questions and trivia answers to thesquare@iowaleague.org.

     
  • What Works Cities Certification 

    Monday, December 03, 2018

    Are you a city that excels in data-driven local governance, and are over 30,000 in population? Apply by December 31, 2018 to be recognized by What Works Cities (WWC), sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and to continue to partner with WWC to drive change in your community.

    Certification helps cities benchmark their progress and develop a roadmap for using data and evidence to deliver results for residents. By recognizing local governments excelling in this work, the program provides models others can learn from. Completing a Certification assessment is the entry point to WWC and accessing the range of support offered by partners. The program is open to any city with a population of 30,000 or more.​​
     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Saturday, December 01, 2018

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine for the December 2018 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.​​

     
  • Ten Cities Selected for Living Roadways Community Visioning Program 

    Friday, November 30, 2018

    ​Ten cities around the state have been selected to participate in the Iowa Living Roadways 2019 Community Visioning Program, which supports planning for transportation improvements in communities less than 10,000 in population. Supported by Trees Forever, the Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa State University Landscape Architecture, the program helps participating cities develop conceptual plans that graphically illustrate the vision of the community to improve transportation systems. Local leaders are empowered in the process to create a plan that reflects the values and identity of their community.​

     
  • Home Rule 50th Anniversary Proclamation 

    Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    Join the League, the Governor and cities across the state in acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the Home Rule Constitutional Amendment by passing a proclamation stating that local control “continues to be vital to the health and prosperity of all cities in Iowa.” A sample proclamation​ is available online.

    Without Home Rule authority, cities would have to seek legislative approval for all purchases. Local zoning ordinances couldn’t exist without Home Rule. Imagine needing legislative approval before creating a new position within your city; that was life prior to Home Rule.
     
    In 1968, the citizens of Iowa passed an amendment to the Iowa Constitution that enabled cities to exercise local control within their jurisdictions. This transitioned Iowa from a state where local government powers are derived exclusively from the state legislature, to a Home Rule state where local government powers are derived from the State Constitution.
     
    The League is conducting a yearlong celebration with members to mark this historic event. In addition to recognitions at League events throughout 2018, you will find articles in each issue of Cityscape magazine exploring the history and impact of cities’ Home Rule authority. 

     
  • A New Year is Approaching, Prepare with Beginning of Year Checklist 

    Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    As 2018 draws to a close, there are a number of tasks for cities to complete early in the new year. January is a good time for the city council to set its regular meeting schedule for the year, which should include reviewing when potential special meetings will be needed as well as holidays that may cause a different meeting day. Council members should also review meeting rules of procedure and determine if any changes are needed. Another important item early in the year is to review the status of city boards, commissions and committees to determine whether any appointments will be needed in the near future.

    Several other items are often handled in January, including publishing the annual wages of employees, completing and filing W-2s and 1099s, having newly elected officials declare their IPERS status, and reviewing and potentially renewing insurance coverages, service contracts and other agreements. Please visit the Beginning of Year Checklist page for additional details.

     
  • Multiple CDBG Grants Available to Cities 

    Tuesday, November 27, 2018

    Cities are eligible for grant funding through several Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs that make awards on an annual basis. Administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the programs aim to develop viable communities by providing adequate housing and suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate incomes. Funding is available through the following programs:

    • Sustainable Community Demonstration (applications due December 31, 2018)
    • Water & Sewer Fund (applications due each quarter, next due date is January 1, 2019)
    • Community Facilities & Services Fund (applications due April 19, 2019)
    • Downtown Revitalization (applications due May 17, 2019)
    • Housing Fund (applications due May 4, 2019)
    Additional information about each of these funding opportunities as well as application instructions is available on the IEDA website.
     
  • Grants Available Through Iowa Foundation for Parks and Recreation 

    Monday, November 19, 2018

    ​The Iowa Foundation for Parks and Recreation (IFPR), whose vision is to build a better Iowa through parks and recreation, is offering a new mini-grant for communities with a population of 10,000 or less. If your city or a local nonprofit in your community is looking for additional funding to improve leisure opportunities for citizens, please forward this to them!

    Applications are now open and are due by February 1, 2019. Additional information about the IFPR and the mini-grants is available online.

     
  • Main Street Challenge Grants Awarded to 13 Cities 

    Monday, November 19, 2018

    The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently announced 13 community projects were awarded 2018 Challenge Grants through the Main Street Iowa program. The program awarded a total of $950,000 for local improvement projects such as upper story renovations, movie theater restoration and expansions, restaurant start-ups and improvements, critical building stabilization and façade restoration and upgrades.

    The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs. The funding will be distributed in the form of matching grants to the selected Main Street programs. The estimated total project cost of the 13 projects is more than $8.7 million. Additional information is available on the Main Street Iowa page.