In The News

  • Web Site Issues Impacting Access 

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016

    We're experiencing a technical issue which is impacting portions of the League's Web site, specifically access to the League's Member Resources area, online registrations, the city directory and the classifieds. When this is resolved, we'll update this message. As always, we appreciate your patience, and if you need immediate assistance call us at (515) 244-7282.
     
  • Judge Grants Injunction on Overtime Rule Change 

    Wednesday, November 23, 2016

    ​A U.S. District Court judge in Texas granted an injunction on the U.S. Department of Labor's overtime rule change that was scheduled to take effect December 1. The rule change would have raised the minimum salary for being classified as an exempt (or salaried) employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to $47,476. The current salary threshold is $23,660 annually. The new rules also included a provision for increases to occur every three years so the threshold stays at the 40th percentile of full-time salaries in the lowest wage region of the country.

    21 states and other parties jointly sued the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) over the proposed rules, claiming the DOL exceeded its authority. The injunction suspends the effective date of the rule change, providing the court more time to determine the DOL's authority to make such a final rule as well as the rule's validity.

    The injunction does not strike the DOL rule change, it only preserves the status quo of the current FLSA overtime rules. It is possible the rule could still be implemented in the future, for the rules to be changed in some way or for the rule change to be eliminated completely.

    In the meantime, cities should continue to adhere to the current overtime rules under the FLSA, including the existing salary threshold of $23,660. As a reminder, exempt employees must also pass a duties test that determines if they fit into one of three categories: executive, professional or administrative. The new rules made no changes to the duties test or categories.

    The League recommends cities evaluate its workforce and review the exempt and non-exempt classifications of employees, job descriptions and duties, salary levels, and overtime and comp time usage. Keep in mind that exempt employees must meet both the salary threshold and duties test to be classified as exempt.

    Please continue to visit www.iowaleague.org for the latest on the overtime rule change and contact us at (515) 244-7282 with any questions.

     
  • U.S. Communities Announces Five New Contracts 

    Monday, November 21, 2016

    U.S. Communities, a national nonprofit cooperative purchasing program and League Endorsed Program, recently announced five new contracts with eight new suppliers available to cities in Iowa. The new contracts offer solutions for web services, recreation equipment, technology products and more. See all of the products and services U.S. Communities has to offer!

    U.S. Communities is a cooperative purchasing program that provides local governments competitively bid contracts for a wide variety of goods and services. The national purchasing cooperative sponsored by the National League of Cities not only brings purchasing savings and solutions to state and local governments and educational institutions, but to nonprofit organizations as well. U.S. Communities is the only national purchasing cooperative sponsored by National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, Association of School Business Officials International, and U.S. Conference of Mayors as well as 29 state municipal leagues, including the Iowa League of Cities.

     
  • Snow and Ice Training Seminar 

    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    The Iowa American Public Works Association (APWA) is sponsoring three winter training events in West Des Moines and Council Bluffs, December 14 - 16.

    The training is developed to hear from some of the best winter maintenance professionals in the business, and costs $35 per attendee. This was made possible by a sponsorship of the Iowa APWA Chapter, Vaisala and the Salt Institute. If you are interested in sending staff to either the session geared for winter operators or managers please view the agenda flier (PDF) or registration form (Excel). Participants should register by December 5.

    Contact Peggy at PeggyEnglehart@wdm.iowa.gov.

     
  • Cities Awarded CAT Grant Funding 

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    ​The Enhance Iowa Board recently awarded this year's recipients of Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) grant funding. A total of $878,616 in funding was awarded to three projects in Iowa, including a fine arts center in Forest City, a pedestrian bridge in Nora Springs and a theater renovation project in Audubon.

    The annual CAT grants provide financial incentives to communities for the construction of recreational, cultural, educational or entertainment facilities that enhance the quality of life in Iowa. Additional information about this year's CAT grant awards can be found on the Iowa Economic Development Authority Web site.

     
  • Stormwater Summit to be Held December 6-7 

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    ​The 2nd annual Stormwater Summit, hosted by the Iowa Stormwater Education Partnership, will be held December 6-7 in Marion. The summit is designed to provide guidance on stormwater policy, planning and best practices. It will feature education on the Iowa Drainage Law, right-of-way solutions, urban stormwater modeling and stormwater pollution prevention plans.

    Additional information and registration is available on the online.

     
  • River Town of the Year Accepting Applications 

    Friday, November 11, 2016

    ​Cities are encouraged to apply for the Iowa Rivers Revival River Town of the Year Award which recognizes and celebrates a city for outstanding efforts to reclaim riverfronts as anchors for economic development, recreation and good ecological practices. Cities are invited to apply for the award or citizens may nominate their town.

    Applications are due January 6, 2017, and the award will be presented in early 2017 at a reception hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival in the winning community.

     
  • Trees for Kids Grants and Earth Day Celebration Seedlings 

    Wednesday, November 09, 2016

    ​​The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Forestry Bureau has announced that 2017 applications for the Full Trees for Kids grant as well as the earth day celebration seedling order forms are now available on the urban page of the DNR Forestry Web site

    A few details about the no-cost seedlings:

    • Cities and schools may order anytime between now and April 1 to allow more planning and flexibility. Each school building is eligible to order 1 packet.  
    • Ordering as early as possible is highly recommended to insure you receive the packet you prefer.
    • You may only select from the packets listed, with no species substitutions available.
    • Planting or distribution may be done anytime between April 1 and May 30.
    • You may download species information and planting instructions that may distribute to students/families/residents by clicking the packet name on the order form, or by going online.  
    • Cities and schools may utilize seedlings in multiple ways such as planting windbreak or visual screen along property border, creating a nursery, distributing seedlings to residents in cities or plantings at parks.
    • Reporting remains simple – a digital photo or two and a short summary of how the trees were utilized.

     Some things that will remain the same for the full Trees for Kids grant:

    • Grant is for $1,000 - $5,000 for trees and mulch – usually not more than 50 trees.
    • Planting must be done on school ground (public or private), or other public property.
    • Grant is for containerized trees no larger than #7 so that youth can safely plant.
    • Grant applicant will need to complete an i-tree design for their project to calculate impacts.
    • Youth must be involved in planting.
    • Entities planting in the fall may submit their grant in March if they would like to know their award status early.
    • Applicants can receive additional 15 points by utilizing root-pruning containers for some of their stock.
    • Applicants must have nurseries sign the Nursery Notification Letter and submit with their grant packet. The Nursery Notification letter may be downloaded online. 
     
  • 2017 Budget Report Now Available 

    Monday, November 07, 2016

    The 2017 Budget Special Report is now available! The annual report details the latest financial projections for revenues and expenditures that impact city budgets. Analysis of the major changes to Iowa's property tax system is included as well as the latest information on road use tax projections, Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) contribution rates and much more.

    The League will mail a copy of the report to each city later this week. In addition, the League's Budget Workshops, currently being held around the state, features extensive coverage of city budget issues.
     
  • Iowa Pavement Management Workshop 

    Monday, November 07, 2016

    ​The Iowa Pavement Management workshop will be held from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on December 13 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 325 Dickinson Ave. in Ames. The workshop will cover the distresses collected, distress data delivery, pavement management software (dTIMS), GIS tools, and additional features such as videologging. The workshop will feature a new tool demo (Roadway Asset Management System) that the Iowa Department of Transportation will use to streamline the pavement history updates and consistency for local agencies. There will also be breakout sessions for dTIMS users and non-dTIMS users.

    This event is designed for engineers, public works directors, consultants, planners, street superintendents or supervisors responsible for making pavement maintenance, rehabilitation or reconstruction decisions, and those who are responsible for developing a pavement management program.

    Registration is required. More details are also available online.

     
  • Department of Revenue Announces FY 2018 Rollback Numbers 

    Wednesday, October 26, 2016

    The Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR) recently issued the annual Assessment Limitations Order, or “rollback,” on property values. These adjustments in the percentage of property valuation that is subject to taxation are necessary to comply with state law. The Fiscal Year 2018 rollback numbers can be seen below:
     
    ​Property Class ​FY 2018 Rollback Percentage
    ​Agricultural ​47.4996%
    ​Commercial 90%
    ​Industrial 90%
    ​Railroad ​90%
    ​Residential ​56.9391%
    ​Multi-Residential 82.5%

    The 2013 overhaul to the property tax system continues to take effect. Previously, state law allowed no more than a 4 percent increase from year to year in the taxable values for agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial property classifications. Effective with the 2013 assessment limitation order, the increase in taxable values for the agricultural and residential property classifications was limited to 3 percent.

    Additionally, the assessment limitation for commercial, industrial and railroad properties was replaced with an initial 5 percent reduction in the taxable value, from 100 percent to 95 percent. In 2014, the taxable value of these properties was reduced another 5 percent to reach 90 percent, where it will remain. A new Multi-Residential property class was also created, with its own rollback schedule, and is now part of the system.

    County auditors will apply the adjustments to each property class to calculate the taxable values used for property taxes. Tax liabilities, based on 2016 taxable values and payable in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018, will not be determined until early next year when local taxing bodies establish their property tax needs.

    For more information on Iowa’s property tax system, please visit our Property Tax Information and Resources page. Also, the League's annual Budget Special Report, to be released in November, contains a variety of helpful budget and finance information.
     
  • Brownfields Grants Available Through EPA 

    Tuesday, October 25, 2016

    ​​The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting applications for Brownfields grant funding. The EPA will award funding through its Brownfield Assessment Grants and Brownfield Cleanup Grants. Each funding source helps communities prevent, assess, clean up and reuse brownfield sites that have been contaminated by petroleum, hazardous substances and pollutants. The use of the Brownfields program has helped local governments return contaminated property to a useful purpose that serves the community.

    Applications for each program are due December 20. Additional information and applications instructions are available on the EPA Web site.

     
  • IPERS Contribution Rates 

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    The Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System (IPERS) announced contrib​ution rates for Fiscal Year 2018. The rate for Regular IPERS Members will continue to be 14.88 percent (5.95 percent Member Share and 8.93 percent Employer Share). Protection Occupation rates will also stay the same percent in FY 2018 at 16.40 percent (6.56 percent Member Share and 9.84 percent Employer Share).  ​

     
  • New Deadlines for Filing W-2s and 1099s 

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    Cities should note changes to the deadline for filing Form W-2 with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Also, certain types of Form 1099, filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), will have an earlier deadline as well.

    Employers are now required to file paper or electronic copies of employee W-2s with the SSA by January 31, 2017. This replaces the previous deadlines of February 28 for paper copies and March 31 for electronic copies. The deadline for providing copies of W-2s to employees will remain January 31, 2017.

    The deadline for filing paper or electronic copies of many 1099s has also moved up to January 31, 2017. The new deadline applies when reporting nonemployee compensation payments in Box 7. Cities must file 1099s with the IRS by January 31 as well as provide copies to contractors by the same deadline.

     
  • Human Resources Management Webinar Now Available! 

    Tuesday, October 18, 2016

    The Human Resources Management for Cities webinar is now available! The webinar features guidance on successfully managing employees and understanding the major employment laws that affect municipal governments. Topics to be covered include workplace policies, employee manuals, performance evaluations and hiring best practices. It also includes an update on the new overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    What: Human Resources Management for Cities
    Speaker: Human Resources Consultant, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
    Registration: $35 | Register Online
     
    Below are the webinars available in the 2016 Webinar Series, more information on each webinar is available on the webinar series website.
    • Understanding Iowa's Property Tax System | Available Now
    • Assessing and Replacing Outdated Utility Infrastructure | Available Now
    • Placemaking: Building Your Community Identity | Available Now
    • Open Meetings and Open Records Laws and Best Practices | Available Now
    • Human Resources Management for Cities | Available Now

    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.