In The News

  • Cities in the News 

    Tuesday, December 10, 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 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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • International Institute for Municipal Clerks scholarships available 

    Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    The 2020 Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute will be held July 20-24 and July 27-29, 2020 and the Academy will be held July 29-31, 2020. The International Institute for Municipal Clerks has scholarships of up to $400 available to help with the cost of attendance. More information about the scholarship and the link to apply can be found here​.​​​​​​​

     
  • Workshop proposals for the 2020 Annual Conference & Exhibit 

    Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    The Iowa League of Cities is seeking ideas/proposals for educational workshops on topics related to local government for our 2020 Annual Conference & Exhibit, September 16-18 in Coralville. "Thrive2020” is the theme for this conference. Proposals are due Friday, January 31, 2020.
    If you or someone in your city, firm, agency or department is an expert on a topic of interest to city officials, please encourage them to submit a workshop proposal. Most hour long workshop opportunities occur throughout the day on Thursday, September 17 and during the morning of Friday, September 18. At least one workshop will be scheduled for September 16; this tends to be an extended workshop covering leadership themes and is scheduled for three hours.  
    You may submit as many workshop ideas as you are qualified to present. Acceptance of your proposal is not a guarantee you will be selected to speak at the 2020 Annual Conference & Exhibit. All materials are subject to review by League staff. Workshop proposals will be evaluated based on how the topic addresses the needs of Iowa elected and appointed city officials. Initial selections for conference workshops will be made by the end of March 2020.
    We appreciate your interest in presenting at the League’s Annual Conference and Exhibit. If you have any questions, please contact League Membership Services at MbrSvcs@iowaleague.org or (515) 244-7282.​
    ​​​​
     
  • All-Star Community Award Accepting Applications 

    Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    The All-Star Community Awards program seeks to acknowledge and encourage excellence in local government and provides an opportunity for officials and staff of member cities to receive recognition for their superior and innovative efforts. In addition, the program provides a means for sharing Iowa’s best public service ideas and demonstrates that those involved with local government are progressive, caring and committed to their communities. Applications must be submitted using the online entry form​ and are due April 3, 2020. Each member city of the League may submit only one entry to the All-Star Community awards per year. Entries must describe programs or projects successfully operating or completed between January 1 and December 31, 2019.

    ​​​​

     
  • Scholarships Available for the Iowa Municipal Professional Institute 

    Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    Applications for scholarships for the 2020 Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute are now being accepted. The scholarships are funded by both the Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute (IMPI) and the Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association (IMFOA). The International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) also has scholarships available to assist with the cost of the Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute. The applications and more information about the scholarships can be found at the Iowa State University Office of State and Local Government Programs website at: OSLGP.iastate.edu. Any questions can be directed at either Cindy Hopton, chopton@iastate.edu or Sara Shonrock, sshonroc@iastate.edu.
     
  • MLA Part One Concludes This Week 

    Monday, December 09, 2019

    Part One of the Municipal Leadership Academy wraps up this week with our final stops in Algona and Van Meter. The series will continue in early January with MLA Part Two, which provides online training (more info below). MLA provides guidance on the fundamentals of city government and is designed primarily for elected officials. The series is particularly beneficial to those new to office to help gain a better understanding of local government.

    MLA is one of the best ways to get education on important topics to help city officials effectively serve their community. The three-part series includes in-person workshops and online training that begins after the regular city elections. It is widely considered essential training for elected officials, especially those recently elected to office. MLA is presented by the Iowa League of Cities and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

    MLA Part One will be held in November and December, featuring seven workshops around the state. Held right after the city elections, these sessions are designed to provide education on the fundamentals of municipal government: Budget and Finance, Effective City Councils and Municipal Operations. Attendees of Part One also receive a copy of the Iowa Policy Leader's Handbook, which is a valuable resource that offers guidance on all sorts of city government topics (the handbook alone has a $40 value). Registration for MLA Part One is $80.

    MLA Part Two features online training videos that are released in early 2020. Topics covered in Part Two include The Basics of Planning & Zoning, The City Budget and You Got Elected, Now What? Registration is $60.

    MLA Part Three includes six workshops held around the state in April 2020 that help further attendee's understanding of city government. Part Three topics are Economic Development, Community Betterment and Acting Strategically. Registration is $80.

    Note: A discounted package price of $190 (a $30 savings) is available for those that register for all three parts of MLA together.

    We also ask all current city officials to share MLA information with their newly elected and appointed officials so those new to city government are aware of this critical training. Much more information, including dates and locations as well as online registration, is available on the 2019-2020 MLA website. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, December 02, 2019

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine for the December 2019​​ ​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.​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • CDBG Funding Available Through Multiple Programs 

    Monday, December 02, 2019

    ​Funding is available to city governments 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:
    • Water & Sewer Fund​ (applications due each quarter, next due date is January 1, 2020)
    • Community Facilities & Services Fund (applications due January 17, 2020)
    • Sustainable Community Demonstration (applications typically due during winter, please check IEDA website for details)
    • Downtown Revitalization (applications typically due during spring, please check IEDA website for details)
    • Housing Fund (applications typically due during spring, please check IEDA website for details)
    Additional information about each of these funding opportunities as well as application instructions is available on the IEDA website.
    ​​
     
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements 

    Monday, December 02, 2019

    On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor​ announced a final rule to make 1.3 million American workers newly eligible for overtime pay. The final rule updates the earning thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses/commissions towards meeting the salary level.
    In the final rule, the Department is:

    • Raising the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 per week to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker);
    • Raising the total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” from the currently enforced level of $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year;
    • Allowing employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, in recognition of evolving pay practices; and
    • Revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry.
    The final rule is effective on January 1, 2020.

    ​​​​​​​

     
  • Federal motor carrier safety administration commercial driver license testing 

    Monday, November 25, 2019

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Commercial D​river’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is a secure, online database that will give employers and other authorized users real-time information about commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders’ drug and alcohol program violations.

    Employer Checklist

    Fall 2019​

    • Must register the city with Clearinghouse
    • Verify any information in the system is up-to-date
    • In the Clearinghouse, designate any consortium/third party administrators (C/TPAs) if applicable
    • Change policy/practice to include a written consent for drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or recognized by FMCSA as safety sensitive to do an initial detailed query, and include the details for which an employer will report results to the Clearinghouse.  To view an FMCSA Sample Consent form.

    Effective January 6, 2020

    • Employers will be required to run queries ($1.25 cost per query) on new drivers they are planning to hire and currently employed drivers to check for drug and alcohol program violations
    • New Hire Query
    • Employers must run a full query on a prospective driver
    • Annual Screening
    • Employers are required to run a limited query every year on current drivers. Along with the electronic FMCSA query, until January 6, 2023, employers must conduct manual offline inquiries to previous employers for pre-employment driver investigations.
      • If the limited query returns a record, a full query must be completed
      • Make sure all staff associated with hiring and managing the testing of CDL employees understand the above changes.
    • Report drug and alcohol violations – including alcohol test results with a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or greater, refusal to submit to a drug or alcohol test and any actual knowledge of a violation.
    • Record the negative return-to-duty (RTD) test results and the date of successful completion of a follow-up testing plan.
    • All information required to be reported must be completed by the end of the third business day after the employer is informed.

    Additional links

    Employer Brochure

    CDL driver Brochure​​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • Get Ready for 2020 with the Beginning of Year Checklist 

    Monday, November 25, 2019

    ​As 2020 draws near, there is a variety 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.​​

     
  • My Legislative Day 

    Monday, November 25, 2019

    In order to develop more direct relationships between cities and the legislators that represent them, this year we are introducing My Legislative Day​. The League will work with you to schedule a day where you can discuss your city’s issues with your legislators and have an in-depth conversation about active legislation. We hope that this will help foster a closer relationship between your city and the legislators that represent you at the capitol.  ​​​​​​​​
     
  • Oath of Office Guidance 

    Monday, November 18, 2019

    ​With the recent municipal elections, many new and incumbent city council members and mayors were elected to represent their community. The League congratulates all elected officials, and we look forward to working with you! One task that all elected officials must complete is taking the oath of office. Both newly elected and re-elected mayors and council members must take the oath prior to the start of the new terms and beginning duties.

    The oath of office can be taken any time after election results are certified and before the deadline, which is the first working day following the New Year's Day holiday that is not a Sunday (in 2020, this is January 2). The oath does not have to be done at a city council meeting, although that is certainly allowed. Code of Iowa Chapters 63 and 63A provides the wording of the oath to be used and authorizes the city clerk and mayor to administer the oath. Additional information and guidance is provided on our Oath of Office page.​​

     
  • 2020 Budget Report Available 

    Monday, November 18, 2019

    ​The 2020 Budget Special Report is now available! The annual report details the latest financial projections for revenues and expenditures important to city budgets in the current and next fiscal years. Details of the major facets of Iowa's property tax system are covered, including additions made in the 2019 legislative session to the city budget adoption process. The report also offers the latest information on road use tax projections, Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) contribution rates and much more.

    In addition to the report, the League's 2019 Budget Workshops, currently being held around the state, feature extensive coverage of city budget issues.​​

     
  • The Rural Welcoming Initiative - Call for Applications 

    Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    Welcoming America is expanding its reach in rural communities.  Through a competitive initiative, we will engage nine new rural communities in strengthening welcoming. Through technical assistance and coaching; free Welcoming America membership; and access to ongoing learning opportunities such as our national conference, online resources, and connections to peer communities, participating communities will build inclusion and become part of the Welcoming movement.

    Welcoming America solicits applications from rural communities that are not yet members of Welcoming America but have an interest in deepening their welcoming practices.  Communities with populations less than 50,000 that are not considered suburbs of a metropolitan area are encouraged to apply.

    Nine rural communities new to Welcoming America’s Network will receive the following support:

    • Free Welcoming Network membership. Each rural community will receive a free 2020 core membership in the Welcoming Network. Membership benefits include access to training, technical assistance, and peer exchange opportunities including two free registrations to Welcoming America’s annual conference. More on membership can be found at welcomingamerica.org/programs/welcoming-network.

    • Coaching and Technical Assistance.  Each community will be eligible to receive 4 hours of individualized coaching and technical assistance to support their local work.  Each will have a coach to help ensure their technical assistance needs are fully met.  A coach from Welcoming America will provide regular telephone consultations to help rural communities establish welcoming goals, address challenges, and connect to helpful resources, as appropriate. Some communities will also be eligible for an in-person visit/training. 

    • Peer Learning. Rural communities will be provided the opportunity to connect with and learn from each other both virtually and in-person at Welcoming America’s national conference, the Welcoming Interactive, that will be held in Charlotte, NC June 3-5, 2020

    This request solicits applications from local governments and local nonprofit 501c(3) organizations that are located in a community of less than 50,000 that is not considered a suburb of a metropolitan area. National organizations are ineligible to apply.

    Applications are due by Friday, November 29 at 5 p.m. ET. To apply, click here.

    All communities will be notified of the selection committee’s decision by December 20.​

    ​​​
    ​​