In The News

  • Apply for All-Star Community Award 

    Monday, November 23, 2015

    What did you do this year?

    Tell us what your city accomplished in 2015 when you apply for the League’s All-Star Community Award. Applications are due April 1, 2016, and winners will be recognized at the Annual Conference & Exhibit in September.

    Even if you city isn't chosen as an All-Star Community be the panel of judges, you project will be highlighted during the head-to-head, bracket-style competition on Facebook. Not only could your city receive recognition for their work, but the All-Star Community Award program also serves as a means for sharing Iowa’s best public service ideas. When we share our ideas we demonstrate that those involved with local government are progressive, caring and committed to their communities.

    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.

  • MLA Part One Continues Next Week in Atlantic and Hiawatha 

    Monday, November 23, 2015

    We hope to see you at the Municipal Leadership Academy (MLA). This three-part training series provides curriculum to assist city officials in effectively meeting the requirements of their office and is appropriate for both newly-elected and veteran city officials.

    MLA Part One will be offered at six locations across the state. Each session includes a meal and a copy of the 2016 Iowa Municipal Policy Leaders’ Handbook. The handbook is published by the Institute of Public Affairs and by itself is a $30 value. The training is provided at a cost of $75. The program will include the latest information and policy guidance on the following topics: City Budgets, Effective City Councils and Meetings, Ethics and Municipal Operations. Remaining Part One Locations:
    • Atlantic (Thursday, December 3, 2015)
    • Hiawatha (Saturday, December 5, 2015)
    • Ottumwa (Thursday, December 10, 2015)
    • Ankeny (Saturday, Decembe​​r 12, 2015)​
    • Charles City (Thursday, December 17, 2015)

    MLA Part Two will be o​ffered as an online training during the first week of 2016. Topics for this training: The City Budget, Basics of Planning and Zoning and an orientation session titled You Got Elected, Now What? Cost of this training will be $60.

    MLA Part Three will be offered at six separate locations across the state and include the latest information and policy guidance on the following topics: Economic Development, Community Betterment (Including Nuisance Abatement) and Strategic Planning/Goal Setting​.

    Additional information and online registration is available now. Discounts are available for those wishing to register for the entire series (see the registration form or registration page for additional details).​ ​​​​​​​​​

  • Iowa DNR Offers Trees for Kids Grant Funding 

    Monday, November 23, 2015

    Cities are eligible for Trees for Kids grant funding, a program administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) that aims to educate students about the value of trees and to encourage tree planting projects at schools and other public areas around the state. Competitive grants between $1,000 and $5,000 are awarded to qualified tree planting projects on publicly owned property. Additional information and grants applications are available on the IDNR Web site.

    The program is sponsored by the IDNR Forestry Bureau, MidAmerican Energy, Black Hills Energy, Alliant Energy, Iowa Bankers Association, Trees Forever, Iowa Tree Farm Committee and the Iowa Woodland Owners Association.

  • Best Development Awards Nominations 

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015

    1000 Friends of Iowa is accepting nominations for the 2015 Best Development Awards. 1000 Friends of Iowa established the Best Development Awards in 2001 to showcase development projects and programs in Iowa that best reflect the principles of smart growth and sustainability and to recognize the efforts of the cities, companies, organizations and individuals that are responsible for these projects. The winners of our Best Development Awards are models of how responsible development practices provide benefits to the community, the environment and quality of life for future generations. There is no entry fee to submit an application for nomination. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015.
    An awards ceremony will be held January 21, 2016 at the State Capitol Rotunda to recognize winners in the following seven categories:
    • New Residential
    • Renovated Residential
    • New Commercial/Civic
    • Renovated Commercial/Civic
    • Mixed Use
    • Leadership
    • Storm Water Management

    Learn more, submit a nomination or view previous winners on the 1000 Friends Web site.

  • 2016 Budget Report Now Available Online 

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    The 2016 Budget Special Report is now available in the Publications section of the League Web site. The annual report details important financial projections for various 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 (which were raised by the gas tax increase), Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) contribution rates and much more.

    The League will mail a copy of the report to each city this week. In addition, the League's Budget Workshops, currently being held around the state, features in depth coverage of city budget issues.
  • Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities Seeking City Partners 

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    The University of Iowa’s Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC) is accepting Requests for Proposal for community partners to complete projects that promote and enhance the quality of life in Iowa communities. The IISC is a campus-wide engaged learning program that partners with communities and groups across Iowa to develop projects that university students and faculty can complete through their academic and research activities.

    The program offers assistance in a variety of ways and is designed to help communities advance economic, social and environmental sustainability. Additional information about the program and the Request for Proposal is available on the IISC Web site. Proposals are due February 1, 2016.

  • Get to know your legislators 

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    The 2016 Legislative Session starts on January 11 – less than two months away! You play a crucial role in the League’s advocacy efforts, helping inform legislators on important city issues. Often, the most effective communication can come from the mayors, council members and other city officials from a legislator’s own district. By establishing and maintaining a relationship with your local legislators you enhance the Leagues ability to affect change and advocate on behalf of its member cities. So take some time to meet with your legislator now, before the session begins.

    Save the Date – Legislative Day!
    Legislative Day will be held on March 1, 2016. Beginning at 1 p.m. in the Iowa State Capitol you will have the opportunity to meet with legislators, watch floor debate, and sit-in on committee meetings. Contact League staff early and we can help you coordinate meetings throughout the day. That evening, beginning at 4:30 p.m., we will host a Legislative Reception on the second floor of the Des Moines City Hall which will be catered by Noodle Zoo. Come join us at this beautiful venue for a chance to informally socialize with legislators and other city officials. All legislators will receive an invitation, but be sure to personally reach out to your legislators and let them know you will be attending. Learn more

  • IDALS Urban Water Quality Demonstration Projects 

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is requesting pre-applications for projects focused on improving water quality in urban areas. The maximum three-page application is due by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, December 11. Previous successful awardees have developed practices inside city limits and supported larger water quality projects in their watersheds. Learn more

  • Conference Workshop Idea? 

    Monday, November 09, 2015

    We want to hear your ideas for workshop topics for the Annual Conference and Exhibit that will take place September 14-16, 2016, in Des Moines.

    Presenters who want to share knowledge and expertise with local government decision-makers are invited to submit a workshop proposal. Proposals will be evaluated based on how the topic addresses the needs of Iowa elected and appointed city officials and are due by Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.

    Questions? Contact League Membership Services at or (515) 244-7282.

  • 2015 Budget Workshops Continue 

    Monday, November 09, 2015

    The 2015 Budget Workshops continue this week with events in Coralville on Tuesday and Waterloo on Thursday as we provide information and guidance on important budget matters, including fiscal trends and projections that impact city budgets as well as instructions for completing the state budget form.

    All workshops are 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and cost $40 for members and $70 for non-members. Please visit our 2015 Budget Workshops page for additional information, including an agenda for each event and descriptions of the different presentations.

  • Cities Invited to Apply for River Town of the Year Award 

    Friday, November 06, 2015

    ​Cities are encouraged to apply for the Iowa Rivers Revival River Town of the Year Award, which recognizes an Iowa community 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 December 15 and the award will be made in early 2016 at a reception hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival in the winning community.

  • Reminder: TIF Certification & Annual Urban Renewal Report Due December 1 

    Friday, November 06, 2015

    ​Cities with active urban renewal areas are reminded to complete and file the Annual Urban Renewal Report (AURR) by December 1. Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Indebtedness Certification forms must also be turned in by December 1. The AURR must be filed with the Iowa Department of Management (IDOM) while TIF Certification forms must be sent to the county auditor.

    The AURR requires cities to report data for each urban renewal area in the city. This includes information on each project or activity in the area, urban renewal related bonds or loans and associated interest expenses, maps of the area, amendments and more. Documents must be uploaded in PDF format using the IDOM Web site. In addition, the report must be approved by the city council prior to submittal. There are no publication requirements for the AURR like there are for the Annual Financial Report. Cities that fail to submit the report by the December 1 deadline will be included in a report to the legislature for non-compliance, and IDOM will withhold certification of tax levies. More information and instructional webinars recorded by the League and IDOM are available.

    TIF Indebtedness Certification forms report the amount of any loans, advances, indebtedness or bonds that qualify for payment from TIF revenue from a TIF district. This report is due to the county auditor by December 1, whenever the council has made changes to the TIF activity within the community. Forms can be accessed from the IDOM Web site. Preparing the report requires coordination with the county auditor to obtain the county's assigned numbers for each obligation, which are then used on the report. Check out our page on TIF Filings and Reports for additional information.

  • Cityscape ePub 

    Sunday, November 01, 2015

    The League's electronic Cityscape ePub magazine for the November 2015 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 to change your preference.

  • 2016 City Calendar Available Online 

    Friday, October 30, 2015

    The 2016 City Calendar is now available online. The calendar is a great resource to keep track of important dates and deadlines for reports and filings. A number of conferences and trainings are also listed to help cities plan future schedules. The annual calendar is one of several items we provide on our City Clerk Resources page to assist clerks in their role at the city.
  • IPERS Contribution Rates 

    Monday, October 26, 2015

    The Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System (IPERS) announced contribution rates for Fiscal Year 2017. 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 2017 at 16.40 percent (6.56 percent Member Share and 9.84 percent Employer Share).  ​