In The News

  • Cities in the News 

    Tuesday, November 12, 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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • 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.​

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  • Western Iowa advantage housing summit 

    Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    The Western Iowa Advantage Housing Summit will be at the Carrollton Inn in Carroll on Wednesday, November 13. Topics for the day will be around addressing the housing needs of rural Iowa. Register here​.
     
  • League Kicks Off City Update Drive 

    Tuesday, November 12, 2019

    ​Calling all city clerks! On November 12, the League began emailing all city clerks to begin the City Update Drive. Following each municipal election, the League asks every city to update the city's information. This information is critical to the League's mission to serve as the unified voice of cities, providing advocacy, training and guidance to strengthen Iowa’s communities.

    This year, we began emailing city clerks with an Existing Data Report for their city as a PDF. The email also contained a link to the online form where cities can submit changes. We're slowly emailing each city to avoid your spam filters, but please keep an eye out there as well. If you don't have your report by Thursday 8 a.m. or just need another one sent, email Directory@iowaleague.org.

    The deadline for your updates is November 30, so don't delay!

     

     

     

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  • Budget Workshops Set to Begin 

    Monday, November 11, 2019

    The 2019 Budget Workshops begin this week! The annual workshops series features information on the latest fiscal trends important to cities along with guidance on completing the city budget. Workshops will be held at six locations around the state in November and December (see list below).

    The training is primarily designed for city administrators, city clerks and finance officers, but all city officials are welcome to attend. The annual workshops series features information on the latest fiscal trends important to cities along with guidance on completing the city budget.

    Dates and Locations
    November 12 | Fort Dodge​​
    Triton Room, Iowa Central East Campus
    2031 Quail Avenue, Fort Dodge, IA 50501

    November 14 | Spencer
    Clay County Regional Events Center
    800 W 18th St, Spencer, IA 51301

    November 19 | Harlan
    The Therkildsen Center
    706 Victoria St, Harlan, IA 51537

    November 21 | Iowa City
    Hilton Garden Inn
    328 S Clinton St, Iowa City, IA 52240

    December 3 | Cedar Falls
    Holiday Inn & Convention Center
    7400 Hudson Rd, Cedar Falls, IA 50613

    December 5 | Johnston
    Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center
    5291 Stoney Creek Ct, Johnston, IA 50131

    Each workshop costs $50, which includes lunch. Check the 2019 Budget Workshops page for additional information and online registration.
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  • Municipal Leadership Academy Offers the Perfect Training for New Mayors and Council Members 

    Monday, November 11, 2019

    After the recent city elections, many communities will welcome new mayors and council members to office. To help those new to office get a better understanding of city government, and to help provide a refresher to veteran officials, the League offers the Municipal Leadership Academy.

    MLA is one of the best ways to get training on the basics of municipal government, offering 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. ​​​​​​​​

     
  • Resources for Newly Elected Officials 

    Monday, November 11, 2019

    ​With the recent city elections, many communities around the state will be welcoming newly elected officials to their city council. We thank all who ran for city office and look forward to working with all of our mayor and city council members! To help those newly elected to office get started (and to help those that work with our elected officials), we have compiled a handful of resources from our website:

    Council Meeting Procedures
    Council Teamwork and Effectiveness
    Effective Elected Officials
    Newly Elected Officials
    Oath of Office and Public Official Bonding
    Open Meetings

    There are numerous other pages in our Member Resources section and Publications area that may be of help. Also, our Municipal Leadership Academy gets started very soon and offers an excellent training opportunity for all city officials and especially those new to city office.​​​​

     
  • Property Tax Assessment in Iowa 

    Monday, November 11, 2019

    The property tax assessment process in Iowa is a complex state regulated system, prescribed in Iowa Code. Cities do not control this process. In fact, assessments are a completely separate process completed by assessors with the goal of establishing equitable, fair market value. As such, assessments are separate from local revenue needs. Property tax rates are determined after cities determine revenue needs for providing local services. Property Tax Assessment in Iowa Taxable value is the portion of the assessed value on which a tax is applied, after equalization, rollbacks, and tax rates are determined, and credits and the results of any appeals are applied. Arriving at a taxable value for a given property taxes several steps, and joint efforts by the local assessors, county auditors, and the State.​ ​
     
  • International Institute for Municipal Clerks scholarships available 

    Tuesday, November 05, 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​.​​​​​

     
  • National League of Cities selected six cities to address root causes of poor health 

    Tuesday, November 05, 2019

    To address the root causes of poor health in American Cities, National League of Cities is pleased to announce our 2019 cohort in the new Cities of Opportunity: Healthy People, Thriving Communities Initiative. This effort builds on the success and experiences of the Cities of Opportunity pilot, made possible with generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In the coming year, six city teams will build holistic, sustainable and equitable solutions to advance policy and systems changes that address underlying factors that affect their residents’ health and their cities’ wellbeing.

    The six participating cities selected through a competitive application process are Dubuque, Iowa; Duluth Minnesota; Evanston, Illinois; Las Vegas, Nevada; Napa, California; and South Fulton, Georgia.

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  • Iowa LTAP work zone sign package program 

    Tuesday, November 05, 2019

    Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program​ has a work zone sign package program. The goal of the program, when funded, is to provide an avenue for smaller cities, less than 10,000 population, to be able to obtain a basic work zone sign package that is in compliance with the 2009 MUTCD and to make their work zones safer for operations personnel and motorist. It is currently proposed that the materials to be included in the package will be the following:

    • One Lane Road Ahead Signs

    • Road Work Ahead Signs

    • Be Prepared to Stop Signs

    • Type III Barricades

    • 28” Traffic Cones

    • Class 2 Safety Vests

    • Sign Stands

    • 42 inch Channelizers

    Each of these will be of the correct type and size for lower speed city street work.  All of the devices will include high intensity retro-reflective sheeting suitable for nighttime use. It is expected that approximately 10 cities will be chosen to receive a work zone sign package based on the content of the application submitted by the city and reviewed by the advisory committee. Application deadline is Friday, November 29, 2019.

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  • SRF Sponsored Project Workshop to be Held Soon 

    Monday, October 28, 2019

    ​​The State Revolving Fund (SRF) will hold a Sponsored Project Workshop on November 20 at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny. The workshop will provide information about the Sponsored Project program and how cities can apply for funding. Discussion will also include the steps involved in assessing watersheds to define water quality issues and the selection of best management practices to address specific issues.

    The workshop is designed for entities, such as city utility systems, that are considering applying for an SRF Sponsored Project or those that have been approved for a project. Additional information can be seen on the SRF website.​​

     
  • National League of Cities report on cybersecurity 

    Monday, October 28, 2019

    Data is increasingly at the core of fundamental city services: The pressure on cities to become "smarter" is mounting, but technology-driven governance is not without risk. In the National League of Cities (NLC) newest report, NLC explores the ways in which cities are vulnerable to cyberattacks - and how local governments can improve cybersecurity practices. The report on cybersecurity can be found here, What Cities Should Know About Cybersecurity​.
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  • Diesel emission reduction funding opportunities workshop 

    Monday, October 28, 2019

    Join EPA Regions 5 and 7, Iowa DOT, and other experts to learn about grants to reduce diesel emissions from vehicles and inland ports. Hear grant administrators and grantees share insights about applying for grants, implementing them, and realizing a host of benefits. The workshop is November 19, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., at the Davenport Holiday Inn and Suites. Click here​ for more information.
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  • Suggestions for small city workshop facilities and locations 

    Monday, October 28, 2019

    We are gathering suggestions for facilities and locations to hold future small city workshops and would like to hear from our members. The theme for next year's small city workshop is human resources for small cities.  We need a facility that can hold at least fifty attendees. We like to work with local caters for our events, please provide suggestions for caters as well. Please email mbrsvcs@iowaleague.org and let us know what type of facility your city offers, and we will consider it.  ​​​​​​