In The News

  • ReConnect Loan and Grant Program Extends Deadline 

    Tuesday, March 31, 2020

    The Broadband ReConnect Program furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. The application window for the second round of funding is now open, and applications are being accepted until April 15​.
     
  • 2020 Nuisance Abatement Conference Postponed 

    Monday, March 30, 2020

    The 2020 Nuisance Abatement Conference, originally scheduled for May 13 in Denison, has been postponed due to concerns with COVID-19 and orders for social distancing. The League will assess the viability of holding the conference later this year and make an announcement as soon as possible.​​​​
     
  • Grants Training, May 18-19 

    Monday, March 30, 2020

    ​Des Moines Regional Police Academy and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grants training, May 18-19, 2020. This class is applicable to grant seekers across all disciplines. Attend and you'll learn how to find grants and write winning grant proposals.

    With your paid registration to this in-person class, you'll also get instant, free access to our newly created, online grant writing short course.  It's packed full of information you can use right now and like all our trainings, is presented in a way we know you'll enjoy. You can take the course at your own pace, whenever and wherever you like.

    Click here for full event details.

    Beginning and experienced grant writers from city, county, and state agencies as well as nonprofits, K-12, colleges and universities are encouraged to attend.

    Tuition is normally $455 but early registration discounts are available now through April 30, 2020. Seating is limited, online reservations are necessary.

    Register early by yourself and you'll receive an instant $50 off your tuition. Register early as part of a group of 5 or more and you'll each receive an additional $50 discount.  That means everyone in your group of 5 or more gets $100 off their tuition!  Payment is not required at the time of enrollment.

    Plus, you'll get free, online access to our grant writing short course.

     
     
  • Small Business Administration Issued Disaster Declaration for Iowa 

    Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a disaster declaration for the state of Iowa as of March 21. The declaration allows pandemic-impacted small businesses to apply for low-interest support loans. The declaration comes after Governor Kim Reynolds submitted a federal funding request via the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

    Applications are available through the SBA’s website: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

     
  • IEDA Rural Innovation Program Announces Grant Opportunities 

    Tuesday, March 24, 2020

    ​The Center for Rural Revitalization at the Iowa Economic Development Authority recently announced two programs that offer funding to support development in rural communities. Below is more information about each opportunity:

    • Rural Innovation Grant Program
      Provides up to $300,000 in grants supporting creative, non-traditional ideas that focus on current issues and challenges faced by rural communities associated with the themes of community investment, growth and connection
    • Rural Housing Assessment Grant Program
      Provides up to $100,000 to support the use of publicly available online information through the “Profile of Iowa” tool and rural community efforts to interpret this hard data with supplemental information, as well as to implement through changes to development codes, local ordinances and housing incentives specific to their community needs in partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

    Each grant has an application deadline of May 1. More information about the programs can be found on the Center for Rural Revitalization website. ​​​​

     
  • MLA Part Three to be Offered Online 

    Monday, March 23, 2020

    Due to concerns with COVID-19, Part 3 of the Municipal Leadership Academy will be held through online training rather than the initial scheduled in-person workshops. The League has contacted all registrants via email about this change, and we will follow up with more information once the online training platform is determined. MLA Part 3 will feature important training on economic development, community betterment and strategic planning.

    MLA provides guidance on the fundamentals of city government and is designed primarily for elected officials. It is one of the best ways to get an 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 was held in November and December, featuring seven workshops around the state. Held right after the city elections, these sessions were designed to provide education on the fundamentals of municipal government: Budget and Finance, Effective City Councils and Municipal Operations.

    MLA Part Two features online training videos 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 will now be done online with training provided in April. Part Three topics are Economic Development, Community Betterment and Acting Strategically. Registration is $80.

    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, as well as online registration, is available on the 2019-2020 MLA website. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • League Office Remote Work Schedule 

    Tuesday, March 17, 2020

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the League is now in distributed operations mode. We will follow guidance from the federal and state agencies and adjust our operations as needed. 

    Regardless of where League staff is working, rest assured that we will be available to assist with any inquiries you may have. We want you to know that we are here to help while we all manage operations during the response to COVID-19. Please directly contact our staff as you have in the past or use mailbox@iowaleague.org. We will do our best to be responsive and minimize service interruptions.

    As local leaders and service providers, city officials will be on the front lines of response to this situation. The League is here to support you and your community, now and in the future. 

    We wish you, and your citizens, good health.

    We will also provide updates on the coronavirus on our resource page, https://www.iowaleague.org/Pages/CoronavirusResources.aspx.​​​​

     
  • Governor Reynolds Issued State of Public Health Disaster Emergency 

    Tuesday, March 17, 2020

    Governor Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency activating the public health response and recovery aspects of the State Disaster Emergency Plan effective at 12 p.m., March 17. 

    Press Release​ on State of Public Health Disaster Emergency.

     
  • Department of Management Extended Budget Deadline 

    Tuesday, March 17, 2020

    The Department of Management has sought and been approved to extend the budget deadline until April 30. Once this order changing the budget due date has been officially signed, the Department of Management will email cities. If your city is struggling to submit a completed budget, please email Ted Nelleson directly.

    Budget Extension Letter​

     
  • Guidance for Holding Electronic Meetings 

    Monday, March 16, 2020

    In light of recent federal and state agency warnings related to COVID-19, cities may feel the need to conduct city council and board/commission meetings electronically. This is permitted under Section 21.8 of the state code, and a recent press release from the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) offers guidance on how to comply with the law.

    In most cases in the past, the use of Section 21.8 was to allow a single council member to join a meeting electronically from a remote location (typically via conference call). However, the state code does permit an electronic meeting where all members participate remotely when an in-person meeting is "impossible or impractical." In either case, the city must ensure there is public access to the meeting, and the notice requirements still apply (at least 24 hours before the meeting, a notice and agenda must be posted). Minutes of the meeting must also be taken and include a statement detailing why an in-person meeting could not be used. If a conference call or video conference is to be used, providing call-in details or a link to the online meeting to the public can help provide reasonable access.

    For cities doing electronic meetings, here are a few ideas to help ensure they are successful:

    • Research and choose a platform that suits the city's needs. There are numerous conference call and web conferencing options, including Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx and more.
    • Assign a city official to manage the meeting software.
    • Test the meeting software prior to the meeting.
    • List the electronic meeting details on meeting agenda/notice to the public include call-in and web conference details, provide instructions to the public on how they can join the meeting.
    • At the beginning of the meeting, the mayor announces how the public can participate (if applicable), procedures for making comments and have all speakers identify themselves before speaking.
    • The meeting manager should be prepared to mute/unmute remote speakers as necessary throughout the meeting to minimize interruptions.
    • Use roll call voting to ensure each council member vote is easily understood.
    • If possible, record the meeting so it can be shared with the public, this does not replace the requirement to complete minutes of the meeting.

    Related to this is the possibility of needing to hold a meeting without providing 24 hours' notice for emergency purposes. This is permitted under Section 21.4 of the state code, which says if 24 hours' notice is impossible, the city shall provide as much notice as possible. Also, the city must explain in the minutes the reason for holding the meeting without providing 24 hours' notice. ​​​​​​

     
  • Legislative Session Suspended for at least 30 days 

    Sunday, March 15, 2020

    Due to COVID-19, the Iowa Legislative Session has been suspended for a minimum of 30 days. The following joint press release from the Iowa House and Senate issued on March 15 outlines what actions are being taken. 

    The League has aggregated these COVID-19 response resources and information and will continue to update this page as well as communicate directly with our membership as changes occur. 

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Sunday, March 15, 2020
    CONTACT: Colin Tadlock, (515) 661-1948
    House and Senate to Suspend Legislative Session
     
    (DES MOINES) -- This afternoon the House and Senate announced the legislative session will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days following the announcement of community spread of COVID-19 in Iowa. The decision was made in consultation with the Department of Public Health and Governor’s Office based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control related to mass gatherings to protect vulnerable populations.
     
    The House and Senate will convene on Monday at regular scheduled time to consider resolutions regarding continuity of government to ensure delivery of essential services to Iowans. Previously scheduled subcommittee and committee meetings have been cancelled. Standing committees will be on-call as needed.
     
    The Capitol building will open on Monday at 11:00 am, with entrances open on the south and west sides. Prior to entering the Capitol, staff members and the public will be required to undergo a health screening administered by the Department of Public Health (this includes filling out a health questionnaire and temperature reading). All scheduled events, tours, and receptions at the Capitol are cancelled until further notice.
     
    Members of the public over the age of 60 or with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease) are encouraged to avoid the Capitol.
     
    More information will be shared when it becomes available.
     
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  • National Service Recognition Day is April 7 

    Monday, March 09, 2020

    ​The National Service Recognition Day will be held April 7, offering a chance for local leaders to honor AmeriCorps, SeniorCorps and all volunteers for their contributions to the community. Cities and other local governments across the country are using national service more and more to solve their community's toughest challenges and make them better places to live.

    Thousands of elected officials and governmental entities each year recognize the importance of volunteers. On April 7, they plan to show their appreciation for AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers. The initiative is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the National League of Cities, and the National Association of Counties. Additional information and resources for engaging citizens can be found on the National Service Recognition Day.
    ​​​​
     
  • Alert from the State Auditor's Office on Payroll Scams 

    Monday, March 09, 2020

    This alert is the result of notifications the Office of Auditor of State has received in accordance with section 11.6(7) of the Code of Iowa. Unknown parties are attempting to fraudulently misdirect local governmental entities in Iowa into sending electronic payroll disbursements by posing as employees. These attempts are similar in nature to attempts described in an alert Auditor Sand issued in January 2020, which described fake emails appearing to be from real vendors that requested changes to bank routing information used to pay the real vendors. Specifically, the Auditor has been notified by representatives of several entities they have received emails which appear to be from employees who wish to change the financial institution to which their payroll is electronically deposited. However, the emails are not authentic. The emails ask what information is needed to make the requested change. Typically, the governmental entity requires a form to be completed, which has been electronically provided in response to the inquiry. However, once the form has been completed and electronically returned by the purported employee, the governmental entity has not vetted its authenticity. The revised bank routing information, if used for future electronic payments, results in payroll payments being misrouted and the authentic employee not being paid.​ ​  

    ​Press Release ​on payroll scam.
    ​​
     
  • Iowa Rural Summit to be Held April 29 - May 1 

    Monday, March 09, 2020

    ​The Annual Iowa Rural Summit will be held April 29-May 1 at the Hotel Kirkwood in Cedar Rapids. Hosted by the Iowa Rural Development Council, the Summit offers three days of training, networking and capacity-building. Over 300 individuals and 70 communities participate in the Summit to learn from one another and build an understanding of the tools that can be used to improve rural development.

    A wide variety of topics and speakers are included each year that focus on community development, rural health care, connecting ag and community, workforce solutions, visioning efforts and much more. Sessions also highlight case studies from around the state that led to successful development activities.

    Additional information can be found on the Summit website. ​​​

     
  • Iowa Municipal Professional Institute Registration is Open 

    Monday, February 24, 2020

    Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute registration is now open. Visit the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach website​ to find information on registration and information about scholarships through IMFOA and ISU to assist with the cost of the Institute. Applications for scholarships are due by April 1, 2020.  If you have any questions, contact Sara Shonrock at sshonroc@iastate.edu or 515-294-1844​.​​