In The News

  • 2021 Nuisance Abatement Conference 

    Monday, April 12, 2021

    ​Join us for the 2021 Nuisance Abatement Conference, which will be held on May 12 in Denison. The day-long conference features various sessions aimed to provide assistance on nuisance property issues and ways cities can improve neighborhoods. Sessions will include guidance on the acquisition of abandoned properties, effectively identifying nuisance violations, how to improve derelict properties and more.

    Registration for the conference is $75, which includes lunch. Learn more​.​
     
  • IDOT Releases COVID-19 Funding Info 

    Monday, April 12, 2021

    ​The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) recently announced funding allocations for the state, county governments and city governments stemming from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which included $121.9 million of federal highway COVID-19 relief for Iowa. The Iowa Transportation Commission approved a plan to meet the congressional intent of backfilling lost state transportation revenues by allocating the funding using Iowa's existing Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF) formulas.

    Allocations to cities can be viewed by downloading an Excel sheet from the Iowa DOT. Cities and will receive these funds as part of the regular April RUTF payments. These funds have the same restrictions and flexibilities as other RUTF monies.

     
  • Healthiest State to Host Virtual Annual Conference April 29 

    Monday, April 12, 2021

    ​The Healthiest State Initiative will hold its annual conference in a virtual format on April 29. The full-day conference offers a variety of training on workplace and community wellness, including improving office well-being, how to influence community health, redefining employee wellness in uncertain times, preparing millennials to take the lead and more.

    Individuals from local government, nonprofits and the private sector are all welcome to attend the conference, which seeks to further the mission of the Initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.

     
  • ABD Announces ELAPS Training 

    Monday, April 12, 2021

    The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division will hold an eLAPS Demonstration and a Question and Answer session on Thursday, April 15, from 1-3 p.m.
    All local authorities are invited to participate.

    Event Details
    The virtual demonstration will take place via GoToMeeting on Thursday, April 15, from 1- 3 p.m.

    No pre-registration is required. Visit https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/650824509 to join on Thursday.

     
    What will I see in the eLAPS Demonstration?
    - How to search and filter application and license records

    - How to review and approve applications​

    - How to submit revision requests to Applicants
    - How to print applications

    Resources for Local Authorities
    eLAPS resources are available for your reference on the Iowa ABD eLAPS website.

      *   Quick Reference Guides: Resource to reference for common questions that contain short steps and eLAPS screenshots
      *   MicroVideos: Short videos that demonstrate the steps to complete key processes in eLAPS

    Support
    In addition to the resources listed above, the Iowa ABD also has telephone support available for licensing inquiries. The Help Desk is available for technical issues such as login support, etc.

    Licensing Inquiries
    Phone: (515) 281-7400
    Monday through Friday
    8 -4:30 p.m. CDT/CST

    Technical Support/Help Desk
    Phone: (877) 729-0663
    Monday through Friday
    8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CDT/CST
    Direct questions on the event to elaps@iowaabd.com​​​

     
  • Earmark and FAST Funding 

    Friday, April 09, 2021


    The U.S. House Appropriations Committee announced the return of the earmark process to allow for Congress members to request Community Project Funding in appropriations bills for the fiscal year 2022.

    Earmarks are congressionally directed spending that will allow cities to work directly with their Congress member on local projects that could benefit from federal support. Only state, local and tribal governments, publicly owned entities, and certain nonprofit entities with a quasi-government purpose are eligible to request Community Project Funding; for-profits are not eligible. The process allows Congress members to submit up to 10 qualified Community Project Funding requests. 

    The Transportation Committee has also announced a process for Congress members to submit highway and transit transportation requests as part of the process for the FAST Act federal transportation reauthorization. 

    City officials are encouraged to connect with their district’s congressional staff to determine their Congress member’s process and the timeline for receiving project requests. Most offices will receive requests up until mid-April.

    National League of Cities earmark process and additional city resources

    Iowa’s congressional delegation​

    ​​​​​
     
  • Renter and Homeowner Assistance Now Available 

    Thursday, April 08, 2021

    The Iowa Finance Authority is offering assistance for COVID-19 impacted renters and homeowners through two new programs, the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program and the Iowa Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention Program. Details and applications for both programs are available at IowaHousingRecovery.com.

    Assistance for Renters
    The Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program provides eligible renters with rent and/or utility assistance for a total of up to 12 months.

    General eligibility requirements:

    • Be a current renter earning no more than 80% of their county’s area median income.
    • One or more individuals in the household must have either qualified for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
    • Can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include a past due utility or rent notice or eviction notice.

    Polk County and the City of Des Moines are administering the program locally.
    Iowan renters residing in either Polk County or the City of Des Moines will be ineligible to apply for the Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program due to federal funding limitations. More information on the program that may assist Polk County and City of Des Moines residents is available at impactcap.org.

    Assistance for Homeowners
    The Iowa Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention Program provides eligible COVID-19 impacted homeowners at imminent risk of foreclosure with mortgage assistance for up to four months, with a maximum assistance per household of $3,600. The short-term program will be available until funds are exhausted, or a new federal program is launched.

    ​​
     
  • SF 587 - City Backfill Phase-Out, Elderly Tax Credit, Mental Health Funding 

    Thursday, April 08, 2021

    SF 587 | Backfill Phase-Out, Elderly Property Tax Credit, Mental Health Funding 

    In 2013, the Iowa Legislature passed changes to the property tax system in Iowa, including a few components that reduce city property tax revenues. At the same time, they appropriated a "backfill" to help offset portions of these revenue reductions going forward and froze these amounts in the fiscal year 2017.

    SF 587 proposes to phase out the commercial and industrial property tax backfill for every city over either 4 or 6 years, depending on that city's valuation growth. Cities whose total taxable value (not counting gas and electric utilities) in FY21 was more than 31.14% higher than its FY14 value will receive the 4-year phase-out, while cities that have seen less growth receive the 6-year phase-out. You can download the spreadsheet to see if your city gets the 4-or 6-year plan. Note that there are two tabs in the downloadable spreadsheet​. For additional analysis or detail, contact research@iowaleague.org.

    This bill also creates a new elderly tax credit/property tax freeze for individuals who reach 70 years of age and earn less than 250% of the federal poverty level. The way the bill is currently drafted, cities' property tax revenues would be reduced by the amount of additional tax credit that would be required, above the amount that the state would otherwise fund for the traditional elderly tax credit. New applicants of the new elderly tax credit would be fully paid through city property tax reductions. Cities are encouraged to contact their legislators about impacts on their community.

    ​Additional resource: 
     

    Legislative Service Agency: Financial impacts to cities 

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, April 05, 2021

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine for the April 2021​​​​​​​​ ​​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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • EPA Announces Grant Program to Help Manage Stormwater 

    Monday, April 05, 2021

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $67 million in grant funding through the new Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grant program. This funding will support public health and environmental protections by helping states and cities improve stormwater management to address sewer overflows and reduce pollution flowing into local waterways. For more information about the grant and how to apply visit the EPA's website​.​​

     
  • MPA Registration is Now Open! 

    Monday, April 05, 2021

    Registration for the 2021 Municipal Professionals ACADEMY is now open.  The Academy will be held in person July 28-30 at the Gateway Hotel & Conference Center in Ames. Visit the academy's website​ for the brochure, registration links, and more information. ​​

     
  • National League of Cities American Rescue Plan Survey 

    Monday, March 29, 2021

    The passage of the historic American Rescue Plan means over $65 Billion will be delivered directly to cities, towns and villages. To gauge how conditions, from the economy and infrastructure to housing and education, have changed this past year and how new funding will be used to address these challenges, the National League of Cities (NLC) is conducting a short survey and invites you to participate. 

    The results will be part of NLC’s research efforts to showcase local leadership during the pandemic. They will also shape the type of strategies and programs NLC is developing to help communities leverage newly available funds. Make your voice count! Please respond no later than Tuesday, March 30. Complete the Survey​

     
  • EPA Seeks Nominations for Local Government Advisory Committee 

    Monday, March 22, 2021

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking nominations to serve on its Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC), which advises the EPA on critical environmental issues impacting local governments. The agency is also accepting nominations for LGAC’s Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee (SCAS). ​​​​

     
  • Episode 27 of The Square! 

    Monday, March 22, 2021

    A community's road infrastructure is critical to daily life and in this month's episode​, we are joined by Travis Goedken, Humboldt City Administrator, who talks about what it's like to manage a city's street system. Travis details the importance of planning and prioritizing needs, the different types of streets that the city maintains and the process to complete road projects. 
    We are also joined by Derek Johnson of ISG, one of the League's Community Alliance Partners that provides engineering services to cities across Iowa and the midwest. Derek gives a look at what it's like from an engineering perspective to get public infrastructure projects done and also shares some of his background, which included serving as a city engineer. 
    Send in your comments and questions to thesquare@iowaleague.org, enjoy the episode! 
    ​​​
     
  • Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute Registration Open 

    Monday, March 15, 2021

    Registration for the 2021 summer session for the Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute is now open. The summer session will be held in-person in Ames at the Gateway Center July 19-22, 2021. Scholarship applications are also still being accepted for help with the cost of the Institute. Visit their website​ for more information, class descriptions and registration link.​​
     
  • Iowa DNR Offers Free Tree Seedlings for Communities 

    Monday, March 08, 2021

    ​The urban forestry division at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is offering free tree seedlings from the State Forest Nursery to communities. The nursery has about 40 different tree species available that can be picked up onsite in Ames or shipped free. The trees can be planted anywhere there is space and a suitable site within city limits.

    Interested communities are asked to complete the Spring 2021 Seedling Giveaway application, available on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website. ​​​
    ​​