In The News

  • Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program 

    Monday, October 12, 2020

    Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) announced the launch of the new Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program. The program will provide eligible households with up to $2,000 towards electric, natural gas and water billif they are at risk of disconnection due to an inability to pay due to a COVID-19 related loss of income. Payments through the program will be made directly to utility providers and applied to the applicant’s account. Applications will be accepted between October 8 and November 20, 2020, or until funding is depleted, whichever comes first. Learn more about the program.​​​

     
  • USDA Seeks Applications for Community Connect Grants to Fund Broadband 

    Monday, October 12, 2020

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications to provide broadband service in unserved rural areas.
    USDA is making grants available under the Community Connect Grant program for Fiscal Year 2021. The program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide broadband service in rural, economically-challenged communities where broadband service does not exist. Grant recipients must provide broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to all premises in the proposed service area.Applications are due by December 23​.
     
  • Census & Differential Privacy 

    Friday, October 09, 2020

    Did you know the census intends to apply a new privacy methodology called differential privacy to its 2020 counts? The tradeoff is a significant increase in data inaccuracy, that may impact cities in a number of ways. One concern is that cities may not receive equitable funding distribution for those federal and state programs that use census counts distorted by differential privacy. Read more on the census and differential privacy​.​​​​​

    The Iowa League of Cities submitted a letter stating related concerns to the Census Bureau. 
     
  • IPRA To Host Fall Workshops 

    Thursday, October 08, 2020

    ​The Iowa Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) will host one more workshop in its Fall Virtual Workshops series. The final workshop, set for November 4, will offer sessions on sports field management, swimming pool technologies, the Iowa DNR Community Fishing Program, and more.

    Additional information and online registration can be found on the IPRA website. ​​​​​​

     
  • Iowa Great Places Accepting Applications 

    Thursday, October 08, 2020

    ​​The Iowa Great Places program, available through the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, is currently accepting applications for new communities to receive designation as well as current communities for re-designation. The program seeks to recognize communities with a strong vision for innovation and enhance vitality and quality of life while also supporting the development of infrastructure intended to cultivate the unique qualities of neighborhoods, communities and regions in Iowa.

    Applications for program designation are due November 2. Additional information can be found on the Iowa Great Places Web site.

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  • IDOM Releases Commercial & Industrial Backfill Payment Estimates 

    Thursday, October 08, 2020

    ​The​ Iowa Department of Management (IDOM) has released estimates for local government commercial and industrial property tax replacement, or backfill, payments for FY 2021​.​​ The analysis takes the estimated commercial and industrial backfill payments by tax district calculated by the Iowa Department of Revenue and breaks the payments down by tax levy to be reimbursed. Local governments can use this estimate to plan the amount of replacement that will go into each fund.​​
     
  • River Town of the Year Award Accepting Applications 

    Thursday, October 08, 2020

    The annual River Town of the Year award recognizes an Iowa town or city for outstanding efforts to reclaim river-fronts as anchors for economic development, recreation, and good ecological practices.  Cities are invited to apply for the award, or citizens may nominate their town.

    The River Town of the Year award highlights a city’s outstanding work to enhance connections to its river. Activities could include: dam-safety efforts, river-oriented tourism efforts, river clean-up projects, Water Trail designation projects, innovative storm water and river protection projects, walking trails along the river, education and advocacy by local river or watershed groups, and efforts for river use and appreciation (restaurants, bed & breakfasts, bait shops, boat rentals).

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Tuesday, October 06, 2020

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine for the October 2020​​​​​ ​​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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month 

    Tuesday, October 06, 2020

    Oc​tober is designated Cybersecurity Awareness Month and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has selected the theme "Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart." On the NCSA site, cities will find resources to help promote cybersecurity awareness in both their organization and their community. Each week of the month, NCSA focuses on an aspect of cybersecurity.
    • Week of October 5 (Week 1): If You Connect It, Protect It
    • Week of October 12 (Week 2): Securing Devices at Home and Work
    • Week of October 19 (Week 3): Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare
    • Week of October 26 (Week 4): The Future of Connected Devices​
    The Secretary of State's (SOS) office kicked off a special weekly cybersecurity newsletter series for October that features NCSA's tip sheet on staying safe at work in its first issue. This is just one of NCSA's National Cybersecurity Awareness publications. This effort goes hand-in-hand with the October 1 announcement ​that the SOS is partnering with Bugcrowd, a crowdsource cybersecurity platform, to proactively test the state's election system for vulnerabilities ahead of next month's elections.
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  • 2020 Budget Workshops to be Offered Online 

    Monday, October 05, 2020

    ​The 2020 Budget Workshops will be offered online this November to help cities get prepared for its annual budget process. The workshops are typically held in six locations around the state, but continued concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic forced the use of a virtual workshop format. Registration will cost $25, half of the normal amount.

    The Budget Workshops are designed to provide information to help cities develop their annual budget. Presentations will include an overview of financial projections and estimates important to city budgets, an update from the Iowa Department of Management, a session covering the basics of using the City Budget Form and another session discussing the impact of COVID-19 on city finances.

    The virtual workshops will be held the following days and times:

    • Tuesday, November 10, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Thursday, November 12, 3 – 8 p.m.
    • Tuesday, November 17, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
    • Thursday, November 19, 3 – 8 p.m.

    More information and online registration can be found on the 2020 Budget Workshops page. ​​​

     
  • City Officials Invited to Iowa Leadership Exchange 

    Friday, October 02, 2020

    The first-ever Iowa Leadership Exchange 2020 will be held virtually October 21-22. The Leadership Exchange is designed for existing rural leadership program directors to share best practices to renew and improve existing programs.

    The free two-day event will feature strategies for elevating local leadership, steps for increased diversity and inclusion and “Best Practice Labs.” The Leadership Exchange is supported by the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force to help existing programs grow and assist a statewide network of program leaders. 

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  • REAP Conservation Education Program Funding Applications Due November 1 

    Friday, October 02, 2020

    The Iowa DNR's Resource and Enhancement Protection (REAP) program is accepting grant applications for the Conservation Education Program. Approximately $350,000 in grants is available annually for environmental education projects. There is no limit on grant amounts for standard applications, although the average award over the last two years was $26,000. There are also mini-grants available with a maximum award of $3,500.

    Grant applications are accepted twice per year and the next deadline is November 2. Additional information about the program is available on the Conservation Education Program website.​​​

     
  • The League is Partnering with the National League of Cities on the Cities Are Essential Campaign 

    Tuesday, September 29, 2020

    Iowa League of Cities has partnered with the National League of Cities in advocating for direct funding for cities in Iowa. Our joint campaign, Cities Are Essential, is underway. These funds will provide much-needed stability as cities deal with unplanned expenditures and revenue losses due to the pandemic. Your voice is vital to this effort. The League needs your stories on the impact of COVID-19 on your city. By providing your local stories, we can help to tell the national story. 


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  • The Square Interviews Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart 

    Monday, September 28, 2020

    Summer has ended, school has started and The Square is back with a new episode! We talk with Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, who was recently elected as President of the League. Mayor Hart shares what led him to serve on the city council and as mayor, the unique position of being a full-time mayor (a rarity in Iowa) and some of the fun and challenges that come with the job. We also talk about Mayor Hart's plans for his League presidency and finding ways to enhance services and programs.

    We then chat with Kathryn Kunert of MidAmerican Energy and Joel Schmidt of Alliant Energy about the work each company did to restore power after the derecho storm that swept through the state in August. Kathryn and Joel talked about the importance of having strong partnerships with cities and how critical that is to storm recovery. The League thanks each of these partners for their incredible work in our communities to get power back to residents and businesses following such an unprecedented storm.

    We hope our listeners and communities are doing well. Please contact thesquare@iowaleague.org with any questions or comments! 

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  • League Members can Subscribe to GrantFinder 

    Monday, September 28, 2020

    ​​All cities are eligible to subscribe to GrantFinder, a program offered through the Iowa League of Cities' partnership with Lexipol. Through this partnership, the League is able to offer our members an annual subscription to GrantFinder, the largest searchable database of private, state and federal grants available to municipalities and local nonprofits. GrantFinder provides an excellent grant search function, a tracking system for grant application deadlines, a personalized grant calendar with programmed alerts and more.

    A subscription costs only $50 per year and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis until all subscriptions are purchased. The League has about 20 spots available. If you are interested in receiving access, please contact the League at Mailbox@iowaleague.org or (515) 244-7282. Cities can also fill out the GrantFinder Order Form and mail it along with payment to the League to gain access.​​​​​