In The News

  • Cityscape ePub 

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015

    The League's electronic Cityscape ePub magazine for the September 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 www.iowaleague.org to change your preference.

     
  • People’s All-Star Community Award 

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015

    ​Thursday evening the League’s Annual Conference and Exhibit will truly be Celebrating Cities at the annual Awards Banquet. Recognize an outstanding, young city official and the next inductees into the Iowa League of Cities Hall of Fame. Be there to thank this year’s Legislative Service Award winners for their responsiveness to city issues. Celebrate the successes of other cities with the All-Star Community Awards.

    This year you can even help decide one of the award winners when you vote for the People’s All-Star Community on Facebook. Voting takes place in rounds, with the first elimination round beginning August 24. Cities with the most “likes” in the current week’s Facebook album will move to the next round.

    Albums for voting will be posted by noon each Monday and conclude at 8 a.m. the following Monday, with the exception of the final round. The final round of voting will conclude on Thursday, September 24, and the winner of the People’s All-Star Community Award will be announced later that evening at the Awards Banquet during the Annual Conference & Exhibit.

    Check out the bracket on our Facebook page, and follow the League on Facebook and Twitter (#IowaLeague) for updates.

    A panel of judges with expertise in local government chose a winner from each of three population categories, now it’s the people’s turn to decide who else to honor. Then make plans to be at the event to see who won!

    Learn more about the Annual Conference & Exhibit, including a list of workshops and speakers, then register online. See you in Cedar Rapids, September 23-25!

     
  • On The Road: Budgeting, Examinations & Accounting for Municipalities 

    Tuesday, September 01, 2015

    Many clerks do not have the opportunity to attend training specifically designed for city budgets, the new examination requirements or fund accounting. So the Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute is bringing the training to you at 8 regions in October.

    Without training, many cities find it difficult to accurately complete required financial reports and practice proper internal control procedures due to limited staff and resources. This training has been designed for evening and Saturday sessions to provide trainings convenient for those who are new, part time or have other daytime obligations. Topics include the value of a chart of accounts; understanding fund accounting; and how budgets, financial reports and regular reconciliations can lead to good audits and examinations that are newly required by state law.

     
  • Annual Business Meeting Includes Legislative Priorities 

    Monday, August 31, 2015

    ​On Friday, September 25, at the Annual Business Meeting during the Annual Conference & Exhibit, voting delegates will consider the legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session. The proposed language was unanimously approved by the Legislative Policy Committee on July 30 and by the Executive Board on August 27. Review the proposed priority language prior to the Annual Conference, and send us your questions.

    The agenda for the meeting also includes a report on a Bylaws update and the election of officers and directors to the League's Executive Board.

    Anyone from a member city is encouraged to attend the Annual Business Meeting. However, each member city is only allowed one vote and must designate a voting delegate. The authorized delegate is the mayor or the mayor’s designated alternate. If the mayor chooses to not attend the conference or will not be able to participate in the meeting, the mayor must designate an alternate, which must be done in writing and submitted to the League 10 days prior to the meeting. The League has a sample letter to help you do just that.

    If the mayor has not appointed an alternate in advance, a member city official in attendance may request that the presiding officer of the meeting designate an individual as the voting delegate. The appointed alternate must fill out the appropriate credentials before 5 p.m., Thursday, September 24; this may be done at the conference registration desk.

    If you haven't done so already, there is still time to register for the Annual Conference & Exhibit! See you in Cedar Rapids, September 23-25!

     
  • Annual Urban Renewal Report System Now Open 

    Monday, August 31, 2015

    ​The Annual Urban Renewal Report (AURR) filing system is now open on the Iowa Department of Management's Web site. All cities with an urban renewal area must complete and submit the AURR by December 1 of each year. While cities are not required to publish the AURR they must have the council approve the report before the submission deadline.

    The online reporting system requires a variety of documents to be uploaded in PDF format, including urban renewal plans, maps and amendments. The Department of Management and the League are partnering to offer a new instructional video on completing the AURR, which will be available in mid-September (additional details will be announced soon).

     
  • Pension Reporting Info Available 

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    GASB Statements 67 and 68 require pension systems such as the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System (IPERS) and Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System of Iowa (MFPRSI) to prepare reports concerning the liability to each member local government. This year, cities (reporting on the cash basis or GAAP) have to include their potential liability in the audit or exam. The State Auditor's office, in conjunction with IPERS and MFPRSI, has created workpapers and sample language to be used by cities and their indepentent auditors. These requirements can add quite a bit of information to the reports for all cities.​​
     
  • If I Were Mayor Essay Contest 

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    Promoting good city government is important to the Iowa League of Cities, and this essay contest provides 7th grade students the opportunity to reflect on the role of the key elected official in their own city. To enter, 7th grade students need to return an essay and entry form by November 20, 2015. This contest is sponsored by Snyder & Associates​See the entry form for complete essay contest rules and details.

     
  • New IDOT Funding Opportunity Available 

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    ​The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently announced the creation of a new funding program for improving the freight transportation system in Iowa. The Linking Iowa's Freight Transportation System (LIFTS) program will provide funding for multimodal and freight needs. Cities, counties, planning organizations and other transportation users are eligible for the grants and the program has made $2.6 million available for this round.

    The purpose of the LIFTS program is to:
    • Enhance economic development by improving multimodal freight transportation
    • Provide flexible funding for changing demands of freight transportation
    • Enhance ability to provide competitive transportation options for shipment of products and moving goods
    • Incentivize alternate modes for economic development partnership purposes

    Grant applications are due October 23, 2015 and additional information is available on the IDOT Web site.

     
  • Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter Grants 

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    ​The Wellmark Foundation is now accepting applications for their new Community Kickstarter grant program. They are awarding up to $10,000 to 35 projects in Iowa and South Dakota that focus on active living and healthy eating.

    Sound like something you are interested in? You can learn more about the program and submit your project application at www.Wellmark.com/Foundation.

    Kick Start the Process
    Wellmark will have a hard time deciding which projects should be funded so they are asking for the public to help them decide by voting for their favorite project. So, you’ll want to make your application memorable! Be creative — write a song, do a dance, make a video. 

     
  • Women of Influence Honorees 

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    Congrats to Ames Mayor Ann Campbell, Pleasant Hill Mayor Sara Kurovski and Kathryn Kunert of MidAmerican Energy Co.! These women are the 2015 honorees for the Business Record's Women of Influence.

     
  • IPERS Releases FY 2015 Investment Returns 

    Friday, August 21, 2015

    ​The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) recently released its Fiscal Year 2015 investment performance, which showed a return of 3.96 percent. The FY 2015 return is short of the actuarial assumption of 7.5 percent and is a decrease from the FY 2014 return of 15.88 percent. The IPERS trust fund balance stood at $28.39 billion at the close of the fiscal year.

    “While this year’s investment performance fell short of our actuarial return assumption of 7.5 percent, it’s important to remember IPERS’ focus is long-term - 30 to 50 years out - in analyzing the Fund’s performance,” stated IPERS’ CEO Donna M. Mueller. “For IPERS, a more significant measurement is our 30-year annualized return which is 9.38 percent. The next big indicator of IPERS’ financial health will come from the annual actuarial valuation, due in December.”

    IPERS is the largest public pension system in Iowa with more than 345,000 members. Over 110,000 retirees and their beneficiaries receive IPERS retirement benefits. IPERS paid $1.7 billion in retirement benefits during the last fiscal year, with $1.5 billion paid in Iowa. Additional information can be found on the IPERS Web site.

     
  • Candidate Filing Deadlines  

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    For the 2015 election cycle, the candidate filing period is August 10 to August 27 for cities with primary elections and August 24 to September 17 for all other cities. The Iowa League of Cities, in cooperation with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board, has produced the 2015 City Candidate’s Guide. The publication provides an overview of campaign law and campaign finance reporting requirements for local government elections. Copies of the publication were sent to cities several months ago and is also available on the League's Web site.

     
  • City Council Orientations Webinar Released Next Week 

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    The City Council Orientations webinar is now available! Orientation programs are essential to getting new council members up to speed and informed of important city business. With 2015 being a city election year, numerous cities around the state will be welcoming new members to their council. This speaks to the need of establishing and completing a successful orientation program. Such programs are also beneficial to returning council members as they can provide a refresher on different aspects of the city. The webinar will cover some ideas on what to include in an orientation program, including:

    • Form of city government
    • Roles and responsibilities of elected officials and city employees/departments
    • City boards and commissions
    • Budget and financial condition
    • How council meetings are run

    Additional information and online registration is available on the 2015 Webinar Series page.

     
  • Street Finance Report Due 

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    ​​The annual Street Finance Report required by the Iowa Department of Transportation needs to be approved by resolution of the council and submitted by the September 30 to avoid financial consequences.

    Not done yet? Learn more online.

     
  • ICMA and GFOA Release White Paper on Municipal Bonds and Infrastructure Development 

    Monday, August 17, 2015

    ​The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) recently released a white paper on Municipal Bonds and Infrastructure Development. One of the key findings is state and local governments would have paid $714 billion in additional interest expenses from 2000 to 2014 without tax-exempt municipal bonds. The paper also details the importance of municipal bonds to state and local government financing and the ability to pay for infrastructure projects.