In The News

  • Iowa Mayors Association Statewide Meeting on March 11 

    Tuesday, March 02, 2021

    The Iowa Mayors Association is hosting a virtual, statewide meeting on Thursday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m. This meeting is free and open to all Iowa mayors. It will provide a recap of bills passed out of the first funnel of the 2021 Iowa Legislative Session and an opportunity to network and discuss statewide issues. Registration is now open! After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, March 01, 2021

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine for the March 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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

     
  • Scholarships to MPI Summer Session Available 

    Monday, March 01, 2021

    Scholarships for the summer session of the Municipal Professionals Institute (MPI) are now open. More information, the application and the resolution of support can be found on MPI's websiteScholarship applications are due April 1.

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  • USDA Grant Funding Available for Community-Improvement Projects 

    Monday, February 22, 2021

    United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has grant funding available to assist rural Iowa communities with their community-improvement projects. The USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant funds can be used to help finance essential building and equipment for public use in communities with a population of 20,000 or less. Grant funds may be used to purchase first responder vehicles and equipment such as fire, police and medical emergency vehicles, emergency generators, warning sirens, snowplows; health facilities and equipment such as surgical equipment, cardiac monitors, ultrasounds; educational facilities such as school buses, library equipment, childcare facilities; and public facilities such as maintenance equipment, streets, etc. For more information on the grant, visit the USDA Rural Development website​.​​

     
  • Grants Available Through Iowa Land and Water Conservation Fund 

    Monday, February 22, 2021

    The Iowa Land and Water Conservation Fund, administered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, has funding available for outdoor recreation area development and acquisition. The federally-funded program helps cities acquire and develop outdoor recreation areas with a 50 percent matching contribution. Those awarded funding receive reimbursements for eligible costs under the grant. Also, applicants must have physical control of the site in order for the project to be eligible.

    A wide variety of projects are eligible under the program. Recent years have included skate parks, playgrounds, new and renovated swimming pools, sports complexes, campgrounds and multipurpose trails. Applications are due March 15, and additional information is available on the Land and Water Conservation Fund site.
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  • New IEDA Funds Available to Support Rural Development 

    Monday, February 15, 2021

    ​New funding is available through the Iowa Economic Development Authority to support innovative rural projects and housing assessments. Up to $400,000 is available through two programs designated for cities less than 20,000 in population.

    • 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. 
    Grant applications are due April 16 and additional information is available on the IEDA website
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  • Water and Wastewater Operator CEU Deadline Approaching 

    Monday, February 15, 2021

    ​Water and wastewater operators are reminded that their current certificates will expire June 30 and renewal applications must be submitted prior to the deadline. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for renewals must be earned by March 31. Operators of Grade A, I and II level systems must earn at least one CEU; operators of Grade III and IV level systems must earn at least two CEUs.

    The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) maintains an Operator Certification database for each operator's individual details regarding their certificate and training. Operators may also use the system to apply for their renewal certificate and make an online payment.
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  • Iowa DOT COVID-19 Impacts on Highway, Road, Street Funding and Relief Funding Allocation Feedback Requested 

    Thursday, February 11, 2021

    The Iowa DOT released a COVID-19 memo with an update on COVID-19 impacts on highway/road/street funding. It also outlines its recommendations for allocation of Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021​ (CRRSAA) federal relief funding to local governments. Any related input is sought by February 26.​​​​
     
  • 2021 Iowa Employment Conference Information 

    Friday, February 05, 2021

    ​The 2021 Iowa Employment Conference will be held April 7-8 online in a virtual format due to ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference offers more than 50 informative, interactive and educational sessions delivered by some of the top employment lawyers, payroll professionals and workforce development leaders. Featured topics include the latest developments in labor and employment law, tips for remote working, the post-pandemic workplace, managing employee political speech, employee wellness during a pandemic, wage and hour laws and much more.

    Additional information along with online registration is available on the Iowa Employment Conference website.​​​​​​

     
  • Water Quality Financing Program Application Available 

    Monday, February 01, 2021

     The Water Quality Financing Program was created in 2018 as a revolving loan fund to finance projects that improve water quality. Priority is given to projects that are collaborative efforts. Projects can address either point source or nonpoint source water quality issues. Applications are now being accepted for the Water Quality Financing Program.

    Eligible applicants include municipalities, landowners, public utilities, rural water districts and industries that are required by the Nutrient Reduction Strategy (NRS) to collect data and evaluate alternatives to reduce discharges of nitrogen and phosphorous.

    Applications are due March 12. The application and program rules can be found on the Iowa Finance Authority Water Quality Resources web pagePlease contact Lori Beary with questions at waterquality@iowafinance.com or (515)452-0470.

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  • Utility Rate Survey 

    Monday, February 01, 2021

    The League recently conducted its biennial Utility Rate Survey, concluding in winter 2020. With 365 cities and local government organizations participating, we hope this information will provide a great resource for comparison purposes during future utility rate reviews. The survey participants represent a diverse set of communities across the state in terms of geographic location, community population and utility rate structure.​​​
     
  • Introduction to Planning and Zoning Workshops 

    Monday, February 01, 2021

    The Introduction to Planning and Zoning for Local Officials workshop is a three-hour session designed to introduce the basic principles of land use planning and development management to elected officials, planning and zoning officials, and board of adjustment members without formal training in the subjects.  Using case scenarios in a highly interactive format, the workshop highlights issues frequently faced in the land use process, such as the roles and responsibilities of the planning and zoning commission, the board of adjustment, and the elected council and board of supervisors. It also will highlight legal issues frequently faced by local officials, such as variances, special uses, nonconforming uses, spot zoning, hearing procedures, and conflicts of interest. The cost to participate is $45 per registrant or $35 each if a city or county registers five or more. Workshops are limited to 50 participants. ​​

     
  • Get Your Downtown Assessed with the IEDA 

    Friday, January 22, 2021

    ​The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) offers valuable assistance to cities with downtown assessments that can help build awareness of strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. Available through the Iowa Downtown Resource Center at the IEDA, the downtown assessments take a look at local businesses, interview community leaders, analyze challenges and help identify solutions. Cities can also participate in downtown exchanges where IEDA staff coordinate visits to similar communities to demonstrate examples and provide ideas.

    • ​The downtown assessments are conducted throughout the year and communities are encouraged to contact IEDA staff to apply for a local assessment.​​

     
  • Iowa LTAP Work Zone Sign Package Program Applications Due November 27 

    Monday, November 02, 2020

    The Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) Small City Work Zone Sign Package Program is open and will be accepting applications until November 27. The program assists small cities, less than 10,000 in population, to make their work zones safer for workers and the public by acquiring a basic work zone sign/device package. Applications can be found on Iowa LTAP's website​.
     
  • 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.