In The News

  • 2020 Small City Workshops Begin Soon! 

    Tuesday, May 26, 2020

    Registration​ for the 2020 Small City Workshops is open! The cost is $25 per person, and each session is capped at 125 registrants. Due to concerns with COVID-19, Small City Workshops will be meeting by Zoom.

    This year's topic is Human Resources for Small Cities, which will cover the importance of mayors and council members having the knowledge and tools to successfully manage and provide an engaging and safe work environment for all employees. Lisa Mart, IMWCA Human Resources Specialist, and Dean Schade, IMWCA Loss Control Manager, will lead the session covering certain legal requirements that cities are required to adhere to and best practices to ensure that leaders have the tools to manage their essential resources.

    2020 Small City Workshop Dates/Time
    5:30 - 7:30 p.m.; Pre-Workshop Login 5:15 - 5:30 p.m.

    • Wednesday, June 10
    • Thursday, June 18
    • Tuesday, June 23
  • Conference Call with Congressman King June 5 

    Tuesday, May 26, 2020

    Join a conference call on June 5 at 1 p.m. with Congressman King and the League for an update on the federal policy as it relates to Iowa and municipalities. Registration is required. Please sub​mit​​ questions ahead of time. Due to a large number of participants, the attendee lines will be muted. ​​​​
  • Funding Available Through IDOT Railroad Revolving Fund 

    Monday, May 18, 2020

    The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) is accepting funding applications for its Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant (RRLG) program, which provides financial assistance to improve rail facilities that will create jobs, spur economic activity and improve the rail transportation system in Iowa. The RRLG program has three funding categories under which eligible applicants may apply:

    • Targeted job creation
      Rail projects that provide immediate, direct job opportunities. Funding is contingent on job creation and retention commitments by the applicant. Both grants and loans are available. Grant requests require a 50 percent match contribution to the overall rail project cost. Loan requests require a 20 percent match contribution.
    • Rail network improvement
      Rail projects that support existing rail lines and service. No direct job creation is required. Only loans are available in this category. Loans will be offered at 0 percent for a 10-year term. Loan requests require a 20 percent match contribution.
    • Rail Port Planning and Development
      These studies will further efforts to plan, design and otherwise prepare for the development of rail port facilities. Grants will be available in this category. Grant requests require a 20 percent match contribution. No single award may be greater than $100,000.
    Applications for funding must be submitted by June 29 at 5 p.m. Additional information and applications are available on the RRLG Web site.
  • Iowa DOT Public Transit Long Range Plan 

    Monday, May 18, 2020

    Public Input is being sought on the development of the Iowa DOT Public Transit Long Range Plan. This plan supports the current state transportation plan, Iowa In Motion 2045, and will provide input into the future development of Iowa in Motion 2050. The intent of these efforts is to efficiently plan and manage resources for an effective statewide public transit system within Iowa’s multimodal transportation system.

    A key part of the plan update is collecting public input. Stakeholder and public feedback have been considered throughout the planning process and is being sought once more to help refine the final draft of the Iowa Public Transit Long-Range Plan.

    A copy of the plan can be reviewed here​Any comments, feedback, or input can be submitted by following the instructions found at the top of the webpage. The public comment period is open now through Wednesday, July 1.

    Once the public comment period concludes, the feedback will be considered and incorporated into the plan. The plan will then be presented to the Iowa Transportation Commission prior to its final publication.

    For questions, please contact the Systems Planning Bureau, Iowa Department of Transportation, 800 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa 50010, telephone 515-239-1772, email​

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

    Tuesday, May 12, 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 already 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. Please submit this survey to share your stories. 

    The League is also asking cities to complete this brief survey on impacts on city finances due to COVID-19. We have targeted city clerks, finance officers and city administrators, but please forward as necessary to the proper individual(s). Please submit this survey on your city finances.  
  • IEDA Rural Innovation Program Offers Grant Funding 

    Monday, May 11, 2020

    ​The Center for Rural Revitalization at the Iowa Economic Development Authority houses 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

    The deadline for each grant program has been extended to June 5. More information about the programs can be found on the Center for Rural Revitalization website. ​​​​​​​​

  • State Recreational Trails Program Offers Funding 

    Monday, May 11, 2020

    ​Cities may apply for State Recreational Trails program (SRT) funding, offered through the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT). The program is accepting project applications until July 1 for Fiscal Year 2021 funding allocations. The SRT provides funds to establish recreational trails in Iowa for the use, enjoyment and participation of the public.

    Please contact Scott Flagg, state recreational trails program manager, at or (515) 239-1252 if you have any questions or concerns. Visit the SRT page to see applications and instructions as well as more information about the program.​​​​

  • Cityscape ePub 

    Tuesday, May 05, 2020

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine for the May 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 to change your preference.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • Bilingual AmeriCorps Staff Needed 

    Tuesday, May 05, 2020

    EMBARC in partnership with the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs is seeking applications for Bilingual (Spanish and English) individuals to be part of the AmeriCorps program ​at EMBARC who will work with the Latino community across the state of Iowa. ​​​
  • Firefighter Grant Funding Available Through FEMA 

    Monday, May 04, 2020

    ​The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has grant funding available to support local firefighters and departments. The grant programs offer financial assistance to support various aspects of the fire service and are open to city fire departments.

    • Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER)
      Provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, front line firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards. Applications due May 15.
    • Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program - COVID-19 Supplemental
      Funding to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters, with this supplemental program designed to provide
      critical Personal Protective Equipment and supplies needed to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Applications due May 15.
    • Fire Prevention & Safety Grants
      This program supports projects that enhance the safety of the public and firefighters from fire and related hazards. The primary goal is to reduce injury and prevent death among high-risk populations. Applications due May 29.
  • Resources Available to Support Organizations Responding to COVID-19 

    Monday, May 04, 2020

    Volunteer Iowa and the Iowa Economic Development Authority Center for Rural Revitalization are making dozens of AmeriCorps positions available at no cost to local organizations active in COVID-19 recovery efforts or struggling with the effects of COVID-19. Initially, at least seventy 2-3 month full-time positions are being created but may consider expanding the program if needs are present. Please complete this survey to show how these resources could help. Your input will help Volunteer Iowa plan accordingly.

    Volunteer Iowa wants to work with your agency on member placements that helps support your mission.

    AmeriCorps members can provide direct service activities like community gardening, supporting food bank activities, supporting a shelter, facilitation of transportation, or providing online tutoring for kids while not in school.
    AmeriCorps members can also focus on capacity building activities related to the elimination of poverty such as researching grant opportunities or designing and implementing a volunteer program.
    Placements will run from June through August.

    Complete this survey by COB May 6 if you are interested in learning more.

    Volunteer Iowa is hosting a brief technical assistance call for any organization interested in hosting AmeriCorps. Join us on Tuesday, May 5 at 9 to learn how AmeriCorps can help and what steps need to be done to get started. To join the call, click here or dial in at 1-515-348-6300; conference ID: 774 636 666#.

    AmeriCorps members are eligible to receive a living allowance and an end of service Education Award. Some members are eligible for childcare assistance, and full-time members receive health care coverage. At the same time, they gain training and experience which builds their confidence and resume.

    If you’d like to explore the potential of COVID-19 recovery AmeriCorps members in your organization, please complete this short survey:
  • The Square Visits with Carlisle Library Director Stacy Goodhue 

    Friday, May 01, 2020

    ​The Square​ is back with a new episode! Enjoy a fun interview with Stacy Goodhue, who serves as the library director for the city of Carlisle. We actually recorded this prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Stacy's thoughts on the importance of public libraries rings true now more than ever. Hear what it takes to run a city library and the various programs and services they provide - you may be surprised at how much libraries do for a community!

    We are also joined by Emma Kline, the League's administrative assistant, for the always entertaining Get to Know Your League segment. We wish all communities good health as we continue to respond to the pandemic and encourage our members to access a variety of helpful resources at

    Take care, and we'll talk to you soon on The Square

  • 2020 Municipal Professionals Academy Registration is Now Open! 

    Tuesday, April 28, 2020

    The following are some helpful tips and links for navigating the registration process. 
    1. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision has been made to hold the 2020 Academy in a completely online format. All information pertaining to registration as well as sessions will be found on our website.
    2. The link to registration can be found on our website at: Available payment options are to pay by credit card (there is a non-refundable credit card fee) at the time of registration or make your payment by check after registering for courses through the online portal. Checks should be sent to the Iowa League of Cities, PO Box 8296, Des Moines, IA  50301.
    3. New for 2020: You will need to know your IMFOA ID to register.  

    Sweatshirts: We sell sweatshirts as a way to keep everyone warm (the rooms are sometimes chilly) and to assist with offering scholarships. This year the shirts are heather grey with a red logo. An example can be found on the registration link. 

    If you wish to make a $25 donation to the scholarship fund without purchasing a sweatshirt, that option is also available. 
    If you have further questions, please contact Sara Shonrock at (515) 290-1811 or or Amanda Eggers at

    We look forward to "seeing" you at the Academy this year!

  • COVID-19 City Finance Tool 

    Monday, April 27, 2020

    Are you looking for guidance to help begin to take a look at the city's financial impact due to COVID-19?  The League has a new tool aimed to help cities frame up a 90-day outlook for local revenues.

    Download both the description​ and the COVID-19 Finance Tool​. These are for guidance only and should not be used in the budget process. The goal is to provide a framework for a simple 90-day outlook on local revenue impacts due to the current pandemic environment. The League plans to update this tool regularly.
  • Union Pacific Grant 

    Monday, April 20, 2020

    Union Pacific's Community Ties Giving Local Grants program is open for applications. Given the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, additional funds will be allocated to organizations seeking funding to address critical community needs associated with COVID-19. We will still fund grants in our priority cause areas of safety, workforce development and community spaces. Applications are due May 31.​​​