In The News

  • League Office Closed January 18 

    Monday, January 11, 2021

    Our office will be closed on January 18 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Normal business hours will resume on January 19. Please send an email to mailbox@iowaleague.org if you need assistance and we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you need any resources, check out the League's website at www.iowaleague.org.​​​​​
     
  • Paint Iowa Beautiful Grants Available 

    Friday, January 08, 2021

    Keep Iowa Beautiful (KIB) offers grant funding through their Paint Iowa Beautiful program, which provides paint to help local entities complete community enhancement projects. Through a partnership with Diamond Vogel Paint of Orange City, cities and other local groups are eligible to apply for the paint to support community projects, such as buildings, park shelters, welcome signs and more.

    The program supports KIB's mission by helping maintain buildings and boosting community pride. More than 11,000 gallons of paint have been donated to community groups through the Paint Iowa Beautiful program, supporting over 1,000 local projects. Additional information and online applications are available on the KIB Web site.
     
  • National Endowment for the Arts Offers Funding Opportunities 

    Friday, January 08, 2021

    ​The National Endowment for the Arts currently has two grant opportunities open to local governments to support community art projects. The Grants for Arts Projects program supports artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity. Cost-share/matching grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000. Applications for this program are due February 11.

    Cities can also apply for Challenge America grants, which support projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations. Cost-share/matching grants are for $10,000. The 2021 application guidelines will be announced soon. More information about each program and application requirements is available on the National Endowment for the Arts website. ​​​​​​​

     
  • Iowa Work Zone Safety Workshops 

    Tuesday, January 05, 2021

    Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program is hosting work zone safety workshops during the week of February 22-25 and Monday, March 1. The work zone traffic control and safety training will be offered virtually. The workshop will cover current revisions in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), particularly Part 6. The registration deadline is February 22. The registration fee for this workshop is $25. For information about program content, contact Paul Albritton at the Institute for Transportation at (515) 294-1231 or palbritt@iastate.edu.

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, January 04, 2021

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

     
  • IRS Announces 2021 Mileage Reimbursement Rate 

    Monday, January 04, 2021

    ​​​The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the 2021 mileage reimbursement rates that are used to calculate the costs of operating an automobile for business purposes. Beginning January 1, the standard mileage for the use of a car, van or truck is:
    • 56 cents per mile for business miles driven (up 3.5 cents from 2018)
    • 16 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes 
    • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
    Cities may reimburse city officials and employees using their own vehicles up to the IRS mileage rate. The IRS can adjust the rates during the year to reflect changes in the economy and fuel prices.
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  • Iowa Foundation for Parks and Recreation Provides Grant Opportunity 

    Monday, December 14, 2020

    The Iowa Foundation for Parks and Recreation, whose vision is to build a better Iowa through parks and recreation, is continuing their Mini-Grants for communities with a population of 10,000 or less. If your community or a local non-profit in your community is looking for additional funding to better leisure opportunities for citizens, please forward this to them.

    Applications are now open and are due by Friday, January 29, 2021. Additional information about the IFPR and the mini-grants is available online. ​​​​​​​​​

     
  • 2021 Municipal Professional Institute Winter Registration Open 

    Tuesday, December 08, 2020

    The 2021 Institute will be split into three different sessions during the year, referred to as winter, summer and fall sessions. Fall and winter sessions will occur online, while the summer session will take place in-person in Ames. The winter session will take place on February 10-12, and will be completely virtual. Certification will require that you attend classes in all three sessions. Links to the course brochure, a course breakdown per session and registration can be found on the Iowa State University website​Questions can be directed to Sara Shonrock, institute director, at sshonroc@iastate.edu

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  • Accepting Workshop Proposals for the Annual Conference & Exhibit 

    Monday, December 07, 2020

    The Iowa League of Cities is seeking proposals for educational workshops on topics of importance to city officials for our 2021 Annual Conference & Exhibit, which is scheduled to be held in Coralville, September 15-17. Our 2021 conference's theme is "Camp Coralville," and workshop proposals are due Friday, January 29​. The proposal submission form is available on our website​.​​
     
  • NLC Offers Leadership in Community Resilience Grants 

    Monday, December 07, 2020

    ​The National League of Cities (NLC) has funding available through its Community Resilience Grant Program, which supports and enhances local capacity among elected leaders and staff, communities and community-based organizations as they pursue coordinated climate resilience efforts. Since 2017, 33 cities have participated in the program.

    City plans and programs designed to increase community resilience and connectivity in advance of climate shocks and other events can save lives and reduce recovery costs. These efforts can take many forms, including community engagement, regional collaboration, reducing resident vulnerability to climate impacts, or capacity building for staff and elected officials. Applicants should be able to achieve a substantial portion of their proposed project in one year. The program begins in March 2021 and ends in December.
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  • Grant Funding Available Through CDBG Programs 

    Monday, November 30, 2020

    ​​Funding is available to city governments through several Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs that make awards on an annual basis. Administered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA), the programs aim to develop viable communities by providing adequate housing and suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate incomes. Funding is available through the following programs:
    Additional information about each of these funding opportunities, as well as application instructions, is available on the IEDA website.
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  • Guidance on Form 1099-NEC 

    Monday, November 23, 2020

    ​For tax year 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will require employers to use Form 1099-NEC to report most types of nonemployee compensation. The form must be sent by the end of January to any vendor or contractor the city has issued total payments in excess of $600 during the previous year. This will be in addition to IRS Form 1099-MISC, which may still be needed to be completed and filed in particular, to report gross proceeds to attorneys, such as when a settlement is received.

    Cities must also file electronic or paper 1099s with the IRS by January 31, 1099-MISC has a later deadline of March 31. Employers must file their W-2s and 1099s electronically with the Iowa Department of Revenue, which has a deadline of February 15. ​​​​

     
  • Tips for Getting 2021 Started Right 

    Monday, November 23, 2020

    A new year is quickly approaching, and with that brings a number of tasks for cities to complete in early 2021. January is a good time for the city council to set its regular meeting schedule for the year, including reviewing when potential special meetings will be needed and holidays that may cause a different meeting day. Council members should also review meeting rules of procedure and determine if any changes are needed. Another important item early in the year is to review the status of city boards, commissions and committees to determine whether any appointments will be needed in the near future.

    Several other items are often handled in January, including publishing the annual wages of employees, completing and filing W-2s and 1099s, having newly elected officials declare their IPERS status, and reviewing and potentially renewing insurance coverages, service contracts and other agreements. Please visit the Beginning of Year Checklist page for additional details.​​
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  • State Auditor Advises Cities on Fake Unemployment Claims 

    Tuesday, November 17, 2020

    State Auditor Rob Sand is advising to be wary of fake unemployment claims. Individuals are attempting to file unemployment claims as former government employees. Read the full alert at the State Auditor's website​. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, please contact the Office of Auditor of State at (515) 281-5834. ​
     
  • 2021 Budget Special Report Now Available 

    Monday, November 16, 2020

    ​The 2021 Budget Special Report is now available! The annual report details the latest financial projections for revenues and expenditures important to city budgets in the current and next fiscal years. Analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on city finances is included, along with details of the major facets of Iowa's property tax system are covered. The report also offers the latest information on road use tax projections, Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) contribution rates and much more.

    In addition to the report, the League's 2020 Budget Workshops, offered virtually with two more workshops this week, feature extensive coverage of city budget issues.​​​​