In The News

  • Grant Writing Workshops Available 

    Tuesday, February 25, 2020

    Grant Writing 101 hosted by Iowa State Extension and Outreach Office will be held in two locations. 

    arch 5 – 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Denver, IA
    March 24 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Corydon

    Please view the brochures for more information on how to register and workshop details. 

    Grant Writing 101- Denver
    Grant Writing 101- Corydon​

  • Register Now for MLA Part 3! 

    Monday, February 24, 2020

    The Municipal Leadership Academy will resume this April with six workshops held around the state. MLA Part 3 will feature important training on economic development, community betterment and strategic planning.

    MLA provides guidance on the fundamentals of city government and is designed primarily for elected officials. It is one of the best ways to get an education on important topics to help city officials effectively serve their community. The three-part series includes in-person workshops and online training that begins after the regular city elections. It is widely considered essential training for elected officials, especially those recently elected to office. MLA is presented by the Iowa League of Cities and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

    MLA Part One was held in November and December, featuring seven workshops around the state. Held right after the city elections, these sessions were designed to provide education on the fundamentals of municipal government: Budget and Finance, Effective City Councils and Municipal Operations.

    MLA Part Two features online training videos released in early 2020. Topics covered in Part Two include The Basics of Planning & Zoning, The City Budget and You Got Elected, Now What? Registration is $60.

    MLA Part Three includes six workshops held around the state in April 2020 that help further attendee's understanding of city government. Part Three topics are Economic Development, Community Betterment and Acting Strategically. Registration is $80. Dates and locations are below:

    April 4 | Hiawatha
    April 9 | Atlantic
    April 16 | Clear Lake
    April 18 | Cherokee
    April 23 | Mt. Pleasant
    April 25 | Windsor Heights

    We also ask all current city officials to share MLA information with their newly elected and appointed officials so those new to city government are aware of this critical training. Much more information, as well as online registration, is available on the 2019-2020 MLA website. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • Iowa APWA Spring Conference to be Held April 2-3 

    Monday, February 24, 2020

    ​The American Public Works Association (APWA) Iowa Chapter is hosting its annual Spring Conference, April 2-3, in West Des Moines. Registration is open for the conference, which is designed for public works directors, superintendents, engineers and operators as well as those who aspire to be in the field. 

    This year's agenda includes sessions on leadership development, traffic signal operations, urban wetlands, nutrition and rest for operators, technologies in water maintenance and much more. Learn more and register online​.​​

  • Iowa Parks and Recreation Association to Host Annual Conference 

    Monday, February 24, 2020

    ​The Iowa Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) will hold its 2020 Annual Conference, March 23-26, in Cedar Rapids. The conference provides an excellent networking and educational opportunity, featuring a variety of fun events and impactful workshops.

    This year's conference features several outings, including a bike outing, social hours and educational tours. The conference also includes a variety of workshops, including sessions on youth sports, pool regulations, leadership and management training, communicating with the public, older adult programming, stormwater management and much more. The full schedule and online registration is available on the IPRA website. ​​​​

  • Reminder: Annual Budgets Due March 31 

    Monday, February 24, 2020

    Cities are reminded to adopt and submit their annual budget by March 31. This date replaces the former ​deadline of March 15 to accommodate an additional public hearing that must be done as part of the budget adoption process.

    While many cities have likely begun the formal adoption process, the new state code requirements include a public hearing on the city's proposed Maximum Property Tax Dollars to Certify to Levy. This hearing must be preceded by a public notice that is created from a form provided by the Iowa Department of Management. After the hearing, the city council must approve the Maximum Property Tax Dollars to Certify to Levy by resolution. Importantly, if the proposed amount exceeds the current fiscal year amount by more than 2 percent, the council must approve the resolution by at least a two-thirds majority.

    Following the approval of the Maximum Property Tax Dollars to Certify to Levy, cities are to complete the traditional step of approving the annual budget. The former procedures remain in place, which requires a city to hold a public hearing on its proposed annual budget. The hearing must be preceded by public notice, utilizing a form provided by the Iowa Department of Management. After the hearing, the council can approve the annual budget by resolution (a simple majority is needed for approval).

    As a reminder, cities cannot adopt a budget until they have filed their AFR and the Annual Urban Renewal Report (for cities with an urban renewal area and plan in effect during the fiscal year). The Iowa Department of Management's website houses the files needed to complete the annual budget process, including a template resolution for the Maximum Property Tax Dollars to Certify to Levy and the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget File (which includes the full annual budget that must be completed along with help documents).​

  • ReConnect Loan and Grant Program Accepting Applications 

    Monday, February 24, 2020

    The Broadband ReConnect Program furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas. The application window for the second round of funding is now open, and applications are being accepted until 6 p.m. EST March 16. To learn more about the program or start your application​, click here​.

  • Iowa Municipal Professional Institute Registration is Open 

    Monday, February 24, 2020

    Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute registration is now open. Visit the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach website​ to find information on registration and information about scholarships through IMFOA and ISU to assist with the cost of the Institute. Applications for scholarships are due by April 1, 2020.  If you have any questions, contact Sara Shonrock at or 515-294-1844​.

  • Community Broadband Summit to be Held March 16 

    Monday, February 17, 2020

    ​City officials are invited to the 2020 Community Broadband Summit, which will be held March 16 in Urbandale. The summit brings together community leaders and activists who want better broadband for their communities.

    This year's agenda includes discussion on municipal broadband development, new market tax credits, financing broadband initiatives and more. Online registration is required, which is available on the Community Broadband Summit website. ​​​

  • Guide Training Workshops Registration Is Open 

    Monday, February 17, 2020

    Registration is now open for statewide guide training workshops in three Iowa locations. This program was created by Iowa State University Extension to communities for staff and volunteers who lead guided programs at Iowa’s cities and tourism attractions, including museums, nature areas, agritourism, and historic sites. The one-day workshop features methods and techniques for creating and delivering dynamic guided programs, with a focus on adult visitors.

    The workshop fee is $10.00 per person, which includes the course workbook, workshop activities, lunch and refreshments. Each workshop is held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is required and due by each date below. To register, contact Central Iowa Tourism Region at 1-800-285-5842 or, or mail the registration form at the link below.

    Wednesday, March 25 -- Honey Creek Resort near Moravia. Must register by March 13.
    Thursday, April 2 – Pella Opera House. Must register by March 23.
    Thursday, April 30 – Iowa Gold Star Military Museum in Johnston. Must register by April 17.

    Individuals who complete the workshop have the optional opportunity to receive Professional Guide Certification from Iowa State University for an additional fee. Certification is completed at each individual’s place of work or other Iowa location. For more information about the guide training workshop or certification process, or to offer a Guide Training workshop in your community, contact Diane Van Wyngarden at Additional program information and registration is available at

    Download the registration flyer here​.​​​​

  • Planning and Zoning Workshops 

    Monday, February 17, 2020

    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 workshop is offered annually in multiple locations across the state. Locations change from year-to-year so that city and county officials are able to attend a location near them at least once every two years. The dates and locations for Spring 2020 are: 

    Tuesday, March 3- Johnson County Extension Office, Iowa City
    Thursday, March 5- Best Western Holiday Lodge, Clear Lake
    Tuesday, March 10- Hilton Garden Inn, Sioux City Riverfront, Sioux City
    Tuesday, March 24- Courtyard by Marriott, Ankeny
    Thursday, March 26- Arrowwood, Okoboji
    Thursday, April 7- Region XII Council of Governments, Carroll
    Tuesday, April 14- Hotel Winneshiek, Decorah
    Tuesday, April 21- Oskaloosa Public Library, Room A-B, Oskaloosa

    All workshops begin with registration and a light supper at 5:30 p.m. The program begins at 6 p.m. and concludes by 8:45 p.m. The registration fee is $65 per individual. This fee is reduced to $55 per individual if a city or county registers 5 or more officials to attend. The fee covers the workshop instruction, workshop materials and supper.

    Download the brochure here​.

    For more information and to register, click here​.


  • National League of Cities Principles of Home Rule 

    Monday, February 17, 2020

    The National League of Cities and Local Solutions Support Center (LSSC) released a new framework, Principles of Home Rule for the 21st Century, for strengthening local democracy.

    Home rule is a longstanding legal principle that gives people within their communities the power to decide which services they want, how best to protect their neighborhoods, how their communities should grow, ensuring that local problems are solved locally. But even though the demands on cities, towns and counties have grown in recent decades, home rule hasn’t evolved to meet the challenges and complexities of the 21st century. The framework represents the first comprehensive rewrite of home rule since 1953.​​

  • Registration Opens for 2020 Iowa Employment Conference 

    Monday, February 10, 2020

    ​The 2020 Iowa Employment Conference will be held April 8-9 at the Meadows Events & Conference Center in Altoona. 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, health care reform, discipline and discharge, workplace wellness, unemployment insurance, wage and hour laws and much more.

    The conference includes a track for public sector employers and offers CLEs and IMFOA education credits. Additional information, along with online registration, is available on the Iowa Employment Conference website.​​​

  • Iowa Municipal Policy Leaders Handbook a Must-Have 

    Monday, February 10, 2020

    ​Cities can purchase copies of the Iowa Municipal Policy Leaders Handbook, a resource created by the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Iowa and now created by the League. The handbook covers a wide variety of city government aspects and is especially helpful for elected officials to become better educated about various municipal operations. Topics include municipal government roles and responsibilities, forms of city government, effective council meetings, municipal budgeting and finances, human resources, planning and zoning and much more.

    Attendees of Municipal Leadership Academy Part 1 received a copy of the handbook with their registration and now others have the ability to purchase a copy. A copy can be purchased for $40 by submitting an order form and payment to the League. ​​​

  • Information on Coronavirus 

    Monday, February 10, 2020

    The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local partners to monitor and respond to novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and has since been detected in other parts of the world, including the U.S.  

    In February, IDPH began monitoring and testing appropriate individuals for the virus, in accordance with recommendations by President Trump’s Task Force on Coronavirus. Testing is recommended for individuals who traveled to China within the last 14 days AND have symptoms of novel coronavirus (fever, cough, shortness of breath). Public health monitoring and limiting contact with the public is recommended for persons who returned from China within the last 14 days but have no symptoms. Monitoring involves the individual checking in with public health several times each day to ensure the person is still well. These individuals also avoid contact with the public in group settings.

    While the emergence of a new virus that can infect humans is always a serious public health concern, the risk to the general public remains low at this time. This is a situation that public health prepares for and responds to with a layered approach to protect the public health.

    At this time, the greater risk to Iowans is from influenza. This is also the time of year many respiratory viruses circulate. It is important to protect yourself from any of these viruses by covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and staying home from work when ill. It is also not too late to get your flu vaccination.

    If you traveled to China within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care right away. Before going to a healthcare office, you should call ahead and tell them about your symptoms. It is important to remember the risk of novel coronavirus is associated with travel to China, not to a specific group of people or ethnicity.

    IDPH will post statewide numbers of persons being monitored, persons being tested, and test results on the IDPH webpage at on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Individuals will not be identified by city, county or region, as the recommended actions for the public are no different than for any other respiratory virus, including the flu. If there was a different action recommended for the public that required the release of additional information, IDPH would do so, while balancing personal confidentiality with the public health needs of the community.

    For more information, visit the IDPH Novel Coronavirus webpage and follow the department on Facebook at and on Twitter at


  • Cityscape ePub 

    Tuesday, February 04, 2020

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine for the February 20​20​​ ​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.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​