In The News

  • 2016 Small City Workshops Begin Next Week 

    Monday, May 30, 2016

    The 2016 Small City Workshops begin next week with the first two stops in Sigourney on June 7 and Hartley on June 9. This year's workshops focus on understanding the environmental regulation of water and wastewater utilities and potential resources for improving water infrastructure for smaller communities.

    Representatives from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will join us to discuss their role in assessing, permitting and inspecting utility systems. Attendees will then discuss how they can prepare for utility system improvements, including planning methods, funding and budgeting strategies and effectively communicating with the public.

    All workshops are scheduled for 5:30-8 p.m. and the cost is $40 (dinner is included). The workshops will be held on the following dates and locations:

    June 7 – Sigourney
    June 9 – Hartley
    June 14 – Stanton
    June 16 – Cascade
    June 21 – Nashua
    June 23 – Ogden

    Additional information about the workshops and online registration is available on the 2016 Small City Workshops page.
     
  • Conference Registration Opens June 1 

    Friday, May 27, 2016

    ​Registration and hotel room blocks for the League’s Annual Conference and Exhibit open Wednesday, June 1.
    Plan ahead since you must register for conference before booking a hotel room through the online Housing Bureau. The Bureau is new this year, and registered attendees will receive a link to the Housing Bureau after registering. For those who mail their payment, an email with housing information will be sent when payment is received.
     
    The conference, themed “The Power of Cities”, is the largest training in the state designed specifically for Iowa’s elected and appointed city officials. The conference also includes ample opportunity to network with peers and learn from one another. Check out the upcoming June issue of Cityscape magazine for the conference brochure, or check the League Web site. There you’ll find information on workshops, speakers and other conference events.
     
    No matter the villains your city faces, the power of education can make you the superhero your city needs. Join us September 14-16 in Des Moines at this event planned just for you! #IowaLeague16
     
  • IEDA to Host Downtown Forums 

    Friday, May 27, 2016

    ​The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) Downtown Resource Center is hosting four downtown forums in June to bring together community leaders interested in engaging in a discussion about their downtowns. Iowa Downtown Resource Center staff will facilitate discussions and give brief presentations related to downtown development. The focus will be on downtown design issues such as building rehabilitation projects, incentives, maintenance programs and streetscape projects. 

    The forums will be held at the following locations:

    June 7 – City Park Bandshell, Lakeview Room, 10 N Lakeview Drive in Clear Lake
    June 8 – Kirkwood Community College, 111 W 3rd Street in Vinton
    June 21 – Albia Chamber of Commerce, 18 S Main Street in Albia
    June 22 – Chamber Community Building, 407 W 5th Street in Carroll

    The downtown forums are free to attend, and anyone interested needs to register online and select the location and date of the forum they plan to attend.

     
  • U.S. Department of Labor to Hold Webinar on New Overtime Rule 

    Friday, May 27, 2016

    ​The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will hold a webinar on June 8 at noon that will detail how new overtime rules affect state and local governments. The DOL recently announced new overtime rules that will become effective December 1, 2016. The main emphasis of the new rules is an increase to the salary threshold for being classified as an exempt (or salaried) employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    The current salary threshold is $23,660 annually or $455 per week. Effective December 1, this will be raised to $47,476 annually or $913 per week (this is lower than the initial proposed increase to $50,440 that was announced last year). The new rules also include a provision for increases to occur every three years so the threshold stays at the 40th percentile of full-time salaries in the lowest economic region of the country.

     
  • Active Shooter Training from ICAP 

    Thursday, May 26, 2016

    The Iowa Communities Assurance Pool will host their 2016 Education Summit on Wednesday, July 20 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Johnston.

    This four-hour presentation will provide elected officials and city leaders with a scholastic, fact-based examination of active shooter events. Through these presentations, attendees will come to understand not only the nature of an active shooter threat, but also the overarching objectives public safety responders must accomplish at these events. In addition, data will be provided to help officials gauge the needs and risks of an active shooter in their own communities.

    Dr. Mike Clumpner, a 25-year veteran of public safety and a sworn law enforcement officer and instructor, will lead this event. Clumpner is an instructor for the Department of Homeland Security and is recognized as a national expert in active shooter response by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense and the Department of Education.

    The event is free for ICAP member representatives; $50 for non-member representatives. Registration and more information is online.

     
     
  • NLC Infrastructure Report Available 

    Thursday, May 26, 2016

    ​The National League of Cities (NLC) recently released Paying for Infrastructure in a New Era of Federalism, a report that offers a state-by-state analysis and comparison of the local tools to fund infrastructure. Despite reduced funding and increasing mandates, cities are responsible for maintaining local roads, utility infrastructure and transportation systems. The report offers a look at the options local governments have in funding infrastructure needs and the challenges they face.
     
  • Clear Creek Watershed Bus Tour 

    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    The city of Coralville is hosting a bus tour on June 3 featuring urban and agricultural conservation practices to enhance water quality and reduce flooding in the Clear Creek Watershed. Participants meet at the Coral Ridge Mall in the Dillard's Parking lot. Check-in is at 9:30 a.m, tour is from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. and includes a lunch sponsored by HR Green. Limited spots are available, so RSVPs are required to dmarshek@coralville.org or (319) 248-1720.

    The tour includes:
    • A bioswale complex implemented as part of a large road reconstruction project on Coral Ridge Ave in Coralville (formerly HWY 965). This project was highlighted in the APWA Reporter in February 2016. 
    • Flow and water quality data gathered from this project will be presented by The University of Iowa and the Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research.  A cost feasibility study involving the project versus a more traditional approach to stormwater management will be discussed.  The results of the study will be handed out to all attendees. 
    • A modern, industrial row cropped farm which has implemented grass waterways, mulch-based infiltration areas, stream buffers and ponds.
    • An agricultural tile monitoring project and the water quality results from these surface and sub-surface tile lines will be presented.
     
  • IEDA Announces CDBG Funding Recipients 

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    ​The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently announced $19.6 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding awards to 59 different communities across the state. The grants support a variety of important community projects, including public facilities, water and sewer infrastructure, downtown revitalization and improving low-income housing conditions. A full list of the awarded projects can be seen on the IEDA Web site.

    The Community Development Block Grant program is federally funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). IEDA is responsible for administering the CDBG funds in the non-metropolitan areas of the state. Applications are solicited annually, usually during the fall.

     
  • Flawed Situtational Awareness: The Stealth Killer of First Responders 

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    The Iowa Fire Service Training Bureau, in cooperation with the Iowa Association of Professional Fire Chiefs, hosts Flawed Situtational Awareness: The Stealth Killer of First Responders presented by Rich Gasaway on July 7.

    Gasaway served 33 years a firefighter, EMT-Paramedic and fire chief; and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree while studying how individuals, teams and organizations develop and maintain situational awareness and make decisions in high-stress, high-consequence, time-compressed environments. 

    Learn more online.

     
  • New Overtime Rules Announced 

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    ​The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced new overtime rules that will become effective December 1, 2016. The main emphasis of the new rules is an increase to the salary threshold for being classified as an exempt (or salaried) employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    The current salary threshold is $23,660 annually or $455 per week. Effective December 1, this will be raised to $47,476 annually or $913 per week (this is lower than the initial proposed increase to $50,440 that was announced last year). The new rules also include a provision for increases to occur every three years so the threshold stays at the 40th percentile of full-time salaries in the lowest economic region of the country.

    In addition to meeting the salary threshold, exempt employees must also pass a duties test that determines if they fit into one of three categories: executive, professional or administrative. The new rules made no changes to the duties test or categories. Please visit our Overtime page to read more about the duties test.

    If an employee does not qualify as an exempt employee through either the salary threshold or duties test, they must be classified as a non-exempt employee. Such employees must be compensated for any time worked over 40 hours in a work week. If overtime pay is used, the rate of pay is 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Governmental employers may also provide compensatory time off instead of overtime payments, which is accrued at a rate of 1.5 hours of time off for each overtime hour worked.

    The new rules do not impact the FLSA exemption for fire protection or law enforcement employers if they employ fewer than five fire protection or law enforcement employees (counted separately). Fire protection and law enforcement employees will also continue to be allowed to use "work periods" rather than "work weeks" - this partial exemption allows cities to establish different work periods of 7 to 28 days rather than a strict seven-day workweek and have a higher number of weekly non-overtime hours. Please see our Overtime Rules for Public Safety Employees page for more details.

    A helpful fact sheet on the DOL's Web site offers more details on how the new rules will impact state and local governments. It also offers guidance for the use of compensatory time off, the special rules for fire protection and law enforcement employees, and other related information.

    Cities are encouraged to evaluate its workforce and review the exempt and non-exempt classifications of employees, job descriptions and duties, salary levels, and overtime and comp time usage. Keep in mind that exempt employees must meet both the salary threshold and duties test to be classified as exempt.

     
  • Iowa Lean Consortium Awards Nominations Open 

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    The Iowa Lean Consortium invites nominations for its Iowa Partners in Efficiency Award to celebrate Lean successes in government. Nominations are open until June 12. There is also a category for individual awards, due August 26, though this category is not limited to government nominees.​
     
  • Placemaking Webinar Now Available! 

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    The Placemaking: Building Your Community Identity is now available! The pre-recorded webinar provides guiadance on how cities can identify cultural assets in their community and help enhance their sense of place. Read more about the webinar below and register online to gain access.

    What: Placemaking: Building Your Community Identity
    Speaker: Jennifer Drinkwater, Iowa State University Extension
    Registration: $35 | Register Online

    A sense of place is important for all communities as it helps give a positive identity for residents and an image that can attract businesses and visitors. So how do you build that sense of place? Placemaking is a method to identify ways to build a positive image for a community, which can include public art, cultural attractions, recreational opportunities and much more.
     
    Below are the webinars to be released later this year. More information is available on the 2016 Webinar Series page.
    • Understanding Iowa's Property Tax System | Available Now
    • Assessing and Replacing Outdated Utility Infrastructure | Available Now
    • Placemaking: Building Your Community Identity | Available Now
    • Open Meetings and Open Records Laws and Best Practices | August 16
    • Human Resources Management for Cities | October 18

    Each webinar will be pre-recorded and released on the date listed. The webinars will be archived, giving registrants the ability to access and view any purchased webinar whenever they like. Webinars from the 2014 series and 2015 series are also archived and available for purchase.  

     
  • Iowa DOT Releases Five-Year Transportation Improvement Plan 

    Friday, May 13, 2016

    The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently released a draft of its five-year Iowa Transportation Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2017-2021. The plan details future improvements to the state’s multimodal transportation system, including aviation, transit, railroads, trails and highways. The Iowa Transportation Commission will consider adopting the plan at its June 14 meeting in Cedar Falls. Public comments are being accepted on the program's Web site.

    The draft 5-year plan includes approximately $3.5 billion for highway right-of-way and construction with a primary investment objective of stewardship (i.e. safety, maintenance and modernization) of Iowa’s existing highway system. More than $1.6 billion is programmed in FY 2017 through FY 2021 for modernization of Iowa’s existing highway system and for enhanced highway safety features. In addition, the commission added construction for four-lane improvements to U.S. 61 in Des Moines County and accelerated the construction of U.S. 30 in Benton County.

    A large part of funding available for highway programming comes from the federal government. Accurately estimating future federal funding levels is dependent on having a multiyear federal transportation authorization bill. The current authorization, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, was signed into law on December 4, 2015. For the first time in many years, this authorization bill provides federal funding certainty for most of the time period covered by the five-year plan.

     
  • ICIT Mid-Year 2016 

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    ​The Iowa Counties Information Technology Organization(ICIT) holds a training conference for local government IT professionals each year. From June 15-17, ICIT will offer a full slate of local government IT topics from Active Directory to cybersecurity, from GIS to Hyper-V, from Spiceworks to Video Surveillance. ICIT Mid-Year 2016 will be held at the West Des Moines Marriott. Learn more about ICIT and its Mid-Year conference online.
     
  • 2016 Tractor Mower Operator Safety Training Workshop 

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    ​The Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program (Iowa LTAP) is offering two session of their Tractor Mower Operator Safety Training workshop. It is a one-day workshop on best safety practices for industrial and roadside mower operator safety. All tractor mower operators and their supervisors are encouraged to attend either the June 7 in Des Moines or June 8 in Iowa City session. The workshop will include classroom and hands-on operator training.

    More information and registration is available on the online the event Web page.

    Iowa LTAP is dedicated to helping Iowa's local governments keep up with growing demands on local roads, streets, bridges and public transportation. The center provides technical and management assistance to Iowa's local transportation officials through a variety of programs.