In The News

  • Gable and Leath to speak at League Conference 

    Monday, July 06, 2015

    ​The League is excited to announced the general session speakers for the Annual Conference & Exhibit, which will be held September 23-25 in Cedar Rapids.

    Iowa State University President Steven Leath will provide the keynote address for the Opening General Session. Dr. Leath became the 15th president of Iowa State University in January 2012.

    The Closing Brunch will feature Dan Gable, former Iowa State wrestler, University of Iowa wrestling coach and Olympic Gold Medalist.

    Registration is currently available. Learn more about all the conference events on our Web site.
     
  • Fiscal Conditions Report 

    Monday, July 06, 2015

    T​he 2015 Fiscal Conditions Report highlights economic research, fiscal trends and demographics for communities across Iowa. While every community has its own city story and fiscal conditions, this report looks at trends and factors special to Iowa.

    Please feel free to contact the League for more details about this report and your community.

     
  • New Laws of Interest to Cities 2015 released 

    Monday, July 06, 2015

    ​The League released its New Laws of Interest to Cities 2015 Special Report last week, then updated it almost immediately when Governor Branstad took action on the bills on his desk on July 2. The updated version of New Laws is available in the League's Publication library. You will need to log in to access the Publications library.
     
  • U.S. Department of Labor Announces Proposed Overtime Rule Changes 

    Thursday, July 02, 2015

    ​The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced its proposed rule changes regarding overtime and which employees are exempt from overtime compensation. The proposed changes mainly address the wage thresholds for executive, administrative and professional ("white collar") workers to be exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and would take effect in 2016.

    The DOL last updated these regulations in 2004 and the current salary threshold for exemption is $455 per week ($23,660 per year). The proposed changes would increase the salary threshold by:

    • Setting the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers ($921 per week, or $47,892 annually)
    • Increasing the total annual compensation requirement needed to exempt highly compensated employees (HCEs) to the annualized value of the 90th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers ($122,148 annually)
    • Establishing a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels going forward to ensure that they will continue to provide a useful and effective test for exemption.

    Additional information, including how to submit comments regarding the proposed rules, is available on the DOL Web site.

     
  • IMPI/IMPA Deadlines Looming 

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015

    Be sure to get your reservations in for the Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute (MPI), July 20-24 and 27-29, or Iowa Municipal Professionals Academy (MPA), July 29-31, sessions. Sweatshirt orders are due June 30. Learn more and register online.

    MPI registration is due July 10, and MPA is due July 22. Payments may be mailed to the League to avoid the credit card charges.​

     
  • League Conference Includes Small City Workshop Track 

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    ​The 2015 Annual Conference and Exhibit, to be held September 23-25 in Cedar Rapids, will include a workshop track designed for small cities. The workshops listed below will feature information and guidance of particular interest to small city officials. However, as with all workshops, officials from any sized city are welcome to attend.
    • I'm in Charge of What? (Thursday, 8:30-9:30 a.m.)
    • Lessons Learned from Elkader’s Flood Recovery and Redevelopment (Thursday, 10:45-11:45 a.m.)
    • Promoting Local Recycling Opportunities (Thursday, 2:15-3:15 p.m.)
    • Resilient Cities (Thursday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.)
    The small city workshop track is part of the full conference workshop schedule, which includes over 40 options that cover a range of issues important to city officials. See the full conference schedule to learn about these workshops and register for the conference.
     
  • Storm Damage to Federal-aid Routes 

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    Due to the recent weather events taking place across the state occurring June 22, 2015 and continuing, the Iowa Department of Transportation's (DOT) Office of Traffic Operations is seeking estimates of damage to Federal-aid routes, which include major collectors and above on the Rural Federal Functional Classification maps, and collectors and above on the Urban Federal Functional Classification maps. These maps are available on the County and City Maps page.

    The DOT is collecting this information to determine whether there is enough damage to request funding under the Federal Highway Adminstration’s Emergency Relief (FHWA's ER) program. This is a different program than Federal Emergency Management Administration’s program, which covers non-Federal-aid eligible routes. 

    Please send Brian Pribyl your estimates as soon as you have them. All that is needed at this point is a dollar amount and a brief damage description comment such as flood, debris, erosion, traffic control, slides, etc. Typically the DOT does not see many storm damage estimates from cities. The DOT is trying to discern if the lack of reporting is due to lack of awareness of FHWA’s ER program or if simply there has not been much storm damage on city roads eligible for aid.

    For further information, contact: 
    Brian Pribyl
    Office of Traffic Operations
    Iowa Department of Transportation
    (515) 233-7850
    Brian.Pribyl@dot.iowa.gov

    To find your City’s map on the County and City Maps page, first click on the county where your City is located.  Then select “Federal Functional Classifications maps” in the gray box on the right side of the page.  Next, select your City’s map from the list that appears.  For the urban area maps, routes that are identified as “Interstate”, “Other Principal Arterial”, “Minor Arterial”, and “Collector” are Federal-aid routes.  For cities whose urban area is under 5,000 in population, please review your County’s map.  Roads that are identified as “Interstate”, “Other Principal Arterial”, “Minor Arterial”, and “Major Collector” are Federal-aid routes.

     
  • IDOT Offers Sign Replacement Program for Cities 

    Thursday, June 25, 2015

    ​The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) is accepting applications for its Sign Replacement Program for Cities. The program is designed to help cities replace damaged, obsolete or substandard signs and signposts. Up to $5,000 per community is available, and grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. All eligible applicants are encouraged to apply even if they have already participated in a similar program in a previous year.

    Additional information about the program and application forms are available on the IDOT's Web site.

     
  • Workforce Housing Loan Program Offers Financial Assistance to Cities 

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) is seeking interest from cities in the Workforce Housing Loan Program, which is designed to provide financial assistance to cities through repayable loans. Cities that demonstrate a need for additional workforce rental housing as a result of employment growth are eligible for the program.

    IFA will award funding on a competitive basis and loans will be made at 1 percent rate of interest with a maximum term of 20 years - the applicant may in turn loan or grant the funding to a workforce housing developer or owner. Please contact Carolann Jensen at IFA for additional information, including program and application requirements (please use subject line "Workforce Housing").

     
  • Food Waste Compost Training 

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    The Iowa Waste and Reduction Center (IWRC) announces a first of its kind event - Food Waste Compost Training: On the Farm and in Your Community. The one-day workshop, presented by the Office of the President at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), will take place on Thursday, August 20 at the Center for Energy and Environmental Education on the UNI campus. Utilizing the knowledge and capabilities of the USCC, the event will focus on the fundamentals and key variables of the composting process, as well as how to incorporate utilizing food waste.

    The training will be led by Robert Rynk, an expert in compost research with the U.S. Composting Council. Sessions will include preventing odors, managing stormwater, using food waste as feedstock and much more.

    Early bird registration is $20 and includes a light breakfast, lunch and parking. Seating is limited. More information and registration is available at iwrc.org/compost.

     
  • Rural Community Development Initiative Grants Available to Cities 

    Monday, June 22, 2015

    ​The USDA Rural Community Development Initiative provides grants to help non-profit housing and community development organizations support housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas. The program provides technical assistance for grantees in the following ways:

    • Strategic plan development
    • Accessing alternative funding sources
    • Board training
    • Developing successful child care facilities
    • Creating training tools, such as videos, workbooks, and reference guides
    • Effective fundraising techniques

    Rural areas, including cities, outside the boundaries of a city of 50,000 in population or more are eligible for funding. The grant application deadline is August 13 and more information is available on the USDA Web site.

     
  • City Clerk Track Included in Annual Conference Workshop Slate 

    Monday, June 22, 2015

    The city clerk workshop track at the Annual Conference and Exhibit (September 23-25 in Cedar Rapids) will feature a variety of topics important to clerks. The clerk track will offer five different workshops throughout the conference; as with each workshop offered at the conference, all city officials are invited to attend. This year, the clerk track will include the following workshops:

    • Credit Outlook for Iowa Local Governments (Thursday, 8:30-9:30 a.m.)
    • Developing and Maintaining Effective Working Relationships (Thursday, 10:45-11:45 a.m.)
    • Outstanding bonds? Reporting and Disclosure Update (Thursday, 2:15-3:15 p.m.)
    • Using State Bids to Maximize Your Purchasing Power (Friday, 8-9 a.m.)
    • Effectively Managing Public Records Requests (Friday, 9:15-10 a.m.)
    The city clerk track is part of the conference's overall workshop schedule, which includes more than 40 options that cover a wide range of municipal government issues. See the full conference schedule to learn about these workshops and register for the conference.
     
  • IDOT Updates Road Use Tax Fund Per Capita Distribution Estimates 

    Friday, June 19, 2015

    ​The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently released its latest Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF) distribution estimates. The RUTF is state-shared revenue designed to assist state, county and city governments with the construction, repair and maintenance of Iowa’s road infrastructure. The fund is accumulated through motor vehicle registration fees, motor vehicle fuel taxes, an excise tax imposed on the rental of automobiles and a use tax on trailers. The fuel tax rate was increased by 10 cents through action taken during the 2015 legislative session (resulting in a rate of 31 cents per gallon of gasoline and 32.5 cents per gallon of diesel).

    Fiscal Year
    IDOT Street Per Capita Forecast
    FY 2016
    $120.50
    FY 2017
    $121.00
    FY 2018
    $121.00
    FY 2019
    $122.00
    FY 2020
    $123.00


    Cities are reminded that the IDOT issues per capita forecasts only. Cities are only entitled to receive their share of the amount actually collected. The estimates are subject to dramatic changes and cities should consider using a conservative estimate.

     
  • Downtown Revitalization Conference 

    Friday, June 19, 2015

    The 29th annual Iowa Downtown Summit will bring practical ideas and solutions for preservation based downtown revitalization that are relevant to rural, mid-sized and urban communities. Make new connections with professionals and volunteers involved in commercial district revitalization. Learn how to discover, retain and enhance your community’s sense of place. Get new tools to keep your downtown vibrant and competitive in today's market.

    The Iowa Downtown Summit offers:

    • Two full days of timely and relevant sessions offering fresh, topical ideas presented by industry experts
    • Educational tours and field sessions
    • Exhibit hall featuring vendors showcasing resources that will be of interest to YOU! Have your passport stamped to be eligible for a drawing for valuable prizes, including an iPad mini and a Des Moines gift basket. 
    • Opportunities to network with people who recognize the importance of downtown revitalization 
    • Learning units for professional development 
    • Private appointments to speak with Downtown Specialists from the Iowa Economic Development Authority

    The Iowa Downtown Summit is brought to you by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center, in partnership with the Historic Valley Junction Foundation and the city of West Des Moines.

    The Iowa Downtown Summit will be held August 27-28 in West Des Moines’ Historic Valley Junction. For more information and to registervisit iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/DowntownSummit.
     
  • IDOT Provides FY 2016 Farm-to-Market Road Transfer Estimates 

    Thursday, June 18, 2015

    ​The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) has released its Fiscal Year 2016 estimates for the city's share of Road Use Tax Funds (RUTF) that is transferred to the county for maintenance of farm-to-market (FM) roads. Under state law, counties assume responsibility for maintenance of FM roads in cities with a population less than 500. The amount of associated RUTF is based on the total length of FM roads within the city.

    Many cities in this category have created 28E agreements with their county to return a portion or all of the responsibility for such roads back to the city, along with a corresponding amount of RUTF. These funds, like all RUTF, must be spent on road infrastructure related expenses. Cities can check their actual RUTF distributions by visiting the Treasurer of State Web site.