In The News

  • 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.​​
  • Grant Writing Workshop December 15 

    Tuesday, November 17, 2020

    Register now for Grant Writing 101 for Cities workshop that focuses on grants and resources related to Iowa cities. The workshop will be presented via Zoom by ISU Extension and Outreach community development specialists on December 15 from 10 to 2 p.m. City staff and officials are invited to learn how to find grant opportunities for cities and write successful grant applications. The fee for the workshop is $50, with up to 5 individuals allowed to participate per city. Registration is required by December 11. ​​
  • 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.​​​​

  • Hope VI Main Street Program Grants 

    Tuesday, November 10, 2020

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's HOPE VI Main Street Program provides grants to small communities to assist in the renovation of a historic or traditional central business district or Main Street area by replacing unused, obsolete, commercial space in buildings with affordable housing units. The obsolete building space property may be publicly or privately owned. The local government whose jurisdiction includes the Main Street area is the only entity that is eligible to receive an award. Applications submitted by other entities, e.g., the private property owner, are not eligible for an award. Applications are due by January 19.

    The objectives of the program are to:

    • Redevelop central business districts (Main Street areas).

    • Preserve historic or traditional Main Street area properties by replacing unused commercial space in buildings with affordable housing units.

    • Enhance economic development efforts in Main Street areas.

    • Provide affordable housing in Main Street areas.

  • FY 2022 Rollback Numbers Released 

    Monday, November 09, 2020

    ​​The Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR) has issued the annual Assessment Limitations Order, or “rollback,” on property values. These adjustments are the percentage of property valuation that is subject to taxation necessary to comply with state law. The Fiscal Year 2022 rollback numbers can be seen below:
    ​Property Class ​FY 2022 Rollback Percentage
    ​Agricultural ​84.0305%
    ​Commercial 90%
    ​Industrial 90%
    ​Railroad ​90%
    ​Residential ​56.4094%
    ​Multi-Residential 67.5%

    The 2013 overhaul to the property tax system continues to take effect. Previously, state law allowed no more than a 4 percent increase from year to year in the taxable values for agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial property classifications. Effective with the 2013 assessment limitation order, the increase in taxable values for the agricultural and residential property classifications was limited to 3 percent. Additionally, the assessment limitation for commercial, industrial and railroad properties is fixed at 10 percent. The Multi-Residential property class continues on its 8-year rollback schedule with another drop.

    County auditors will apply the adjustments to each property class to calculate the taxable values used for property taxes. Tax liabilities, based on 2020 taxable values and payable in Fiscal Years 2021 and 2022, will not be determined until early next year when local taxing bodies establish their property tax needs.

    More information will be available in the League's annual Budget Special Report, to be released soon, which contains a variety of helpful budget and finance information. Analysis of this information and much more will be provided at the 2020 Budget Workshops.
  • The Municipal Professionals Institute Format Is Changing 

    Tuesday, November 03, 2020

    The 2021 Iowa Municipal Professionals Institute is changing the format. There will now be two virtual sessions and one in-person session. All classes are still live and interactive and require you to be in attendance. The first virtual session will be on February 10-12, 2021.
    In-person sessions will be held July 19-22,2021 and the second virtual session will take place on October 6-8, 2021. Please see the MPI/MPA website for more information.
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, November 02, 2020

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

  • 2021 City Clerk Calendar Now Available 

    Monday, November 02, 2020

    The 2021 City Calendar is now available, offering details on various deadlines and other important events. This includes the annual city budget, audits and financial examinations, the Street Finance Report, the Annual Financial Report and many more. Deadlines for other employer filings are noted, such as W-2 and 1099 submittals. The calendar lists dates for several national and state conferences, including events hosted by the League, Iowa Municipal Finance Officers Association, Iowa City/County Management Association and others.

  • IEDA to Offer Virtual Community Catalyst Application Workshops 

    Monday, November 02, 2020

    ​​The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) will offer a virtual application workshop on its Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program. The recorded workshop will provide attendees a chance to learn more about the program, including pre-application and final application requirements.

    The Community Catalyst Program aims to provide grants to communities for the redevelopment, rehabilitation or deconstruction of buildings to stimulate economic growth or reinvestment in the community. Funding will be based on availability with a maximum grant of $100,000. In addition, 40 percent of funds will be awarded to cities with populations fewer than 1,500.

    Applications will be by invitation only and a mandatory pre-application process will precede the official grant application. Strong applications will show the potential of catalytic economic growth in the community, improve appearances and safety, make use of underutilized property, exhibit appropriate design standards, and be well-funded. Economic growth may include the creation of additional jobs, growth of new or existing businesses, development of new housing units, increased property values or potential population growth.

    Any questions may be directed to Jim Thompson at IEDA: (515) 348-6183 or​.

  • Iowa LTAP Work Zone Sign Package Program Applications Due November 27 

    Monday, November 02, 2020

    The Iowa Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) Small City Work Zone Sign Package Program is open and will be accepting applications until November 27. The program assists small cities, less than 10,000 in population, to make their work zones safer for workers and the public by acquiring a basic work zone sign/device package. Applications can be found on Iowa LTAP's website​.
  • USDA Seeks Applications for Community Connect Grants to Fund Broadband 

    Monday, October 12, 2020

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications to provide broadband service in unserved rural areas.
    USDA is making grants available under the Community Connect Grant program for Fiscal Year 2021. The program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants that will provide broadband service in rural, economically-challenged communities where broadband service does not exist. Grant recipients must provide broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to all premises in the proposed service area.Applications are due by December 23​.
  • Census & Differential Privacy 

    Friday, October 09, 2020

    Did you know the census intends to apply a new privacy methodology called differential privacy to its 2020 counts? The tradeoff is a significant increase in data inaccuracy, that may impact cities in a number of ways. One concern is that cities may not receive equitable funding distribution for those federal and state programs that use census counts distorted by differential privacy. Read more on the census and differential privacy​.​​​​​

    The Iowa League of Cities submitted a letter stating related concerns to the Census Bureau. 
  • IDOM Releases Commercial & Industrial Backfill Payment Estimates 

    Thursday, October 08, 2020

    ​The​ Iowa Department of Management (IDOM) has released estimates for local government commercial and industrial property tax replacement, or backfill, payments for FY 2021​.​​ The analysis takes the estimated commercial and industrial backfill payments by tax district calculated by the Iowa Department of Revenue and breaks the payments down by tax levy to be reimbursed. Local governments can use this estimate to plan the amount of replacement that will go into each fund.​​​​