In The News

  • Derecho Community Forestry Grant Program 

    Tuesday, August 03, 2021

    The Iowa Legislature appropriated state infrastructure funds to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to be used for a community-based tree planting program for derecho recovery.

    The Derecho Community Forestry Grant Program provides reimbursable grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 to be used for the purchase and planting of trees suitable to Iowa on publicly owned lands. Qualifying public planting lands include, but are not limited to, street right-of-ways, parks, school grounds, courthouse lawns, public buildings, fairgrounds, cemeteries, libraries and trails. Award recipients are required to provide a dollar-for-dollar cash match to purchase trees and materials from Iowa businesses.

    A total of $250,000 in matching funds will be made available to local governments, schools and service organizations in the 27 Iowa counties included in the Governor’s Derecho Disaster Proclamation for planting trees. The application and rules are available on the Iowa Department of Natural Resource's website​. Entities may submit multiple proposals. Applications are due by August 20. For more information, contact Gabriele Edwards at (515)822-1031.

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  • Equity in Iowa 

    Tuesday, August 03, 2021

    Leaders in local government in Iowa all play a role in advancing our shared values around equity, inclusion, and a government that works for all. To begin to expand the number of practitioners working to advance equity in Iowa, join a virtual convening of state, local, and regional government staff from Iowa on August 27 at 8:30 a.m. Register for the meeting​.

     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, August 02, 2021

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

     
  • Learn the Ten Habits of Highly Effective Councils at the Annual Conference and Exhibit 

    Monday, July 26, 2021

    ​Attendees of the 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibit will be able to choose from nearly 40 different educational workshops that will cover all sorts of important municipal government topics. Included in the lineup is "The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Councils," which will be presented by Pat Callahan and feature guidance on how some councils are able to work well together and complete important work for their community. Hear best practices from cities around the state on how to improve teamwork, set goals, establish procedures and assess results.

    The full conference lineup is available at www.iowaleague.org and online registration is available. Join us September 15-17 in Coralville for the largest statewide conference devoted to city government officials! ​​​​

     
  • IEDA Rural Leadership Program Announces Grant Opportunity 

    Monday, July 26, 2021

    ​The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently announced a new grant opportunity through its Rural Leadership Program. The program provides training, mentorship and funding to rural communities and regions initiating leadership programs. This program is a result of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative’s 2018 Recommendations.

     This $1,000 grant, with a $500 cash match, can be leveraged to launch new leadership programs. The grant program requires participation in a two-day Leadership event to develop a work plan, secure a program mentor, and learn from other communities. This year’s Rural Leadership Exchange & Bootcamp will occur October 26-27, in Newton, Iowa. More information is available on the Rural Leadership Program webpage. ​​​

     
  • Vacant State Building Program has Funds Available 

    Monday, July 26, 2021

    The Iowa Economic Development Authority​ (IEDA) has funding available in its Vacant State Building Program designed to mitigate dilapidated, state-owned properties that can be redeveloped for economic development purposes. A total of $750,000 in grants and $750,000 in forgivable loan funds is available to cities or counties with a complete plan to demolish or rehabilitate currently vacant or under-utilized former state-owned facilities. Vacant State Building funds cannot provide more than 50% of the cost of a demolition project. Communities may request both grant and forgivable loan funds for the same project/facility. Priority will be given to communities that have not been a prior recipient of these funds.

    Monies will be awarded on a competitive basis. Grant application forms and instructions are available at iowagrants.gov. Applications will be accepted through September 30 and awards will be announced on or around October 31.​​

     
  • A New Episode of The Square Is Out! 

    Tuesday, July 20, 2021

    It may be summer, but this fall’s regular city elections are right around the corner. This month, we brought in Heidi Burhans with the Secretary of State’s Office, a true expert in all things election. We discuss what cities need to do to prepare, the nomination process, what is required for someone to be eligible to be a candidate for elective office in Iowa and much more. We then welcome Greg Broussard with Bolton & Menk, an engineering firm that works with clients all over the state and is a League Community Alliance Partner. Greg shares what projects we should be looking out for around the state. Listen to Episode 30​

     
  • Fluoridation Notification 

    Monday, July 19, 2021

    A new law on fluoridation notification took effect July 1 and now requires an owner or operator of a public water supply system to notify consumers served by the water system and the Iowa Department of Public Health at least ninety days prior to taking any action to permanently discontinue fluoridation of its water supply. ​​

     
  • Annual Conference and Exhibit Offers Leadership Seminar 

    Monday, July 19, 2021

    ​The 2021 Annual Conference & Exhibit, to be held September 15-17 in Coralville, will include the yearly Leadership Seminar to offer attendees an opportunity to enhance their leadership skills. This year's seminar is titled Hope Inspires Action: Leading Positive Community Change and will be presented by Dave Ivan, Director of the Community, Food & Environment Institute at Michigan State University Extension.

    The seminar aims to unpack the notion of hope in the context of creating a community-wide vision for positive change. The presentation includes moving stories of community leaders that are creating hope in their communities by matching their citizen’s dreams with an inspiring community vision and can-do attitude.

    Online registration is open for the conference, the largest statewide gathering designed specifically for city officials. ​​​

     
  • Federal Agencies Launch StopRansomware.gov 

    Friday, July 16, 2021

    ​Multiple federal agencies have collaborated to launch StopRansomware.gov as a "one-stop-shop" to help combat ransomware. The new hub centralizes all of the federal resources and guidance available to avoid, fix and report ransomware attacks. The site also features alerts of ransomware known to be currently active and a toolkit for the Reduce the Risk of Ransomware campaign. The kit features materials that would be ideal for use in city newsletters and social media platforms.

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  • Estimates Available for FY 2022 Farm-to-Mark Road Funding 

    Friday, July 09, 2021

    ​The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) has released its Fiscal Year 2022 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 the maintenance of FM roads in cities with a population of 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 all or a portion 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 State Treasurer of Iowa website​.​​​​
     
  • IEDA Announces Community Reinvestment Funding Awards 

    Thursday, July 01, 2021

    The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently announced the award of funding to six Reinvestment District program applicants. The Iowa Reinvestment District Program is designed to assist communities in developing transformative projects that will improve the quality of life, create and enhance unique opportunities and substantially benefit the community, region and state. Additionally, Reinvestment Districts are characterized by multiple development projects instead of a single project. The program provides up to $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to be “reinvested” within approved districts.

    Funding was awarded to Ames, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Urbandale and Newton for various initiatives that will help spur redevelopment in key neighborhoods and bring amenities to each city. Full details of each community project can be seen on the IEDA website. ​​​​

     
  • 26 Communities Earn Community Catalyst Funding 

    Thursday, July 01, 2021

    ​The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently announced its 2021 Community Catalyst funding recipients. Communities will receive a total of $2.6 million in funding through the Community Catalyst program, which assists communities with the redevelopment, rehabilitation, or deconstruction of buildings to stimulate economic growth or reinvestment in the community.

    According to program rules, at least 40% of the grants are awarded to cities with populations of less than 1,500. A full list of the communities and projects can be seen on the IEDA website. ​​​

     
  • FY 2022 Publication Rate Announced 

    Thursday, July 01, 2021

    ​The Iowa Department of Administrative Services recently set the publication rate for Fiscal Year 2022. Effective July 1, 2021, each line of eight-point type two inches in length, or its equivalent, for the publication in a newspaper of any notice, order or other required publication is subject to the following rate:
    • One insertion = 52.4 cents
    • Each subsequent insertion = 35.3 cents
    As required by state law, the rate was calculated by applying the consumer price index for all urban consumers as determined by the Department of Labor, which increased 4.2% from April 2020 to April 2021 to the previous rate. Cities are encouraged to review publication rates to ensure all charges are accurate.
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  • Wichita State University Planning Tool 

    Tuesday, June 29, 2021

    Wichita State University Environmental Finance Center’s Community Sustainability Tool is a
    user-friendly planning resource that helps municipalities, states, and other organizations assess
    if their community's water/wastewater rates can potentially support infrastructure investments
    into the future. Learn more about WSU’s Community Sustainability Tool by visiting its website​
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