In The News

  • Cities in the News 

    Tuesday, May 21, 2019

    ​The Iowa League of Cities collects news articles from the week to share with our members. Cities are doing great things around the state, and we want to celebrate your success with you. If your city is in the news please share it with us at citynews@iowaleague.org.     

    Note: The articles compiled above come from independent media sources who are solely responsible for their content. Iowa League of Cities staff did not participate in writing any of these articles and Iowa League of Cities does not necessarily endorse the content of the articles. Some articles may be available only by subscription. All cities in the news will not be featured each week.​​

     
  • Bags & Golf Tourney 

    Tuesday, May 21, 2019

    Join the Iowa League of Cities on Friday, June 14 at Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny for the second annual Iowa League of Cities Bags & Golf Tourney, a fundraiser for the Tim Shields Endowment Fund. Don’t golf? Join the Bags Tournament! Anyone can easily master this classic tailgate and backyard game.

     
  • I-380 Planning Study 

    Tuesday, May 21, 2019

    The Iowa Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting Wednesday, June 19 to discuss the U.S. 30 Planning Study, from just east of Lisbon to just west of DeWitt, and to gather public feedback on the materials presented, which include the preliminary road profiles, potential corridor limits, and economic analysis along the corridor. Findings from this study will guide future environmental considerations and design improvements in the coming years.

    All interested persons are invited to attend this meeting anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. at the North Cedar High School gymnasium, 400 Ball Street, in Clarence. The meeting will be conducted utilizing an open forum format. Iowa DOT staff will be present to informally discuss the planning study. No formal presentation will be made.

    If you are not able to attend this meeting, information and materials will be available online at: www.iowadot.gov/pim. The meeting space is accessible for persons with disabilities. However, if you require special accommodations at the meeting, please notify the Iowa DOT contact listed to the left by June 17.

    To submit a comment online about this project or receive future email notifications, go to: www.bit.ly/US30PEL.

    An introductory video explaining the purpose and initial studies completed for the U.S. 30 Planning Study was released on April 3, 2019 and is still available to view at: www.iowadot.gov/pim

    Iowa DOT District 6 Office
    5455 Kirkwood Blvd. SW
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
    Phone: 319-364-0235 or
    800-866-4368

    Cedar County:
    catherine.cutler@iowadot.us

    Clinton County:
    sam.shea@iowadot.us

    Online Comments:
    www.bit.ly/US30PEL

     
  • 2019 Legislative Session 

    Tuesday, May 21, 2019

    Governor Reynolds continues to sign legislation that was passed during the 2019 legislative session. After the legislative session concludes, Governor Reynolds has a 30 window to sign or veto legislation. That 30 day period ends on May 27, 2019. The League will releases its annual New Laws of Interest to Cities after all legislative action is concluded.

     
  • 2019 Small City Workshops Begin Soon!  

    Monday, May 20, 2019

    Join us for the 2019 Small City Workshops, which will visit six cities around the state in June. This year's topic will provide guidance on a critical issue around the state - how cities can improve local housing opportunities. Many communities struggle to find ways to improve housing options that will both retain current residents and attract a few new ones.

    The workshops will feature the Rural Housing 360 program, which was launched with the aim of boosting housing opportunities in rural Iowa communities. The collaborative program brings communities, developers, state and federal agencies, housing trusts and other interested parties together to improve local housing stock. The session will be led by representatives from Housing 360, who will detail how the program works and how communities can get involved. Hear some of the early success stories from cities around the state that are actively addressing housing concerns and improving their community.

    Below is the schedule for this year's workshops:

    June 4 - Oakland
    June 6 - Allison
    June 11 - Laurens
    June 13 - Shueyville
    June 18 - Eldon
    June 20 - Grand Junction

    Additional information and online registration is available on the 2019 Small City Workshops page.

     
  • City Street Finance Report Training 

    Wednesday, May 15, 2019

    Each Summer the Iowa DOT offers training classes for those interested in learning more about how to complete the City Street Finance Report (SFR).  These classes provide an overview of the entire reporting process, including where to find your information, what should be included, how to use the online system, filling out the forms, as well as time for questions.  Please read the descriptions below as the options have changed from previous years.  Some locations have limited seating so sign up early!

    Street Finance Report Training
    This class will cover everything you need to know to complete the SFR forms and navigate the electronic reporting process.  We will also cover upcoming changes so you can make changes in your general ledger now that will make next year’s report easier!  Everyone is welcome, but this class will be most helpful to those who are just starting out, have changed jobs, or still have questions as you look through the report.
    Credits:  3 IMFOA Hours 

    Street Finance Report Review  
    A compact review session will be held following the wrap up of the Municipal Professional’s Academy at Gateway Hotel in Ames.  This class is for city personnel who have completed the SFR previously and are just interested in the changes in the upcoming report along with a short review of the reporting process.
    Credits:  1.5 IMFOA Hours

    Class Locations and Dates 

    ​Location Date ​ ​Sessions Offered
    ​Ames​ ​Friday, July 26 ​Review Class 1-2:30 p.m.​​
    Creston
    ​Wednesday, July 31 ​​1-4 p.m. ​5-8 p.m.
    ​Monticello ​Wednesday, August 7 ​​1-4 p.m. ​5-8 p.m.
    ​Denison ​Wednesday, August 14​ ​​1-4 p.m. ​5-8 p.m.
    ​Kelley ​Thursday, August 15 ​​1-4 p.m. ​5-8 p.m.
    ​Fairfield ​Wednesday, August 21 ​​1-4 p.m. ​5-8 p.m.
    ​Algona ​Wednesday, August 28 ​​1-4 p.m. ​5-8 p.m.
    ​Calmar ​Wednesday, September 4 ​​1-4 p.m.​ ​5-8 p.m.
     
    And finally…Can’t make it to a class?  
    Thought of a question at an odd time and want to find the answer now?  
    Feel pretty confident with most of the report but need the “class” information for a section or two?  
    We’ve got you covered with online VIDEO!
    The training is posted in segments and may be viewed as many times as you’d like.  It is available NOW on the IDOT webpage at: https://iowadot.gov/local_systems/Street-Finance-Report-SFR/sfr-system
    No IMFOA Credits are available for watching this video training.

    Registration Process
    To register for a class, you are required to create an account on the IowaDOTU web page.  If you have previously created an account, please log in.  Once you are logged in, you can search for the classes:
    Step 1:  Click “Search” near the top of the page
    Step 2:  In the search field enter “City Street Finance Report”  
    *** Please note, this is a completely separate system than the one you use to log into for the Street Finance Report.  It most likely does not have the same user name or password.

    For more information about these training sessions, contact Mary Beth Sprouse at MaryBeth.Sprouse@iowadot.us​ or (515) 239-1256.

     
  • GrantFinder Subscription Available to League Members 

    Tuesday, May 14, 2019

    ​All cities are eligible to subscribe to GrantFinder, a program offered through the Iowa League of Cities' partnership with Praetorian Digital’s EfficientGov. EfficientGov is an information service that tracks innovative solutions to fiscal and operational challenges facing cities and towns across the country. EfficientGov provides local government leaders with unlimited access to information and tools that help reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of government.

    Through this partnership, the League is able to offer 100 of our members an annual subscription to GrantFinder, the largest searchable database of private, state and federal grants available to municipalities and local nonprofits. GrantFinder provides an excellent grant search function, a tracking system for grant application deadlines, a personalized grant calendar with programmed alerts and more.

    A subscription costs only $50 per year and is available on a first come, first serve basis until all subscriptions are purchased. If you are interested in receiving access, please contact Mickey Shields at mickeyshields@iowaleague.org or (515) 244-7282. Cities can also fill out the GrantFinder Order Form and mail it along with payment to the League to gain access.
     
  • Railroad Revolving Fund Accepting Grant Applications 

    Monday, May 13, 2019

    The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) is accepting funding applications for its Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant (RRLG) program, which provides financial assistance to improve rail facilities that will create jobs, spur economic activity and improve the rail transportation system in Iowa. The RRLG program has three funding categories under which eligible applicants may apply:
    • Targeted job creation
      Rail projects that provide immediate, direct job opportunities. Funding is contingent on job creation and retention commitments by the applicant. Both grants and loans are available. Grant requests require a 50 percent match contribution to the overall rail project cost. Loan requests require a 20 percent match contribution.
    • Rail network improvement
      Rail projects that support existing rail lines and service. No direct job creation is required. Only loans are available in this category. Loans will be offered at 0 percent for a 10-year term. Loan requests require a 20 percent match contribution.
    • Rail Port Planning and Development
      These studies will further efforts to plan, design and otherwise prepare for the development of rail port facilities. Grants will be available in this category. Grant requests require a 20 percent match contribution. No single award may be greater than $100,000.
    Applications for funding must be submitted by June 21 at 5 p.m. Additional information and applications are available on the RRLG Web site.
     
  • Funding Available Through State Recreational Trails Program 

    Monday, May 13, 2019

    ​Cities may apply for State Recreational Trails program (SRT) funding, offered through the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT). The program is accepting project applications until July 1 for Fiscal Year 2020 funding allocations. The SRT provides funds to establish recreational trails in Iowa for the use, enjoyment and participation of the public.

    Please contact Yvonne Diller, State Recreational Trails Program Manager, at yvonne.diller@iowadot.us or (515) 239-1252 if you have any questions or concerns. Visit the SRT page to see applications and instructions as well as more information about the program.

     
  • IEDA to Hold Downtown Forums 

    Tuesday, May 07, 2019

    ​The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s (IEDA) Downtown Resource Center will hold four downtown forums in July to bring together community leaders to discuss ideas, successes and challenges. Attendees will have an opportunity to share their experiences relating to the downtown forum discussion and communicate with other community leaders the exciting things occurring in their commercial districts.

    The day will include a self-assessment tool and discussion topics of five major characteristics that contribute to the success of a downtown. There will also be an overview of programs and grant opportunities for downtowns. The forums will be held at the following locations:

    July 16 – Sigourney, City Hall
    July 17 – Audubon, Library Cultural Center
    July 23 – Parkersburg, Civic Center
    July 24 – Cherokee, The Gathering Place

    The downtown forums are free to attend and additional information is available on the IEDA Web site.
     
  • Cityscape ePub 

    Monday, May 06, 2019

    The League's electronic Cityscape magazine for the May 2019 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.​​

     
  • Nuisance Abatement Discussed on The Square 

    Tuesday, April 30, 2019

    ​Nuisance abatement is the featured topic on this month's episode of The Square. Take a listen as we sit down with Charlie Nichols, Linn County's Planning & Zoning Division Manager and formerly with the City of Burlington. Charlie offers his thoughts on how cities can effectively manage nuisance properties and describes the Healthy Neighborhoods program in Burlington, a proactive approach that helps residents improve properties.

    The Your Questions Answered segment provides guidance on teenagers working for a city, and Katie Wheeler is featured in our Get to Know Your League interview. We also provide the answer to last month's trivia question: what is the oldest municipal golf course west of the Mississippi River? And offer the following for this month's trivia: which state has the most disc golf courses per capita? 

    As always, please send your trivia answers, questions and any comments to thesquare@iowaleague.org

     
  • ISU Extension Data for Decision Makers Reports on Housing and Health 

    Monday, April 29, 2019

    Iowa State University Extension Office of Community & Economic Development has released new local government Data for Decision Makers reports on housing and public health, by county. The reports provide a wealth of information on trends and data to help inform decision-making on these topics. Both reports will be updated annually.

    County Housing Data for Decision Makers: The housing series covers a wide range of housing data and information to help communities understand the housing landscape at the county level. It includes information on housing access, characteristics, affordability and demographics.

    Public Health Data for Decision Makers: A wide range of health data and information can help residents, health providers and policy makers understand the health situations and health needs of county residents. The report provides basic and summary health data and information at the county level. It can be a starting point for discussions on health issues, a guide for health needs, and help shape future programming and policies. 
     
  • ReConnect Rural Broadband Pilot Program Now Accepting Applications 

    Monday, April 29, 2019

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the first round of applications for the ReConnect Rural Broadband Pilot Program. The USDA is now accepting online applications to fund projects with financially sustainable business models that will expand broadband in underserved rural communities. The first round of applications - intended for grant applications - are due May 31. Two additional funding opportunities are due in June and July. June 21 is the deadline for loan/grant combination applications, and July 12 is the deadline for low-interest loan applications.

    Not quite to the business model stage? Consider a Connected Community Engagement program from ConnectedNation. The Community Engagement program provides a way to assess and verify the broadband access for residents and business in your community and to develop a technology action plan. Broadband access impacts everything from healthcare to education to business and farming, so only a community wide effort will truly meet the need.
     
  • Inspection and Maintenance of Stormwater Practices Training 

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    The Iowa Certification for Inspection & Maintenance of Stormwater Practices (IMSP) training program offers a great opportunity for those who inspect and maintain stormwater management practices including both flood control practices (detention, retention and constructed wetlands) as well as infiltration based practices (bioretention, bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs and porous pavement systems). This could include city staff, lawn and landscape personnel, landscape contractors, engineering professionals and owners of private basins, homeowner association representatives, and commercial land owners. The next training will be July 11 in Pleasant Hill.