Topic areas on this page:

City Budgets | Audits, Accounting & Financial Reporting | Financial Policies & Planning

Property Taxes & Local Option Taxes | Additional Finance Resources

City Budget Resources

Cities are required to pass a budget annually and there are quite a few steps that must be followed before and after…

There are a number of ways a city can work through the budget process before final approval. City council members and city…

The finish line for the city government budgeting process in Iowa is clear, with state law requiring cities to approve and file…

Code of Iowa Section 331.385 and Section 331.424C allow cities and townships to enter into 28E fire township and emergency management services…

Township contracts If the city has agreements (28E) with adjacent townships, these agreements should be reviewed annually. These agreements set out expectations…

Though every city is not required to have a physical library, the service to the citizens is to be provided according to the Code of Iowa.…

Municipal finance is based upon fund accounting. This means that all revenues and expenditures are classified and assigned to a particular fund…

Audits, Accounting and
Financial Reporting Topics

​Many would suggest that cities do accounting on the accrual basis “just like a business”. However, there are real differences between a business…

The basis of any accounting system (manual or electronic) is a systematic use of numeric or alpha numeric segments organized in such…

Completing financial audits and establishing appropriate internal controls are essential to maintaining financial health in your community. There are various requirements cities…

Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement Number 54 (GASB 54) provides guidance for fund balance categories and classifications and governmental fund type definitions. In…

The pension standards required by Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement Number 68 (GASB 68) affect different cities in different ways. It has no impact on financial…

This is the second year of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement Number 77 (GASB 77), which is now an annual requirement.…

Based upon the budgets certified by the various levying authorities in your area, the County Auditor’s Office prepares and files the levy…

​One of the duties of the city council is to make decisions about how to best use city resources and safeguard the…

The 2019 Chart of Accounts is a revised listing of account numbers that can be used by finance officers when developing their own listing…

Cities that have active Tax Increment Financing (TIF) must do a range of filings or reports each year, and below are various places…

Financial Policies
and Planning Topics

The Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is a three to five-year plan identifying a community’s capital outlay and improvement needs. As a long-range…

It is recommended that each city have a Cash Management Policy for a number of reasons. First, it gives the citizens and…

Each city must name one individual, usually the city clerk or finance officer, as the prudent finance officer, whose responsibility it is…

Cities occasionally need to incur debt to finance a needed project or program for the community. It is recommended to first adopt…

The financial condition of each municipality rests upon the governing board or city council. The budget and other decisions guide staff in executing…

Property Taxes and
Local Option Taxes Topics

As permitted in Code of Iowa Chapter 423A, a city may impose a hotel/motel tax at a rate not to exceed 7 percent after a successful election…

In order for a city to have a local option sales tax (LOST), a majority of the eligible electors in that city…

​One of the key aspects of the property tax sys­tem in Iowa is how properties are assessed and valued. Cities, counties, schools and…

​Code of Iowa Chapter 427B allows cities to pass an ordinance establishing an industrial abatement to local property taxes for improving industrial real…

Iowa’s property tax system is quite complex and has many different components that factor into calculations. To help our members gain a…

The establishment of a Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) authorizes a city to impose additional property taxes on a special district for…

Cities in Iowa have traditionally relied heavily on property taxes as a stable revenue source to finance government services. The Fiscal Year 2017 city budget data concurs, showing that approximately 44%…

Additional
Finance Resources

City council members and mayors have the important responsibility of managing the city’s funds. With that responsibility comes difficult decisions on how…

Cities may need to borrow money for a number of different reasons, but it usually revolves around a capital project or equipment…

Continuing disclosure is a reporting requirement for information about a municipal bond that occurs after the initial issuance of the bond. This…

When reviewing the fiscal condition of a city, the collection of fees and charges is an important element to consider. In other words, a city must be able…

The State of Iowa electronically deposits all funds owed to a city in an account designated for electronic fund transfer. The Department of Administrative…

The Code of Iowa in Section 364.2 allows cities to grant franchises to any person to “erect, maintain, and operate plants and…

To move cash from one fund to another, a council must be prepared to take formal action during the budget or budget…

The Index of Iowa Laws links to Code of Iowa chapters and sections that are applicable to municipal government. Users should be…

​In times when cash is short and equipment needs are piling up, many cities may turn to leases or lease purchase agreements to satisfy…

​Pro-rating costs of personnel can be beneficial in cost analysis of services provided by the city. Personnel costs include the gross wages,…

​Many cities have implemented policies that allow city officials to​ use procurement cards to make purchases on behalf of the city. While…

The Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF) is state-shared revenue created in 1949 by the legislature to assist state, county and city governments with the construction,…

Process to Sell City Real Property While there is a prescribed process set out in Section 364.7 of the Code of Iowa for the…

​City governments offer a wide range of services to their citizens, some of which require direct pay­ment. Utility charges, admission to recreational…

Most purchases made directly by the city for supplies, merchandise or services are exempt from sales tax. This includes the water utility…

Cities may share in the cost of a project through a special assessment process allowed under Code of Iowa Sections 384.37-384.79. The city’s engineer…

As required by Code of Iowa Section 312.14, all cities are required to annually complete the Street Finance Report. The report details…

Related Publications

Find publications related to city finance.

This publication is designed to assist cities begin their annual budget process. Learn about revenues, expenditures, legislation and other budget issues.

This guide has been prepared for the cities of Iowa to assist the city clerks, finance officers as well as other personnel in their municipal duties. Order your copy.

Property taxes play a significant role in municipal government as the primary funding source for city budgets. Check out a variety of special reports regarding this topic.

IOWA League