Local Government Education

Local Government Webinar Series

City and County officials, elected and appointed are entrusted with the task making decisions that impact how much revenue is generated and how the spending priorities are set. With changing demographics, state mandated laws, residents attitudes toward taxes, and periodic swings in the economic cycle, it is becoming increasingly complex and challenging to manage local government finances. Improving understanding of the financial situation and trends of cities and counties is critical to the decision-making process. In addition, topics tied to community and economic development continue to be at the core of major decisions that impact the present and future of communities across Iowa. Toward that Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Community and Economic Development and Iowa League of Cities will be conducting an annual webinar series focusing on issues and topics important to local governments in Iowa. The webinar series is designed as a continuing professional development opportunity The focus of the webinar series is threefold.  

Back to basics: Refresh and expand conceptual understanding on topics that are relevant to local governments. This is designed as a ‘back-to-basics’ to refresh concepts, principles, best practices, that are at the core of governmental functions and decision making, especially at the local level. Case studies will be included to provide a sense of the innovation and creativity as well as do’s and don’ts at the local government level.

Making sense of data: Utilize data-driven indicators (reports, interactive dashboard) to explain financial condition and trends. Using local financial data, ISU in collaboration with the League publishes customized fiscal condition reports. These resources are city and county specific that allow for peer comparison. New online tools are also available for comparing with peers on specific revenue and spending categories.

Learning from peers: Provide a platform to bring ‘peer-communities’ into one virtual room, bi-monthly, to talk about different aspects of governance, community and finance. We will initiate the session with a topic and allow peer-groups to engage with each other in the breakout rooms. Through a ‘community of communities’ approach, participants can bounce ideas as well as share about creative steps they might be undertaking, in that space. The goal is to facilitate greater and ongoing interaction among local government officials.

Information on previous webinars can be found here

Parks and recreation in Iowa communities: Priorities and stories

Friday, January 20, 2023 (11am -12:30 pm)

Research suggests that among other things, communities where residents have a positive perception of quality of life identify amenities, both, essential and recreational, contributing toward that. Parks and recreation spending reflects the willingness, and sense of priority that communities assign to such amenities. Recreational amenities usually include parks and open spaces, swimming pools, splash pads, community centers, golf courses, walking and biking trails, dog parks, soccer fields, baseball fields, etc. How are communities in Iowa planning, prioritizing and implementing this important aspect? Is there a divergence between urban and rural, small versus larger places?

The main objective of the webinar is to better understand how communities in Iowa are prioritizing parks and recreation. A panel of community representatives will share stories to highlight creative ways in how their respective communities are providing recreational amenities.

The webinar will include:

  • A brief introduction on the value of parks and recreation to Iowa communities.
  • Trends in parks and recreation spending, in small and large communities in Iowa
  • Stories from select Iowa communities

There will be breakout sessions to allow ‘peer’ conversations and sharing of ideas.

Come join other communities from Iowa in this important conversation.

Date: January 20, Friday, 11 am -12:30 pm

Presenters: Biswa Das, Erin Mullenix and Julie Aberg-Robison, Panelists from select communities.      

Registration fee: Free

Registration link: https://go.iastate.edu/9ZLGED