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46 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
Episode 36 - The Fun Episode
This might be called the "Fun Episode" as Parks and Rec Directors Matt Jermier with the City of Waukee and Nick Schenck with the City of Adel stopped by The Square for a great conversation. Both began their careers when the Parks & Recreation departments had just opened in their respective cities and they've been having fun ever since! Hear exactly what goes into running their department, the benefits of strong park and recreation services in a city and some great advice for those new to the industry. We then welcome Tyler Richard, FirstNet Solutions Consultant for Iowa. Tyler shares the benefits and history of FirstNet and the value it brings to all-sized cities across the state. To learn more about FirstNet, feel free to contact Tyler at email@example.com.
46 minutes | Mar 1, 2022
Episode 35 - The one with the mayors
This month we welcome Mayor Matt Walsh from Council Bluffs and Mayor Lorraine Borowski from Decorah. These two strong leaders share advice and wisdom from their combined 57 years of serving in some form of city government. Hear how they measure success, what it means to be “off the clock” as an elected official, and their favorite and least favorite things about their role as mayor. Mayor Walsh and Mayor Borowski both serve on the executive committee for the Iowa Mayor’s Association. We also hear from Max Elg, Vice President of Operations with Solutions, a Partner Program with the League. Max talks about his start as “Johnny Apple Seed” to working for Solutions and offers great tips for cities across the state in regards to their IT solutions.
41 minutes | Jan 29, 2022
Episode 34: The one with the League’s Legislative Team
This month’s episode features a conversation with the League’s governmental affairs team. Robert Palmer and Daniel Stalder share the importance of the interim months between legislative sessions and the foundation that happens during that time. We also hear an overview of the League’s Legislative Values and they discuss ways cities can become more involved with the legislative process and how their involvement can help shape the laws that are passed for their communities. The team also shares their favorite and least favorite things about the legislative session. We then join Maria Brownell, an attorney with Ahlers & Cooney, a Partner Program of the League. Maria shares her experience as a municipal attorney and a few tips cities can implement.
42 minutes | Dec 20, 2021
Episode 33 - The one with Lohrville Mayor Donny Hobbs
Happy holidays! We're joined this month by Lohrville Mayor, and new League President, Donny Hobbs. Mayor Hobbs shares his perspective on the importance of public services, some of the work the city and local volunteers have done in his community, and what they're hoping to achieve in the near future. He also provides some of the goals he has for his tenure as League President, highlighted by a push to boost civic participation in cities across the state. We also have a chat with Maggie Burger of Speer Financial, a League partner program that provides assistance to local governments in financial planning, debt management, tax increment financing, and more. With it being budget season, Maggie's timely guidance on the best financing tools for capital projects and other budgetary needs is a must-listen. The Square thanks all of its listeners and guests that have joined us in the past year and we wish everyone a safe and festive holiday season!
86 minutes | Nov 9, 2021
Episode 32 - The one about conference 2021
On this months episode we talked to a few of the award winners from our 2021 Annual Conference & Exhibit: Rhonda Wood Smith Award Winner: Holly Berg, Council Member, Ottumwa Hall of Fame Award Winner: John Lundell, Mayor, Coralville Hall of Fame Award Winner: Decker Ploehn, City Administrator, Bettendorf Each award winner offers great advice to newly elected, veterans and everyone in between. We finished up this month's interviews with Joe Heieck, president and CEO of gWorks who is one of our Community Alliance Partners. This episode is a bit long but well worth it!
32 minutes | Aug 26, 2021
Episode 31 - The one about Camp Coralville
The League's Annual Conference & Exhibit is quickly approaching and The Square is joined by Kelly Hayworth, Coralville City Administrator, as he discusses the great events that his community will host in September. Kelly shares some of the benefits of attending the Annual Conference, the fun spots around the Iowa River Landing that attendees can enjoy during their stay, and how the camping theme in the Exhibit Hall will create an unforgettable Camp Coralville. You can also hear about the latest developments around the Coralville community, which has truly been transformed during Kelly's tenure. We also chat with Travis Squires with Piper Sandler, one of the League's Community Alliance Partners, to hear more about the latest trends in municipal financing and tips for cities that are considering ways to finance projects and purchases. Head online to get more information about the 2021 Annual Conference & Exhibit, and as always, send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
49 minutes | Jul 19, 2021
Episode 30 The One About City Elections
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 who is a true expert in all thing’s elections. 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. Send us what Mickey Shields will be doing this summer with his wife from this month’s episode and you could get a shout-out in an upcoming episode. Send any questions or comments to email@example.com.
40 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Episode 29 - The one about summer trips
What's your favorite place to visit in Iowa? In this month's episode, we chat with Amy Zeigler, the State Tourism Manager at the Iowa Tourism Office, about the many great places around the state to visit this summer. And our hosts, Katie Wheeler and Mickey Shields, also share some of their favorite summer travel spots. Give it a listen and let us know your favorite places in Iowa! This month's episode also features a discussion with Dustin Leo of McClure Engineering who details some of the interesting projects the firm has helped cities with recently and what is on the horizon. Send in your questions, comments, and travel suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org!
37 minutes | Apr 22, 2021
Episode 28 - The one about Clinton's Neighborhood Revitalization
Spring is in full bloom and cities across Iowa are gearing up for summer programs and projects. Part of the work includes nuisance abatement, which is usually not a fun part of municipal government but always a necessity. This month's episode of The Square features a lively discussion on city nuisance abatement efforts as we are joined by Clinton's Rich Foley and Tammy Johnson along with Pat O'Connell from the Lynch Dallas law firm (a Community Alliance Partner with the League). The group shares some of the work that has been done in Clinton to deal with nuisance property issues and help turn around derelict properties. Hear what a nuisance process looks like from a city zoning official's perspective and the various problems that can arise. We also chat about the legal concerns a city has when taking action on nuisance properties and staying the course to revitalize neighborhoods. Drop any questions or comments you have at email@example.com. Enjoy the show!
52 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
Episode 27: The one about your streets
A community's road infrastructure is critical to daily life and in this month's episode, we are joined by Travis Goedken, Humboldt City Administrator, who talks about what it's like to manage a city's street system. Travis details the importance of planning and prioritizing needs, the different types of streets that the city maintains, and the process to complete road projects. We are also joined by Derek Johnson of ISG, one of the League's Community Alliance Partners that provides engineering services to cities across Iowa and the midwest. Derek gives a look at what it's like from an engineering perspective to get public infrastructure projects done and also shares some of his background, which included serving as a city engineer. Send in your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, enjoy the episode!
38 minutes | Feb 9, 2021
Episode 26 The One with IMWCA's Safety and Risk Improvement Team
Welcome back! After a bit of a delay, The Square is rolling again as this month we chat with IMWCA's Safety and Risk Improvement Team. Dean Schade, Scott Smith, and Staci Griffin provide insights into working safely during an Iowa winter, pitfalls to avoid, and navigating the roads when winter weather hits. We are then joined by Jim Holz of MSA, an engineering and architectural design firm that works with cities all over the state and is a League Community Alliance Partner. Jim shares some tips on how cities can identify when infrastructure needs to be updated, prioritize community needs, and complete important projects. Thanks for listening to another episode and be sure to send any questions or comments to email@example.com.
32 minutes | Oct 27, 2020
Episode 25: The One About City Budget Season
City budget season has arrived! The Square chats with Marion's Budget Manager, Zach Wolfe, to get his thoughts on how to prepare for the city budget and what leads to a successful process. As a city official that is relatively new to Iowa, Zach also shares his perspective of learning our state's property tax system, fund accounting and more. We are also joined by Nate Summers from DA Davidson, one of the League's partners that serves as a municipal advisor for cities as they go through capital projects. Nate discusses financing options available to cities, how to manage debt and keep the city budget in the best position to complete needed projects. We hope you enjoy this month's episode and as always, let us know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
49 minutes | Sep 28, 2020
Episode 24 - The One With Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart
Summer has ended, school has started and The Square is back with a new episode! We talk with Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, who was recently elected as President of the League. Mayor Hart shares what led him to serving on the city council and as mayor, the unique position of being a full-time mayor (a rarity in Iowa) and some of the fun and challenges that come with the job. We also talk about Mayor Hart's plans for his League presidency and finding ways to enhance services and programs. We then chat with Kathryn Kunert of MidAmerican Energy and Joel Schmidt of Alliant Energy about the work each company did to restore power after the derecho storm that swept through the state in August. Kathryn and Joel talked about the importance of having strong partnerships with cities and how critical that is to storm recovery. The League thanks each of these partners for their incredible work in our communities to get power back to residents and businesses following such an unprecedented storm. We hope our listeners and communities are doing well, please contact email@example.com with any questions or comments!
33 minutes | Jul 28, 2020
Episode 23 - The one about the COVID-19 financial impact
Summer is rolling along and we have another episode of The Square for your listening pleasure! This month we talk to Erin Mullenix, the League's Research Director, who provides a rundown on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on city finances. We discuss the various revenues that are projected to decline as well as expenditures that may be affected. Erin also shares findings from recent surveys of cities that measure the local financial impact of the pandemic. Erin was gracious enough to stick around for the Get to Know Your League segment, which is always a fun listen. We encourage cities to utilize resources we have available online to help respond to the pandemic, including our COVID-19 Finance Tool that can help gauge local impacts. Take care and join us next month for another episode!
41 minutes | Jun 5, 2020
Episode 22: The one with Strawberry Point City Administrator Alison Osweiler
How does a native of Southern California end up as the city administrator in Strawberry Point, Iowa? Find out in this month's episode of The Square! Alison Osweiler, who joined the city in 2016, talks about her interesting journey to Iowa and to municipal government. We talk about what it's been like to manage a city during a pandemic, some of the city's plans for reopening facilities and programs, ideas for making adjustments to the city budget and what it's like living on a farm. Thanks to Alison for the fun conversation! This month's Get to Know Your League features Sara Shonrock, who serves in a joint role with our friends at Iowa State University Extension and leads the Municipal Professionals Institute and Academy. Sara is a native of Ames who got lost in Minnesota for a few years before making the wise decision to come back home! We hope our communities are doing well during these challenging times, and as always, your League is here to support you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments you may have.
39 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Episode 21 - The one with Carlisle Library Director Stacy Goodhue
The Square is back with a new episode! Enjoy a fun interview with Stacy Goodhue, who serves as the library director for the City of Carlisle. We actually recorded this prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Stacy's thoughts on the importance of public libraries rings true now more than ever. Hear what it takes to run a city library and the various programs and services they provide - you may be surprised at how much libraries do for a community! We are also joined by Emma Kline, the League's Administrative Assistant, for the always entertaining Get to Know Your League segment. We wish all communities good health as we continue to respond to the pandemic, and encourage our members to access a variety of helpful of resources at www.iowaleague.org. Take care and we'll talk to you soon on The Square!
28 minutes | Apr 7, 2020
Episode 20 - The One About COVID - 19
The Square took a break from its regularly scheduled interviews to talk about COVID-19 and the impact it has on city governments in Iowa. We cover some League news, including adjustments we have made thus far to scheduled in-person workshops and how we will continue to operate through remote working. We also discuss some of the critical issues cities are facing currently, including the use of electronic meetings to get city business handled. The episode then wraps up with some of the positive stories cities have shared with us that illustrate some wonderful ways communities are coming together to support one another during this trying time. Be sure to check out our Coronavirus Resources page to access a wide variety of helpful information.
44 minutes | Feb 25, 2020
Episode 19 - The one with Grinnell Police Chief Dennis Reilly
Buckle up your seat belts! The Square chats with Grinnell Police Chief Dennis Reilly for an insightful discussion on community law enforcement and the critical role police departments play in our cities. Dennis shared some of his background of growing up in New Jersey and starting out as a police officer before eventually working his to becoming chief of police, as well as how he landed in Iowa. We also talk about the many jobs of a city police department, which go well beyond writing tickets as police officers are instrumental in effective community engagement. We are joined by Robert Palmer once again for our monthly Legislative Update and sit down with IMWCA's Andrew Justice for the Get to Know Your League interview. We also talk about the value of planning in our Question of the Month. Enjoy the episode and be sure to send any comments or questions to email@example.com!
43 minutes | Jan 28, 2020
Episode 18 - The One With Solons Scott Kleppe
Our first episode of 2020! It's a new year, a new decade and we have a new edition of The Square that features a very interesting discussion about municipal public works. Scott Kleppe, Solon's Public Works Director, joins us to chat about how a city's water and wastewater system works. For those who have wondered how water gets to their faucet, or what happens when you flush a toilet, give a listen and find out! Scott also shares some of his background and how seeing his grandfather do city work gave him the first introduction to public works. We have a new segment to go with the new year as we get our Legislative Update with the League's General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs, Robert Palmer. Hear about the latest issues at the State Capitol important to city officials. And we also sit down with Scott Smith, IMWCA's Senior Loss Control Representative, for the Get to Know Your League interview. We wish all cities a happy new year and we look forward to working with you! Send us your questions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
35 minutes | Dec 20, 2019
Episode 17 - The one with Mayor Tom Lazio
Happy holiday! The Square closes out 2019 with an interview of Tom Lazio, Ottumwa Mayor and President of the League Board. We learned some interesting things about Mayor Lazio's career before he entered public office and how that helped prepare him to be an effective mayor. He also shared some of the great work they're doing in Ottumwa, a few of their goals for the future and what he hopes to do as League President. This month's Your Questions Answered asks about cities' ability to set their own council meeting rule of procedure, something we strongly encourage all cities to have. And the League's Senior Accountant, Alison Deiter, joins us for the Get to Know Your League segment. Alison's pay our bills, and issues paychecks to staff, so we took it easy on her! As usual, we wrap up with the answer to last month's trivia (which county in Iowa has the most cities) and ask a new trivia question: what is the lowest temperature recorded in Iowa and where? Send in your trivia answers, questions to stump our staff and other feedback to email@example.com. Enjoy the holidays!
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