best practices, accountability

We recognize that local government officials share our goals for smart government where efficiency and effectiveness are the hallmarks of local services.  We envision a budgeting process that employs the following principles and practices:

  • Explicit consider the impact on taxpayers from a constant tax rate.

  • Regularly evaluate city practices to secure greater efficiencies.

  • Focus on core municipal responsibilities.

  • Understand future tax implications.

For illustrations of how these principles can be implemented, see our Local Government Policy Agenda.

Need a step-by-step guide for approaching your local school board or city council? Our Innovations Toolkit gives you the resources you need. 

The In the Public Interest Award is awarded at the Association’s annual meeting in February. Nominees may be an individual, group, or intergovernmental project that demonstrate attention to and effective application of local government best practices for the benefit of property taxpayers.  See recent honorees. Then review the criteria and submit your application


We actively encourage local governments to collaborate with each other in providing services and/or functions. Sharing services and equipment often results in lower unit costs and better service.

With 17 municipalities in the region, sharing is feasible and cost effective. We applaud the cities on our
Master List of Collaborative Accomplishments
for working together for the benefit of taxpayers.

Check out these resources:

Success Factors for Implementing Shared Services in Government

A County Manager’s Guide to Shared Services in Local Government


Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is one of the economic development tools available to local governments. Establishing a TIF district diverts property tax revenue for a period of time to pay for improvements to benefit a community. 

According to the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Iowa is the largest user of  TIF financing. Does it produce the desired results? Find the Institute’s Findings and Recommendations here.

We actively encourage local governments to collaborate with each other in the provision of services and/or functions.  Collaboration can result in lower unit costs and better service. Central Iowa taxing entities are already working together across jurisdictions and in a wide range of services.range of services.

Collaborative Efforts by Jurisdiction

Collaborative Efforts by Function

2018 Summary of City Collaborations