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       You have probably eaten most of your Halloween candy, planted your fall flowers, have carved your pumpkins and pulled out some of your sweaters, coats and gloves for colder weather. Just a couple of thoughts as November gets underway . . . and as we turn our clock’s back an hour does it seem a little interesting that this is happening in the same month as Thanksgiving? 

       How do you use that “extra hour”? Over the years, for me that has changed.  In my youth, to be honest, I didn’t even notice it.  Then in my college days and a bit beyond, it was about an extra hour to party and hang with friends.  After that as life got busier, it became another hour to get things done – at work, around the house, etc. 

       Then about two years ago, a friend challenged me that maybe that extra hour was placed in the beginning of November to take time to develop a plan for Thanksgiving.  He also suggested I spend that “extra hour” to ponder if Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks or should it also be a time for thankful giving? 

       So now I slow down and take time not only to be thankful for all the gifts I have, all the gifts my community has, and all the gifts this region has; but also, to write out my plan for thankful giving for the next year.  I write down what projects and or charities I plan to financially support, but perhaps even more importantly, I write down where I will give my time and attention for the next year.  Where do I want to volunteer my time and talent?  Where do I want to ask others to help? Who or what projects may need me most this year? 

       My “giving thanks” list is easy and long with faith, family, friends, coworkers, board members, community members, the kids I work with, so many great leaders, the list easily covers a couple of pages every year.  It takes me longer to discern my thankful giving for the next year.  Will see what this weekend brings to mind as I spend that “extra hour” . . . maybe the lists are both long enough we should be turning back that clock another hour. . .

All of us at SICOG wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.  We are thankful for each and every one of you.




Ankeny, Iowa- Oct. 28, 2022- Commercial drivers are critical to our businesses, state and economy. A newly updated app from the Iowa Department of Transportation will help prepare future commercial drivers in their process to become licensed.

The upgrade will provide additional resources to Iowans specifically around the pre-trip portion of the CDL skills test. The update includes 19 pre-trip instructional videos together with 130 new sample test questions. The addition of these videos and questions will provide more support and training materials designed to assist customers in successfully preparing for the necessary pre-trip vehicle inspection test.

The app also helps current CDL holders prepare for endorsements to their license including school bus, passenger, and construction (i.e., air brakes). It includes information from the CDL manual that is broken down into sections along with micro-quizzes and full-length practice tests, all designed to be similar to the actual exam. In addition, there is a dashboard for individual users featuring their progress which helps identify any knowledge gaps prior to taking the exam.

The popular driver’s license test app is available for Android and iOS devices and was developed in partnership between the Iowa DOT and Iowa-based company, Higher Learning Technologies. It is a shining example of how private industry and government can work together to help make our citizens more successful. The app is free to anyone with a valid Iowa driver’s license.

If you have already downloaded the Iowa CDL test app, it will be updated automatically. If you do not have the app, check your device’s app store for “Iowa CDL test app.”

Contact: Ronee Slagle at 515-296-2393 or

The following are deadlines for popular grants our members and associated organizations should consider.  The SICOG due date is a date when the applicant should have all relevant information to SICOG to finish the application on time.  SICOG has the staff and experience to assist our communities submitting the best possible applications for these funds.  There are many other sources, so if you have project, please contact us.

Source/Program Funding Uses SICOG Due Date
FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Hazard mitigation plans and projects, including tornado safe rooms, building and utility retrofits, minor flood control projects, elevations and relocations of buildings in flood hazard areas and storm water management projects (Eligible: local governments and some nonprofits) Floating (NOIs as soon as possible)
IEDA Enhance Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) Grant Funds for capital projects, such as trails, libraries, community centers, pavilions, entertainment venues, museums, recreational facilities, and more (Eligible: local governments and certain nonprofits). November 15 (if funds remain after July round)
IFA Iowa HOME Program Housing Program for developers with 10 years of housing experience – ownership and rental, including new construction, rehab, and adaptive reuse; up to 80% of the area median income (Eligible: local governments, COGs, developers, non-profits). November 15
IHSEMD Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program Funding from FEMA to support the development of hazard mitigation projects, mostly related to flooding but also including other activities (Eligible: local governments, some non-profits). November 15
Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program Grants to communities for the redevelopment, rehabilitation or deconstruction of buildings to stimulate economic growth or reinvestment in the community.  Strong applications will show the potential of catalytic economic growth in the community; improve appearances & safety; make use of underutilized property, exhibit appropriate design standards; and be well-funded (Eligible: local governments who apply on behalf of private property owners). November 30
Theater Catalyst Grant Provides IEDA Catalyst Grants specifically to renovate and revitalize former or operating theaters, including movie and live show theaters.  This is a specific set-aside to address the detrimental impacts of COVID and a changing economy ((Eligible: local governments who apply on behalf of private property owners). November 30
IDOT RISE Grant RISE funds roadway improvements to facilitate economic development projects, such as expanding businesses, industrial/commerce parks, etc. (Eligible: local governments) November 30
CDBG Water and Sewer Program Water and wastewater capital improvements: plants, mains, lagoons, pumps, towers, etc. (Eligible: local governments) December 31 (next quarterly round)
IDNR Solid Waste Alternatives Program Program to encourage landfill alternatives – recycling, diversion, new technologies, new manufacturing processes, etc. (Eligible: local governments and certain nonprofits) December 31
Paint Iowa Beautiful Award of donated paint for community projects, which can be about anything (Eligible: non-profits, local governments, community groups) January 15, 2023
IDNR Derelict Building Grant (see article) Grant to help fund the rehab or removal of derelict former commercial and industrial buildings; can include environmental studies, asbestos testing, environmental remediation, etc.  (Eligible: local governments with less than 5,000 population) January 15, 2023
FEMA Fire Grant – Assistance to Firefighters Grant (see article) Up to 95% grant funding for purchase of fire equipment, PPE, vehicles, training, and related activities (Eligible: fire departments and non-affiliated EMS agencies) January 15, 2023 (projected)
CDBG Community Facilities and
This annual competitive program offers grants to assist communities for a variety of projects including day care facilities, senior centers, vocational workshops and other community services such as storm water projects. (Eligible: local governments) Ongoing, until funds run out
Iowa Historic Preservation Tax Credits – small projects Up to 25% of project cost in the form of a State tax credit to offset the costs of the building rehabilitation or restoration. Project must affect a designated historic building on the National Register of Historic Places.  Projects can have eligible costs up to $750,000 (Eligible: property owners – governments can partner to mobilize the project). Ongoing
ITC/ IRDC "Power of Connection" Community Grant Program Grants up to $5,000 for capacity building, strategic planning, studies or assessments for a variety of community programs and issues (Eligibility: rural communities) Ongoing
Highway Safety Improvement Provides grants for low-cost, systematic safety improvements in the $10,000/mile range, focusing on lane departure crashes. (Eligible: local governments) Ongoing
Traffic Engineering Assistance
Program (TEAP)
Provides 100 hours of engineering assistance for operations and traffic safety issues. (Eligible: local governments) Ongoing
As always, SICOG provides this un-exhaustive list of grants to generate ideas about possible projects and provide funding guidance. Grant funding sources are increasingly interested in creative solutions to problems and many are willing to support not just construction but also operations.  If your community has a problem that outside funding might address, then please contact your SICOG office.  We would be glad to help and can attend a local meeting at no cost to discuss the project or idea.

Mapping and Community Development

         At the end of October, Jeremy, Jessica, and Terry attended a GIS training at Iowa State University.  The training was designed to give an overview of GIS Pro, the latest product from ESRI. With this training, SICOG is better equipped to produce professional maps of all kinds of development, land use planning, zoning, and many other activities.  GIS is a great tool because, not just does it create quality maps, but it manages data, such as water line installs, sewer line breaks, ages of water towers, street conditions, and more.  Data like this can be used for analysis, which can help greatly when applying for grants for a project. GIS can also improve decision-making and increase efficiency of local governments.  Contact your SICOG office to learn more about how GIS can help your local government or civic organization.

Derelict Building Grant Program Applications Open

       The Derelict Building Program is available for Iowa towns of 5,000 or fewer residents to address neglected commercial or public structures that have sat vacant for at least 6 months.  The application deadline is Friday February 24, 2023 for applicants who are seeking funding assistance with conducting asbestos inspections, asbestos abatement, structural engineering analysis, phase I and phase II site assessments, building deconstruction and building renovation expenses.

       DBGP funding is awarded annually on a competitive basis with cash matches required. Please note that diversion from the landfill is a key element of the grant program.  Any entity that applies for a grant for demolition work in particular shall show they have a plan to divert debris from the landfill.  SICOG is experienced in this program. Contact Jeremy or Terry for assistance.

Assistance to Firefighters Programs Status Update

       Processing the FY 2021 AFGP award announcements is still underway. Awards are expected to continue into November. As award determinations are finalized, notification will be sent to grant recipients. Award information will also be posted on the FEMA website as each round is announced.  Turndown letters will be sent out in concurrence with the final rounds of awards being announced. If you receive a turndown letter and would like more information, please contact your Regional Fire Program Representative.  Our office assisted with a half dozen applications this past winter!  Contact SICOG with any questions.
       The FY 2022 AFG, SAFER and FP&S application periods are slated to open after the first of the year. In preparation, it is recommended that you ensure that you are registered with the System for Award Management ( SAM registration must be renewed annually, and failure to register or maintain active status could prevent your organization from applying. For those new to, it is imperative that you start now as this process can take up to four weeks to complete. Registering for an account in is FREE. You do not need to contract with an outside entity to register. If you need help with your registration, contact SICOG or follow instructions online for assistance.
       Keep in mind these funds remain popular but are more competitive than ever.  As the funding levels continue to decline and equipment costs rise, fewer and fewer grants are given.  SICOG remains available to assist.

2023 Homes for Iowa

       Homes for Iowa is working on their 2023 build list, and now is the time to contact SICOG to get your city on the list for a home to be delivered in 2023! We will help your city complete the pre-order checklist, qualify the homebuyer based on income, and review available down payment information or construction assistance programs. We will also place the home order and communicate with HFI and the buyer/ developer to make the process as easy as possible. For more information contact Jeremy or Beth at the office.

FEMA Approves Clarke County Hazard Mitigation Plan

       FEMA recently informed us that the Clarke County multi-jurisdictional plan has been approved with no edits required.  This plan analyzes all kinds of natural and other hazards, actions to address possible hazards, and a plan for each jurisdiction, such as the schools, cities, county, and hospital, to undertake projects over the next five years.  The plan comes with a five-year timeframe of eligibility for FEMA hazard mitigation project funds, which can cover up to 85% of project costs If your county has a plan that has expired or that will expire in the next two years, please contact Jeremy at the office for more information.

SICOG Executive Board Meeting of October 4, 2022
Chairman Jerry Walker called the meeting to order at 1:01 p.m. at the SICOG office. The following members were present: Birt, Christensen, Davidson, Fitch, Holmes, Riley, Trickey, Walker and Zabel.
Staff present: Waddle and Brimm. 
Guest present was Wayne Pantini, Southwestern Community College.
Fitch made a motion to approve the agenda. Christensen seconded the motion, all ayes. Motion carried.
Riley made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 7, 2022 meeting.  Fitch seconded the motion. Trickey abstained and all others voted aye.  Motion carried.
Christensen made a motion to approve the financial reports as presented for the month of September.  Davidson seconded the motion, all ayes.  Motion carried.
Birt made a motion to approve the CEDS Resolution as presented. Riley seconded the motion.  Walker took a Roll Call vote:  Birt (aye), Christensen (aye), Fitch (aye), Holmes (aye), Zabel (aye), Riley (aye), Trickey (aye), Davidson (aye) and Walker (aye).  Motion carried.
Other items discussed included: grant report, contract income, legal, insurance, audit, building renovations, golf invitational, computer/software/IT upgrades, legislative update and miscellaneous.
Holmes made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 1:35 p.m.  Riley seconded the motion, all ayes.  Motion carried.

Minutes Submitted by Brimm


ATURA Board Meetings –Tuesday, November 8th, 2022 – Taylor County

SICOG Closed Friday, November 11th, 2022 in Observance of Veterans Day

SICOG Closed Thursday & Friday, November 24th & 25th in Observance of Thanksgiving

SICOG Executive Board Meetings- Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

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