About the research
The Iowa Highway Research Board funded a study (IHRB Project TR-761) to determine the feasibility of an Iowa Public Works Service Bureau. As a part of that study, a questionnaire was emailed to representatives of all cities with a population exceeding 250 people to determine if there was interest in developing a public works service bureau. The questions dealt with a city’s interest in web applications including elements such as a database of city contacts, asset management, organizational charts, job descriptions, pay levels, sample ordinances, sample policies, and communications with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). Over 80% of the respondents indicated that they were highly or somewhat likely to use those applications.
With that indication of interest, potential organizational structures and funding were evaluated. Based on those evaluations, a majority of the Technical Advisory Committee recommended pursuing a project to establish the Iowa Public Works Service Bureau within the Statewide Urban Design and Specifications program with permanent funding from the street construction portion of Iowa’s Road Use Tax Fund. Due to the time required to work with the Governor’s office and the legislature to establish the permanent funding, a two-year Phase 2 project was recommended with funding from the IHRB. This project will involve creating the website elements, hiring two programmers to establish the applications, establishing a permanent advisory committee, and working to establish permanent funding with a Road Use Tax off-the-top allocation.