Iowa community leaders are in Indianapolis today for the 81st National Congress of the League of Cities. Dan Nicholson is a city council member-at-large from Dubuque who says he’s been coming to these meetings for fifteen years. You always learn something, Nicholson says, and you always fun into somebody who needs an answer you may be able to provide. He spends a lot of time at exhibitor’s displays because he’s learned you can get a lot of useful information from them. They don’t necessarily offer products, but expertise, ideas and solutions. Nicholson says if everything’s run well in a city, nobody will notice. He went to a session on landfills and notes another on how to handle potholes. Nicholson says the basic things cities need to do include maintaining pipes: “When you turn on the faucet you want the water to come out,” he says, “and when you flush the stool you want that to go away.” At some booths they’re telling about emergency communications and how to get word out fast and directly to people who need to know that, for example, a storm’s coming or a pipe broke and consumers need to boil drinking water for a week. “Those kind of things are technology at work.” The Congress of Cities wraps up tomorrow (Saturday) with an address from the incoming mayor of Washington D.C.