The City Clerk is appointed by the City Council, reports directly to the Council, and attends all City Council meetings.

The City Clerk is charged with custody of deeds, contracts and abstracts. The Clerk's office is responsible for the keeping of all ordinances, resolutions, minutes and the Iowa City City Code. The office publishes public notices, ordinances and minutes as required by law. The City Clerk's office assists both staff and the general public in researching information.

Taxi company licenses and driver authorization, outdoor service areas, cigarette licenses, beer/liquor licenses, parade and assembly permits, and cemetery deeds are issued from the Clerk's office. City subdivision files, project files, the Domestic Partnership Registry, and an index of Council proceedings are also maintained here. The Clerk's office also provides staff and support for the Community Police Review Board.

City Council Elections are handled by the Johnson County Auditor.

Clerk Administered Licenses and Permits

Alcoholic Beverage Permit

For businesses that are involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages, a Liquor License or Beer Permit is necessary. These permits are issued by the state Alcoholic Beverages Division. Information and applications for new or renewal permits can be found on the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages website

The licensing process takes at least 30 days to complete and does require City Council approval prior to issuance. In addition to the electronic filing of the application with the state the city has requirements which must be met before new or renewal licenses/permits are issued. 

The City of Iowa City has a new on-line Liquor application that can be accessed through Internet Explorer with this link engov. In addition to the on-line application we still need an addendum and DCI background check attached in the on line application. You still need to submit your extra privileges applications that you had signed up for with the state. 

Selling alcohol outdoors on private property requires an Outdoor Service Area Permit please use this link for the application and contact the City Clerk's office if you have any questions.

Your business may be eligible for an under 21 Exception permit or Entertainment permit. This allows people under 21 in the establishment after 10:00 pm. Please call the City Clerk's office if you have any questions concerning these types of permits. There are a few qualifications for each different permit.

Additional information regarding Alcoholic Beverages can be found in the Iowa City City Code, Title 4.

Contact: City Clerk's Office: 319-356-5042

More information: 

Cigarette Permit

Any retailer selling cigarettes, tobacco, alternative nicotine or vapor products within city limits must submit a completed permit application to the City Clerk's office. All permits expire June 30.

Cigarette/tobacco/nicotine/vapor permits are issued by the State of Iowa and administered by the City of Iowa City as the local authority. Questions can be directed to 319-356-5042.

More information:

City Plaza, use of

A permit MAY BE required for use of City Plaza for activities such as musical performance. No amplified sound may be generated Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042

More information:

Demonstration, Rally, Picket or Protest

If the group wishing to demonstrate or protest is larger than 25 people and wants to use the streets and/or City Plaza and/or the sidewalks, a parade/public assembly permit will be needed unless it is a "spontaneous event." The same is true if the group is larger than 100 people in a park.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042

More information:

Domestic Partner Registry

The City Clerk's Office maintains a registry of non-married but committed adult partners who choose to declare themselves as domestic partners. Applications for this registry may be obtained from the City Clerk's Office. Along with the application and application fee, there are certain requirements which must be met before the declaration is issued.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5043 

Domestic partnership application

Domestic partnership termination form 

Information Table, City Plaza Only

If your information table will be on the City Plaza, please fill out an information table permit application.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042

Information table application

Outdoor Service Area

An outdoor service area is an area for the sale of alcohol on private property. This privilege can be applied for electronically at the Alcoholic Beverages Division website. The City has additional requirements which must be met before final approval of the application. A checklist of these requirements can be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042

More information:


A parade/public assembly permit is required for use of public grounds for events in city streets or events in City Plaza if group has more than 25 people.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042

Learn more

Park, Use of

Learn more

Public Grounds and Street, Use of

A parade/public assembly permit is required for use of public grounds for events in city streets or events in City Plaza if group has more than 25 people.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042

Learn more

Sidewalk Retailing (2018)

Ordinance No. 18-4771 provides that a Sidewalk Retailing Permit may be issued to individual retailers allowing placement of merchandise on the sidewalk. This permit will be in effect from March 1 through October 31, from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Under this provision, a permit may be issued to any individual retailer who completes the application, provides proof of liability insurance naming the City as an additional insured, and abides by the rules for sidewalk retailing established by the City Manager.

Learn more

Sidewalk, Termporary Use of

A temporary use of sidewalk permit is required if you want to use the sidewalk for commercial purposes, such as sidewalk days.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042

Learn more


Amplified sound permits are required for those wishing to produce amplified sound in the City Plaza. Amplified sound is defined as a sound that is increased in intensity by electrical, electronic, mechanical and other non-human means.

Contact: City Clerk's office 319-356-5042

Sound permit 

Street and Public Grounds, Use of

A parade/public assembly permit is required for use of public grounds by a group of more than 25 persons for events such as parades and runs on public streets or events in City Plaza.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042


A permit is required to own and/or operate a motorized vehicle furnished with a driver and carrying passengers. Includes taxicab, pedicab and horse-drawn vehicles. A number of requirements must be met before the application and application fee can be processed by the City Clerk.

Visit for more information. 

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5040

Vending, Ambulatory

An ambulatory vendor permit is required if you want to sell food or other goods while moving about the City Plaza in Downtown Iowa City.

Contact: City Clerk's Office 319-356-5042

Learn more



Getting involved Services
Business Services