This book helps elected and appointed government officials and citizens assess and establish standards for the efficient and effective delivery of quality services. Actual benchmarks are provided for numerous services such as libraries, parks and recreation, public works, emergency medical services, courts, animal control, risk management and public transport.


Financial management in local government is a complex topic. Attempting to assess the performance of this function in an individual community is no easy task. No simpler is the task undertaken here of compiling a relatively comprehensive set of financial management benchmarks and confining those benchmarks to a single chapter.

Assessing the Financial Health of a Municipality

A “quick-and-dirty” way of gauging the quality of financial management in a given municipality is by noting that city's general financial health. One popular method of doing so—perhaps because of its speed and simplicity—is by checking the local bond rating to see how industry analysts judge the municipality's creditworthiness. Other methods, sometimes more revealing because they address specific aspects of financial management more fully controllable by local officials, are ...

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