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.

Performance Milestones
Performance milestones

A city may be judged on several different dimensions. Is it a good place to live? Is it a decent place to raise a family? How are the schools? Is the climate pleasant? What entertainment opportunities are available? Does the community support the arts? Is the local economy healthy? Is it growing? Is the community clean—physically and politically? Are municipal services good?

A city deemed to be outstanding on one dimension might be decidedly unremarkable—banished from the list of top cities—on another. Being number one is more than sheer luck, but it helps if the criteria used to establish the ranking coincide with the community's strengths and overlook points of weakness. On some lists, it also helps to have strong neighbors.

A city's reputation—favorable ...

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