Last updated: July 28. 2014 3:23PM - 148 Views
William (Bill) Lutz

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Earlier this month, the City of Piqua learned that is one of a handful of local governments in the United States to be awarded a Certificate of Achievement from the International City/County Management Association’s Center for Performance Analytics. Whew, that is a mouthful.

In all seriousness, this is a pretty important milestone for the community. Since 2010, the City of Piqua has been continually collecting data on a multitude of measures dealing with nearly every conceivable services provided by your local government. A great deal of time and effort each year goes into measuring and reporting these data sets. Why? At its core these activities help the city measure what your local government does and helps the work done in the community become more transparent.

Services provided by government, whether it is local, state or federal, should be more than just a transaction; taxpayers and stakeholders should have confidence in knowing that the services that they are receiving are done so in an efficient and effective manner. Taking the time to measure the activities of local government helps not only find out what is being accomplished and what can be accomplished in a more effective fashion, it also allows local government to be more transparent in how these taxpayer funded services are being provided.

Over the past year, the City of Piqua has taken performance measurement to the next level through publishing “Performance Management Profiles”. These profiles are short one page reports about various municipal departments that not only share the data collected, but they talk about changes in the data over time and how our community compares to other small communities as well.

As you read these profiles, you may be surprised by some of the numbers that the reports bring out. For example, the City of Piqua has 1.4 sworn officers for every 1,000 residents in our community. Individually, that figure doesn’t hold much meeting. However, the average community of less than 25,000 residents has 2.6 sworn officers for every 1,000 residents. In addition, the city’s police force costs each resident approximately $145 a year, or 39 cents a day. This was the lowest amount of any community reporting data to the Center for Performance Analytics. Yes, the lowest amount.

Many of the same attributes can be seen in other municipal departments as well. For example, many residents realize that our city’s Fire Department does more than just handle fires; they also double as a well-trained unit providing Emergency Medical Services. In fact, there are many smaller communities that do not have a department providing both services. The City of Piqua’s Fire Department costs each individual resident $142 a year, or just less than 39 cents a day; this makes the Piqua Fire Department the eighth least expensive combined Fire and EMS Department of all 99 communities reporting to the Center for Performance Analytics. These figures are impressive considering that the Piqua Fire Department has 108 EMS calls for every 1,000 residents, making the department the tenth busiest for EMS calls of all 99 communities reporting. Think about that. Our fire department is the tenth busiest department and eighth least expensive department to run.

These data points are important. This data helps our community not only understand the services that are provided, but also helps show the level of service that is provided. These data points gives greater insight into how we are performing and gives our residents better insights in how their community is performing. We can only know how we are doing when we take time to measure and compare are our level of services to other communities around the country.

Police and Fire services are just two of the many services that data is provided through the Center for Performance Analytics. Other services such as parks and recreation, solid waste, code enforcement, human resources, fleet maintenance and road maintenance also have impressive data sets to report. I would encourage everyone to take time to go to the city’s website at www.piquaoh.org and look for the “Performance Management Profiles” for all our departments and take a look at how your community delivers the services the taxpayer pays for.

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