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Few caution lights on city’s ‘dashboard’
Data on city services and the views of Island residents show the city is performing well in maintaining, sustaining and improving the life of Islanders.
The city’s annual Dashboard Report takes public services data regarding everything from crime, finances, and the reliability of key public services and compares them to similar data from other cities.
City Finance Director Chip Corder takes those results and adds in how residents perceive the delivery of city services by looking at results from the city’s biennial survey.
Corder’s analysis, discussed at the September 24 Council meeting, shows the city earned ‘very good’ performance marks on 20 out of 35 indicators.
Dashboard indicators are organized around the city’s six priorities of government. They are community safety and security; effective/efficient public service delivery and community sustainability; reliable public infrastructure; attractive neighborhoods and business districts; recreation, cultural, health and education opportunities and public communication and community involvement.
Community safety and security were given ‘very good’ marks on seven out of eight indicators. Half of the 14 effective and efficient public service deliver and sustainability also earned ‘very good’ ratings.
The attractive neighborhood and business district category warranted a ‘very good’ rating for code enforcement, a ‘good’ rating for Town Center appearance and condition with a third indicator on economic vitality scoring given an ‘improving’ rating.
“I gave [the economic vitality] category an improving’ mark because we are just now seeing an improvement in tax receipts,” Corder explained, adding that for the first six months of the year there has been a significant ‘uptick’ in revenues.
“We are still recovering from the effects of the recession,” he said. “But I expect that revenues will be even better at the end of the year.”
Sustainability Task Force Report
The Council also reviewed the first report of the city’s 11-member Sustainability Task Force.
The task force was charged “to develop a recommended sustainability policy that will influence the city’s actions and priorities in being a sustainable city.”
The report listed actions to be taken in six areas: waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, yard toxins, green buildings and sustainability education, and communications.
The task force made several recommendations that included the hiring of a dedicated staff position that will educate and promote conservation activities in the community. Half of the funding for the new position would come from the city’s part time communication coordinator position, which is unfilled.
The report said the city should develop a six-year sustainability plan and take action to foster a culture of sustainability such as a plastic bag ban.
Councilmember Tana Senn noted that the task force moved quickly and members were anxious to include their ideas.
“We are building on that momentum,” she said.
The six-year plan will be like the city’s TIP or SIP plans, she said.
“The plan lays out both long term [goals] and things we can accomplish right away,” she said.
The City Council also voted to expand television coverage of Council deliberations by showing study sessions. The Council did not approve any additional funds to update or change the existing broadcast system.
For the city ‘Dashboard Report’ and more, Oct. 1 council meeting packet at www.mercergov.org and search Dashboard.