The Valley Benchmark Cities Group (VBC) began in October 2011 as a consortium of staff from the largest cities and towns in the Phoenix metropolitan area (Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe) to identify common information to share, discuss, and develop a better understanding the similarities and differences between operations, with the ultimate aim of improving local government performance. Arizona State University’s Center for Urban Innovation and the Alliance for Innovation agreed to host and staff the effort. The group now includes the eleven largest cities in the valley (Avondale, Goodyear and Surprise joined in 2013), and also includes the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), and the International City/County Management Association’s Center for Performance Analytics (ICMA Analytics).
The purpose of the Valley Benchmark Cities initiative is to improve local government performance in the metropolitan area by working collaboratively with designated representatives: (1) to identify common demographic, financial, and performance information; (2) to provide and discuss that information to better understand similarities and differences between complex and diverse operations; and (3) to share information, resources and best practices.
VBC recently released their FY 2014/15 Data Trends report.
Trends: The FY 2014/15 Data Trends report includes 20 trends identified from the FY 2013/14 Report for annual comparison, using FY 2013/14 data as the base year.
Sections: The data measured in this report are categorized by Demographics, Fire Services, Police Services, Libraries, Parks and Recreation, Water, Sewer and Trash Services, and Finance and Administration. The committee identified the most important trends to track for the benefit of citizens and public managers. Definition Changes: Certain trends from the FY 2013/14 Report have had definition adjustments for the FY 2014/15 Report. Ex: The Bond Rating from the FY 2013/14 (pg. 28) Report has changed from ‘The Standard & Poor’s Rating as of July 2013’ to ‘Most Recent Bond Rating’.
Influencing Factors: Each section includes the influencing factors from the FY 2013/14 Report. The factors were included in the FY 2014/15 Report to highlight the importance of why each trend was selected to be analyzed for this report.