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Starkville joins Horn Lake, Southaven in productivity group

March 26, 2011

For Starkville Daily News

The city of Starkville recently joined a consortium with two other Mississippi cities in an effort to improve local government productivity.
The consortium, which also includes Horn Lake and Southaven will be included with 169 local governments across the nation partnering with the Washington D.C.-based International City and County Management Association to use performance measurement tools to increase government productivity.
While the Center for Performance Measurement has partners in 35 states — and 18 metro-area or state-based consortia around the country— the Horn Lake/Southaven/Starkville Consortium will be its first partnership in Mississippi.
Performance measurement data collecting and sharing is a powerful tool for improving the productivity of local governments. “It’s important for me to be able to see how efficiently we’re using our resources from year to year,” said Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, “but I’m also interested seeing how our numbers relate to other communities. If there’s a community out there delivering the same service for half the cost, I’m going want to pick up the phone and ask them how they’re doing it.”
In challenging economic times cities must struggle to meet the challenge of doing more with less.
“With limited resources, it remains critical that we make our tax dollars stretch as much as possible,” Southaven Mayor Greg Davis said, “while delivering a high level of public services our residents demand and deserve.”
Horn Lake Mayor Nat Baker sees it as a tool that will help his staff enhance the productivity of city service delivery. “Our department heads are finding that performance measurement data collection leads them to think outside the box to improve our city services,” said Baker. “Establishing a management approach that is based upon performance measurement will ultimately be of great value to our citizens.”
The ICMA Center for Performance Measurement is committed to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of local governments, officials said in a statement.
Using a series of standardized measurements, the Center for Performance Measurement works with partner communities to produce data showing how efficiently and effectively resources are being used to meet goals and objectives. In addition to receiving data on their own communities, each community receives data collected within the other member communities from across the country.
Performance measurement offers opportunities to maximize the benefit to citizens of every tax dollar spent.
The Center for Performance Measurement has worked to build its program around challenges of maximizing efficiency and effectiveness unique to the public sector.
“In the private sector, there are two key measures that are widely accepted, profit and market share,” said Michael Lawson, director of the Center for Performance Measurement.
“But in the public sector, it is all about delivering the right mix of services as efficiently as possible — and at a level the public is willing to pay for. Yet each community will have a different set of preferences in services and taxes — so the various performance metrics and targets for each city have to be determined by the citizens of each city through their elected representatives.”

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