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Measuring Loveland’s Performance Dividend
This is the fifth year the City will have a dedicated section in its Budget and Capital Improvement Program for performance measurement, and the eight year the City has reported performance data in its annual budget document.
As is clear from the 2013 Budget Message, the City is facing serious revenue declines without a correlating reduction in service demands. Residents themselves will decide to either replace the lost revenue with a 0.25% income tax increase or get significantly less services. Either way, as the budget tightens further, performance measurement will be even more critical to guiding policy.
Performance data is the functional equivalent of the airplane pilot’s instrumental panel. Just as one cannot imagine trying to fly a plane through significant air turbulence without having an instrument panel to make critical navigational and operational decisions, I cannot imagine trying to make decisions about service changes without performance data.
City departments provide exemplary services to our residents, and get excellent services for below average expenditures. This is not just an article of faith; the data demonstrate it. Public skepticism about government remains at an all-time high, but perhaps if the public can glimpse the results a municipality like the City of Loveland provides with the taxes and fees paid, this skepticism can be attenuated.
Data analysis, performance measurement and benchmarking can therefore play a crucial role in shifting the tenor of discussions away from the shrill, the ad hominem, the unproductive, to a value-based and civil debate about what it is the City of Loveland wants to be. I believe performance data is the best way to shift the conversation.
City staff herewith presents 2009-2011 actual data, 2012 projections based on year-to-date trends, and staff’s 2013 forecast given the proposed budget and our understanding of community trends. The reader should carefully judge for him or herself what they think of the actual results and projected and forecasted results.