Mayor Unveils City Performance Benchmarks for Madison Measures

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 - 11:49am

Madison – Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today unveiled the performance benchmarks that will be used as part of his Madison Measures program. The mayor developed Madison Measures to help City leaders frame policy discussions, make informed budget decisions and track the performance of City programs.

“Benchmarks will help us make better use of scarce taxpayer resources,” said Cieslewicz. “Madison Measures will help us make sound budgeting decisions based on performance. This initiative will also provide a much higher level of accountability, by measuring the quality of the services people truly care about: How safe is my family? How quickly will an ambulance come when I need one? Is my food safe?”

Madison Measures provides a framework for policy discussions, budget deliberations and decision-making. The program uses data-driven benchmarks to track and evaluate the performance and usage of various City services. Benchmarks focus on “outcomes” (how does the program perform?) instead of “inputs” (how much do we spend on a program?).

Examples of benchmarks identified by the mayor for Madison Measures include:

o Fire Department response time: How long does it take to respond to an emergency call?
o Street rating inventory: How much progress are we making in improving the quality of City streets?
o Water quality: How clean is the supply of drinking water we are supplying to City residents?
o Metro Transit: How many people are riding Madison Metro buses?

While much of this type of information is already being collected in some form, Madison Measures is a Citywide effort to not only collect information, but track it over time and use it to make sound decisions about budgeting and the use of city resources.

In addition to these program-specific benchmarks, Madison Measures also includes a section on the City of Madison’s “vital signs”. These broad indicators track information such as citywide unemployment, income and new construction. On the lighter side, one such indicator is the number of square miles encompassed by the City of Madison, which will enable pundits to get their numbers right when citing the old “Madison is X miles surrounded by reality” cliché (for the record, it was 76.14 square miles in 2005).

“Madison Measures will be a valuable tool in developing our city budget,” said Cieslewicz. “Too often, we get caught up in making decisions based on input measures like financial resources or additional staff, and we forget to ask what we are trying to accomplish. Madison Measures is about goals and the experiences and expectations of City residents.”

The 123-page Madison Measures initiative is available upon request, or online at Madison Measures was developed under the direction of Andrew Statz, the City of Madison’s Fiscal Efficiency Auditor.

  • George Twigg, 266-4611