City council often meets goals, performance report indicates

Monday, September 17, 2012

by City of Oklahoma City


The Oklahoman

The Oklahoma City Council keeps a list of its stated goals, and the latest report that measures the council’s success shows most of them are being accomplished.

The city’s 2012 Citizen Performance Report was released last week, and it generally reflects a performance that the council can be proud of. Most indicators that track city performance related to the council’s goals are trending in a positive direction.

The report, which uses internal city performance indicators and portions of a resident survey to gauge how things are going, is part of Oklahoma City officials’ efforts over the last decade to increase the amount of information made available to the public and be more responsive.

“We’ve come a long ways on our reporting, and I hope the citizens find it helpful,” City Manager Jim Couch said.

Nine priorities
The Oklahoma City Council has identified nine priorities as it sets city policy. They’re posted in places ranging from the city website to city documents and some signs used in City Hall.

The priorities are preserving confidence and trust in city government; promoting a sustainable financial model; a focus on infrastructure development; increasing the effectiveness and sustainability of public transportation; expanding economic development initiatives; enhancing quality of life; improving public education; gaining greater government efficiency; and ensuring citizen safety.

City data shows most of the goals are being met, and that things are generally trending in the right direction in areas where the goals haven’t yet been reached.

How it’s tracked
City officials pick elements of the resident survey and internal performance markers, which are developed in separate efforts, and try to match them to one of the council’s listed priorities when creating the report. It’s the third year the city has compiled the performance report using those data sets.

For example, one of the ways the city determines if the council is meeting its goal of promoting a sustainable financial model is to look at Oklahoma City’s bond rating. Fiscal year 2013 is the fourth consecutive year in which the city has a AAA bond rating from two ratings agencies, the highest rating possible.

Part of what city officials use to measure infrastructure development is to monitor resident satisfaction with city streets. Though the condition of streets has long been a sore spot with city residents, satisfaction has started to rise a bit in recent years.

Feedback wanted
City officials are looking for more feedback on the performance report and what people want to see included in it. Focus groups have given the report a positive review so far.

“Citizens did indicate that the information was meaningful (and) it did help them understand city operations better,” Deputy Budget Director Jason Ferbrache said. “They encouraged us to make the report as easily accessible as possible.”   

•83 percent of Oklahoma City residents are satisfied in the city’s direction
•66 percent of residents are satisfied with city services
•25 percent of residents are satisfied with the condition of streets
•18 percent of residents were satisfied with streets five years ago
•3.4 percent increase last fiscal year in average annual income
•4,139 jobs created last fiscal year
•71 percent of citizens are satisfied with quality of life
•65 percent of city school students are in a new or renovated school