Benchmarking is commonplace within municipalities. It acts as a guide and catalyst. Often times it is rooted in data – subjective and objective – all of which can be assessed and further examined. And although benchmarking doesn’t provide concrete answers, it does help guide elected officials and government leaders to ask the right kinds of questions with the intent of gaining better insights on outputs, costs, and ultimately performance.
Recently, Mountain Village Town Council voted in favor of hiring a firm to conduct such a study. The firm, Mountain State Employers Council (MSEC), will assess the nuts and bolts of current municipal services, closely examine their associated costs, and determine if the quality and level of service is on par with other like resort towns. To begin, MSEC and the town will host a kickoff event June 21 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Town Hall; this event will be streamed live. The intent of this open house style meeting will be to introduce the project, talk about key steps and milestones, and share an initial list of metrics. Eventually, and most importantly, MSEC will conduct community interviews** and provide opportunities for public comment.
“The objective of this study is not to say town x is more efficient than Mountain Village or vice versa,” said Nichole Zangara Riley, director of marketing and business development. “The value add for this project is to leverage best practices, focus on areas where improvements are needed, and create more efficiency. We can get there by involving our community, asking more questions, and pivoting if and when necessary. Ideally, it would be nice if benchmarking studies provided a black and white roadmap, but they don’t. To add, not all resort towns offer the same level or kinds of services Mountain Village does. This doesn’t mean we can’t use benchmarking to help, it just means we need to approach this with an open mind.”
Founded in 1939 and based in Denver, MSEC is a non-profit organization and the nation’s largest employers organization that conducts more than 50 customized special benchmarking studies each year. Together, MSEC and the town will compare its efficiencies to11-plus other resort towns. That short list includes places like Snowmass Village, CO, Sun Valley, ID, and Telluride. Any exceptional issues, like the fact that Mountain Village operates a gondola, daycare and apartment complex, will be taken into consideration and determined if public data is comparable or even available.
“In recent years Mountain Village has put more emphasis on prudent budgeting and spending while building a reserve fund to carry them through an unforeseeable economic downturn. Although these budget efforts, among other initiatives, are key to running an efficient government, it is good practice to learn from others in order to improve,” said Zangara Riley.
The deadline to complete the benchmarking study is August, a time when staff and Council are forecasting next year’s budget expenditures and revenues. In time, updates about the benchmarking study will be made available on the town’s website.
**To set up an interview with MSEC Consultant Brandon Young, please email him at [email protected]. Any and all Mountain Village residents and business owners are encouraged to participate in the interview process.