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Sustainability Index

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I wasn't quite sure where to put this, so hopefully this is the right forum...

I was wondering, as part of the budget process or business plan process for your Department, if anyone has adopted a 'sustainability index' for reviewing department efficiency and use of funds. It is something that is coming up in the Federal government up here in Canada as a future tool in assessing whether municipalities are fulfilling their mandates and using funding in accordance with grant proposal 'promises' and adopted policies.

As an example, if you received money from a grant or funding program, then you would need to provide data that shows that the money was 1) used efficiently for the purpose you stated in your app and 2) that it resulted in measurable improvement.

Anyone familiar with this type of program or know of municipalities that have turned to a sustainability index to measure results?
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Please explain further. What does efficient expenditures and fulfilling mandates have to do with sustainability? I'm not sure I follow the connnection....
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Well, this isn't purely environmental sustainability (although environmental sustainability is likely a component of a sustainability index). It's sustainability of the municipality as an organization or the department (i.e. expenditures are being efficiently used in accordance with mandates). It's just breaking in Canada, so I don't have any good examples.

Business sustainability became more recognized with the Dow Jones Sustainability Index which measures businesses' long-term sustainability (including environmental, financial, etc.). The Canadian Government is in the process of adopting a similar methodology for assessing municipal health and for assigning funding for projects. I think that transportation sustainability is their primary focus.

So let's say your department gets a grant for increasing pedestrian trips over vehicle use. Your municipality decides to put in sidewalks. The project is done.

The next time you go for more funding, how do you show that you have actually increased pedestrian usage? That is what the Feds will be looking for. Using the money isn't the issue anymore... did it fulfill it's objective (mandate) in actually increasing the number of pedestrians? Has it contributed to the sustainability of the municipality?

To some extent it has to do with benchmarking, but for municipal financial health.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
We deal with this all the time in state and federal housing grant reporting requirements. They require semi-annual reports detailing:

a) Demographic details on benificiary populations
b) Cost per dwelling unit
c) Number of dwelling units rehabed and/or built
d) A quanititative comparison of what you proposed to accomplish in the original grant application versus what has actually been done.

All this data tells them 1) did we accomplish or exceed our original goals, and 2) did we do so in a cost effective manner (cost per unit).
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Okay... now take that a step further to cover the entire municipal government against certain adopted indicators (cultural programs, environmental health, transit ridership, etc. etc.), and you have an index. I have heard of various cities working the sustainability index into their budget programs and business planning.... I just can't find any examples.
 
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