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TMT's Indicators Gain New Influence

After over a decade of advocacy and building creative collaborations, Truckee Meadows Tomorrow's perseverance paid off in a strategic breakthrough with the Washoe County government. In 2005, the elected Washoe County Board of Commissioners decided to focus their strategic plan more on longer term quality of life outcomes. TMT's quality of life indicators and 2005 Community Well Being Report became an excellent resource for them to draw upon to set strategic priorities, goals, and community outcome indicators in the County Strategic Plan. In many instances, County Commissioners used the same language as TMT when drafting their strategic goals. Examples include "reducing congestion and transportation system improvements," "collaborating to enhance the quality and availability of the regional workforce," and "improving disease prevention and control." Commissioners were aware of the extensive citizen involvement with TMT and the interest TMT had generated around quality of life issues in the region.

In 2006 the County took the connection further by relating performance measures in the budget to those strategic goals and TMT indicators. With its new strategic plan and budget, Washoe County is building on TMT's achievements to start taking community governance to a new strategic level. The TMT case study in "The Model in Action" describes how TMT helps "Citizens Reach for Results" (Advanced Practice 3 of the Effective Community Governance Model). If the County government follows up its plan and budget with a cycle of service improvements and performance feedback that relates back to citizens' quality of life priorities in the strategic plan, it will advance community governance in the region to the status of "Governing for Results" (Advanced Practice 4).

In 2005, a community-based growth management task force started using quality of life indicators and began helping TMT update their indicators. TMT was also invited to help steer the regional planning update in 2006 to measure sustainable quality-of-life indicators in the region. With these developments, TMT's indicators are finally starting to be used for one of their original purposes: to measure the impacts of growth, in growth management and regional planning.

More recently (in 2009) the Community Indicators Consortium (CIC) published the downloadable story "Citizen-driven Performance: Truckee Meadows Tomorrow and Washoe County Tomorrow" (PDF, 3.7 MB) about how TMT's community indicators and Washoe County performance measurement and management have become more integrated. Also see TMT's own Reports and Resources (including Community Well Being Report links) and the TMT website.

For more on community indicators including links to other communities with indicators' projects, see the CIC website.  For more CIC stories on linking community indicators and government performance measures, click here.