Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A new report offers a few ideas on how states and localities can make their stimulus reporting more meaningful.
It's been almost a year since Congress passed the $787 billion stimulus package. With the first projects funded and under way, states and localities now have to report back how they've spent their portion. The reports they hand in will focus on jobs created or retained, project oversight and details on how waste, fraud and abuse was avoided. But such data does little to address actual outcomes. A report by the International City/County Management Association has a few ideas about that. They suggest using metrics already collected by most local governments in areas that include street resurfacing, public transit projects, water and sewer line replacements, broadband initiatives and energy efficiency efforts. ICMA advocates aggregating measures in these areas to give the public more than just an inventory of projects. So, instead of just declaring the number of projects that were completed, like the number of miles of water line replaced and miles of roadway paved, localities would be able to tell the public the reduction of water losses attributable to water line replacement and the portion of resurfaced roadway last resurfaced in the 1980s or earlier. The paper also calls for the appointment of a committee of local government executives that would review the set of recommended measures used and monitor the results.