Las Cruces, New Mexico has been named the sixth best-run city in America by the online financial services company, WalletHub.
The 2017 listing compares 150 metropolitan cities in the United States based on the city’s operating efficiency and a “Quality of Services” score of 33 performance indicators.
Metrics included financial stability, education, health, safety, economy, infrastructure and pollution. How the city addresses those issues with programs and resources determined the overall ranking. El Paso, Texas made the list at number 27 and Albuquerque, New Mexico at number 23. Las Cruces, with an overall ranking of 6, came in at number 36 for quality of city services and seventh for total budget per capita.
“Our great staff and leadership have worked hard to balance the needs of our residents with the knowledge we must be good stewards of the taxes paid by the city’s residents,” said Ceil Levatino, councilor for district 6.
The Quality of City Services score, divided by the city’s total per-capita budget results in a score-per-dollar-spent index which determined Las Cruces’ overall sixth-place position.
“There are many factors that influence how well a city is run,” said Terry Clower, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. “More importantly, it matters which type of activity you are considering in judging how well a city is run. For example, a city can be run very well administratively, but fall short in economic development planning.
“A city could be very efficient at addressing business issues, while maybe not being as effective for neighborhoods,” Clower continued. “The key factor in all of this is leadership: having the right kind of leaders in place when needed.”
Clower said the top five indicators in evaluating how well a city is run are economic performance, an economy that adapts to changes in industry, a growing or stable tax base, an education system that meets current employer needs but also prepares students for the future, and being a place where people want to live.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima credited current and former staff, including City Manager Stuart Ed, assistant managers David Dollahon and William Studer, former city manager Robert Garza, former assistant city managers Brian Denmark and Mark Winson, and the current council — Greg Smith, Olga Pedroza, Jack Eakman, Gill Sorg, Kasandra Gandara and Levatino — for “their financial responsibility and temperament” in balancing needed services with the city’s budget.
“I think we have a great team which has allowed us to be prudent with the taxpayer’s money,” Miyagishima said.
Release courtesy of the Las Cruces Sun-News, July 12, 2017.