Auburn Hills, Mich. – Feb. 25, 2015 – Economic development pros are in a fiercely competitive game of attracting new or expanding businesses to their city or state. With tax credits facing additional scrutiny and sometimes being removed completely from the economic development bag of tricks, it may be time to let the data do the talking. Bob Kittle, president of Michigan-based Munetrix, which captures and monitors municipal and school district financial data using a proprietary fiscal scoring measure, said it’s a back to basics approach.
“What sells a city or a region in addition to a skilled workforce and business-friendly tax and economic policies, is the quality of schools, the fiscal health of a community, and overall quality of life. It’s the details behind these determinants that tells the story, though, and that’s where the data comes into play.”
Kittle cites the usual data points of high school graduation rates, student achievement, and legacy costs of cities and schools, but notes other less emphasized data points also reflect the overall attractiveness of a community. Accordingly, Kittle suggests economic development pros also note the following data points when selling their city or state:
• Foreclosure rates
• Average dispatch time for emergency services
• The number of parks and recreational facilities
• Road conditions and provisions for road and infrastructure upkeep
• Crime rate and public spending on crime prevention/emergency preparedness
• Real estate values and trends
Munetrix captures this type of wide-reaching data as well as traditional fiscal indicators data such as population, school enrollment, fund balance and public legacy costs, but Kittle says regardless of the source, a wide variety of community data is available for those who are willing to dig.
“With the move towards transparency, the availability of data, with varying degrees of accessibility, has surged,” Kittle said. “When shared, it can help economic development pros tell a deeper story and also invite questions from their stakeholders, increasing the level of engagement between the two parties and helping to forge an open, trusting relationship.”
Michigan-based Munetrix is the creator of the Munetrix (municipal metrics) cloud-based local government transparency tool and is among the nation’s largest compilers of municipal and school district data, allowing subscribers to view public sector financial and demographic data in an easy to understand format and use that data to make meaningful and reliable budgets and financial projections. What is your community’s Munetrix Score? To learn more, visit the Munetrix website.