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By Jim Thomas, MTAS
The University of Tennessee (UT) Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) has developed a checklist of the basics of managing a Tennessee municipality to help municipal officials judge whether their city or town measures up in providing services.
In 1988, MTAS distributed a publication entitled “What Every City Needs,” which listed 73 basic needs of every city and town covering administration, finance, police, fire, water/wastewater, streets/roads and solid waste collection and disposal. It is 24 years later, but the advice is still sound and is the basis for a new MTAS project called “Building Better Cities.”
Over the next few months, MTAS personnel will be collecting data on each city and town in Tennessee that addresses 28 criteria and factors (compared to 73 in the earlier publication). The purpose of the project is not to compare one city against all others. When data collection is completed, analysis of the data will be used by MTAS to do planning for its work to accommodate each city’s efforts to build that better city. While much of the information relative to the criteria is already known or available from central sources, MTAS management consultants will also be talking with city officials across the state to complete the survey.
The baseline data being collected now will be analyzed and reported on late this summer. The same survey will be completed in future years to measure progress that cities and towns, with MTAS’s service, make toward “Building Better Cities.” ■