Columbus looks at CitiStat program

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) -  Baltimore, Maryland is hundreds of miles away from Columbus, GA but the government there has something our local officials want.

It's called CitiStat- a data-driven system that manages city programs and services.

The deputy mayor of Baltimore walked the Columbus mayor and council through how his city has implemented it at a special called meeting Tuesday.

"They check how they're doing and the value they're returning to their citizens. What's so exciting about this is it allows you to rethink bureaucracy. It allows you to rethink your government to make sure that you're providing the most efficient and effective services at the fewer taxpayers dollars," said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson.

According to Tomlinson, the program doesn't require any pricey software programs or new personnel within the city departments.

With CitiStat, information is collected through performance, like response times for fixing potholes and collecting trash. The data is analyzed and then the managers from each department meet with the mayor every other week to answer questions about the results.

The deputy mayor of Baltimore says his city has been using the program for 10 years now and it has saved millions.

"The budget process should be much clearer because if a department head comes with a capital request and they've got the hard data to back up their request- it'll show us that we've got two choices. We either get a little more realistic in our goals or we invest the money to meet the goals we've set," said Council for Post 10 at Large, Skip Henderson.

"It allows us to make more educated decisions, much more rationale-based decisions and ultimately, I think that's where you want to get to have a good, clean budget," Tomlinson added.

She says it's possible Columbus will start using CitiStat at the start of the new fiscal year for 2012 but that's something council has yet to set in stone.

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