Since the group's formation in 2011, the cities have worked collaboratively to identify and share resources, best practices, and common information with the goal of improving complex and diverse citywide operations. The 11 participating cities are Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise, and Tempe.
The Valley Benchmark Cities initiative publishes an annual report to share 24 Valley-wide measures with city leadership and the public.
The annual report includes measures in the following service categories:
- Fire Services
- Police Services
- Library Services
- Parks and Recreation Services
- Water, Sewer, and Trash Services
- Finance and Administration Services.
Once a month, representatives from each member city convene to discuss data collection, new and existing service metrics, and general trends from a local and regional perspective. Administrative and operational support is provided to the group through a partnership with Arizona State University’s Center for Urban Innovation and the Alliance for Innovation.
During the FY 2017-18 year, the group performed a deep dive into how to incorporate sustainability measures into the annual report. Although deep dives are often championed by one or two representatives, the entire group contributes constructive feedback and direction. During a deep dive, the group looks toward ICMA’s Open Access Benchmarking Indicators for inspiration and then expands upon those metrics to fit the needs of the group. Subject matter experts are often invited to provide insights on the usefulness of a measure and its data collection feasibility. Once the measure has been clearly defined and the data have been properly uploaded, the deep dive is presented at an annual meeting to decide whether to incorporate the new measure into the report.