Most Cities, Counties Skip Accountability Surveys
Despite state-funded financial incentives, most Minnesota cities and counties skipped a key measure of accountability in the past year, declining to survey residents about quality of life and areas of concern.
"Sometimes, it's a scary step to take," State Auditor Rebecca Otto said on Monday, hours after releasing the 2012 Performance Measurement Report.
Only seven percent of cities and 29 percent of counties took part in submitting measures that seek to capture residents' opinions of government services and performance. In 2011, the first year of the program, 13 percent of cities and 44 percent of counties took part.
"I think they should," want to participate, Otto said, even if governments learn residents are unhappy with certain services. "There's a fear. And I understand. There's a fear," said Otto. "To me the biggest piece is committing when you pay taxes, what do you get for those taxes? And sometimes there's a disconnect."
Cities and counties worried about the cost and effort to conduct the surveys do get a financial incentives for participating in the program, which was established by the Council on Local Results and Innovation, created by the Legislature in 2010.
Governments are eligible for up to $25,000 in additional local government aid and a levy limit exemption, if applicable.
Click here to see if your city and county participated and how they ranked in measures such as fire service, parks and recreation, and snow plowing.
Watch our story above to hear more from the state auditor and see specific examples of cities and counties that did take part.