The Colorado Municipal League (CML) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has served and represented Colorado’s cities and towns since 1923. Currently, 269 of Colorado’s 272 municipalities (representing more than 99 percent of the state’s municipal population) are members of CML and benefit from their advocacy, information, and training services.
CML’s mission is twofold: to represent cities and towns collectively in matters before the state and federal government, and to provide a wide range of information services to assist municipal officials in managing their governments.
The State of Our Cities and Towns report grew out of earlier efforts to collect data on tax rates, budgets, and other statistics. CML realized these data in themselves were not as valuable as they could be, and in 2008 it sought to reconfigure its efforts and data collection to tell a more complete story of what municipalities in Colorado were currently facing. The State of Our Cities and Towns research has been conducted each fall ever since.
Corona Insights worked with CML to review past research conducted as well as assess its current needs. Surveys were designed to collect accurate information on various municipal topics and to allow both comparability from year to year (such as the economy and general challenges) and to capture information on specific topics (such as transportation, economic development, shared government services, livability, and public safety).
Corona worked with CML to conduct the survey and maximize response to ensure the results represented as many municipalities as possible. This included providing municipalities multiple ways to respond, including hard copy or online.
Corona crafted the analysis depending on the nature of the data and their expected use. In some cases, this meant segmenting the findings by size of municipality or by region; in other cases, data were presented as a database for reference only. In all cases, analysis was customized and took into account the type of data and needs of the end user. As a final step, Corona worked with CML to ensure the data were interpreted correctly and all key themes were identified for their own communications.
Corona’s data and reports have been used extensively by CML, its members, and state government. The annual report provides a beautiful snapshot of the current year, but the continuum of the data over several years allows analysis of the data within context of the bigger picture. The “long-data” provide a robust big-picture view of trends and context that give the data greater relevance. Data from the State of Our Cities and Towns report highlight current challenges, successes, and the overall state of municipal government. This report is distributed widely to inform state policy-making.
CML also uses the annual findings to create additional materials that communicate key themes from that year’s report. Brochures and video segments are produced to give users an additional way to consume the findings as well as to allow for greater distribution and therefore vigilance around the issues most important to towns and cities.
To read the full report and view the video, you can visit CML’s website.
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