The only award that honors local governments who act on resident feedback to solve today’s tough challenges now includes more categories.
Resident input in decision-making is transforming communities. As a result, more and more governments have prioritized community engagement to solve today’s most complex issues. The growing importance of community collaboration is reflected in the expansion of The Voice of the People Awards, the only honor that nationally recognizes local governments that act on resident input.
This year marks the 15th Annual VOP Awards, presented by Polco and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). In the past, most recipients were nominated after receiving the highest or most improved ratings from residents for various domains of livability on The National Community Survey (The NCS). (The NCS is a nationwide community livability assessment with the largest database of its kind and nearly a thousand participating municipalities throughout the last 30 years.)
“This year, the VOP Awards will also recognize new, innovative ways local governments are connecting with their community members to solve some of the biggest national challenges: housing and budgeting,” said Nick Mastronardi, Polco Co-founder and CEO.
Nominations for these new categories were made by award judges at Balancing Act from Polco. Balancing Act allows residents to show what they value most by ranking budgeting and housing priorities. The simulations go beyond asking for input. The tools ask residents to offer their best solution to any community problem by showing participants real-life tradeoffs that their local government decision-makers face.
“Surveying remains central to collecting resident opinion. But many local governments are finding new levels of engagement with technology,” Mastronardi said. “The Balancing Act tools give local governments clarity on what residents want, while simultaneously educating community members on what is truly possible.”
The new housing and budgeting excellence awards will be given to local governments that best engage residents and address these important priorities.
The growing array of VOP Awards categories underscores the increasing importance of resident input in all aspects of government decision-making. The VOP Awards recognize exemplary municipalities but also serve as reminders of the profound impact that resident engagement can have on community quality of life.
The full list of 2023 Voice of the People Awards winners and finalists will be released at the upcoming ICMA Annual Conference in Austin, Texas (9/30 - 10/4).