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View a customizable dashboard of how a town or city has been doing across a number of measures.



Generate a peer group over up to ten measures and benchmark performance over multiple indicators.



Compare communities on a particular indicator within specific geographies, community sub-types or a select group.



This handbook is intended as a resource for citizens, especially those serving on municipal finance committees, to analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of their community’s spending. Pioneer Institute has distributed over 3,000 copies to city and town finance committee members throughout Massachusetts.


“Local officials make tough calls on spending every day. Given built-in costs and continuing difficulties with the economy, that’s not going to change anytime soon” said Pioneer Executive Director Jim Stergios. “This guide provides them a roadmap to smart budgeting, with efficient and cost-effective approaches to resource management and public service delivery.”

The Guide to Sound Fiscal Management for Municipalities features contributions from municipal managers and consultants including Worcester Budget Director Jarrett Conner, Brookline Deputy Town Administrator Sean Cronin, Stephanie Hirsch, an associate at UMass Boston’s Collins Center, Pioneer Senior Fellow and waste management executive Steve Lisauskas, City of Boston Project Manager and Devon Lyons-Quirk.

“It’s been well acknowledged for years that data driven performance analysis is a desirable goal for local governments,” says Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash, who authored the Guide’s Foreword. “Unfortunately, municipal managers just haven’t the time to thoughtfully assemble data and then figure out a template for reporting it. That is, until now, and this guide is that resource.”

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