Just as an individual can be regarded and looked up to as a role model for other individuals, so can a community be regarded and looked up to as a role model for other communities. That’s the desirable position Meridian is increasingly finding itself in, giving us much to celebrate in Meridian.
Cities and towns across the state, region, and country are taking notice of Meridian’s many innovations and achievements and wondering how they can create similar successes of their own.
My office routinely receives phone calls, letters, or e-mails from leaders of other communities inquiring about the logistics and “how-to’s” of many of our City’s signature programs, initiatives, and events – communities that don’t necessarily want to imitate what we do, but that want to be inspired by what we have done.
You might wonder how faraway communities learn about Meridian’s innovations. I can tell you that our city is often highlighted in a variety of print publications and on a variety of high-visibility web sites. National media outlets as diverse as Money Magazine and the Nickelodeon Television Network have singled out and showcased Meridian for its high quality of life, beautiful parks, and business-friendly environment.
Word of mouth is also an excellent way to share Meridian’s success stories. In fact, several Meridian City leaders have recently returned from the Association of Idaho Cities’ annual conference in Idaho Falls. At this gathering they were able to share ideas, discuss challenges, and ask questions of leaders from other Idaho cities. As part of this conference, the Association of Idaho Cities annually presents City Achievement Awards to recognize Idaho cities for programs and projects that improve quality of life, solve community problems, reduce costs of government, increase municipal services with minimal additional dollar outlay, and that could easily be adapted by other Idaho cities.
This year Meridian received City Achievement Awards for three programs; Building Services Division and their Electronic Plans Submittal Program; IT Division for the Incident Tracking System; and Parks Department for Settlers Village Square Phase 1. Each of these programs has been a benefit to our community. Whether it is saving the public money by reducing the amount of paper submissions needed for plan review, or saving our police officers time by eliminating data entry requirements, these tools improve our services and show the success from city staff efforts.
While it is always nice to see our City staff recognized for the innovative projects and programs they pioneer, there is a great sense of pride knowing that the work that is being done in Meridian will be a benefit to other Idaho cities. By learning from the challenges we’ve faced, the information we’ve gathered, and the lessons we’ve learned we set the example and are leading the way with programs, policies, practices that make Meridian a great community and inspire others.
Have you had experience with one of these new services? If so, I want to hear from you. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how it worked for you. Together, we can celebrate this recognition by the city staff who help make Meridian the premier place to live, work and raise a family.