Thanks to Upper Arlington residents' overall high opinions of their community, the city was recently honored with the 2011 Voice of the People Award for Excellence.

Thanks to Upper Arlington residents’ overall high opinions of their community, the city was recently honored with the 2011 Voice of the People Award for Excellence.

As part of a standardized evaluation process through the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the Voice of the People awards are announced annually to the jurisdictions with the highest rated services according to a representative sample of their own residents, with winners identified from those communities that conducted the survey in the same year, according to an announcement from city manager Virginia Barney.

In 2010, Upper Arlington for the first time conducted a National Citizen Survey, a standardized evaluation process through ICMA, said deputy city manager for community affairs Emma Speight.

“Previously we had undertaken our own, tailor-made surveys, but the standardized survey tool allowed us to be a little more cost effective, as well as to be compared to other communities across the country,” Speight said. “The survey of our residents is used to gauge whether we’re on track. We’re in the business of service delivery, and we want to know if we’re doing a good job, or if we’re not doing a good job. In previous years the tools have allowed us to identify important community issues and goals that we needed to address.”

The ICMA recognized Upper Arlington as delivering excellent service in nine out of 11 possible categories, including police services, fire services, ambulance or emergency medical services, recycling services, public library services, recreation programs and classes, city parks, code enforcement services and overall quality of services.

To win for excellence, the rating for service quality must be one of the top three among all eligible jurisdictions and in the top 10 percent of more than 500 communities in the National Research Center database of citizen surveys, according to Barney’s announcement.

“What’s wonderful about the recognition received is that it included nine of out the 11 categories, and that’s just stupendous,” Speight said. “I think it speaks to a high level of service.”

lrice@thisweeknews.com