The two largest cities in Montana – Billings and Missoula – scored well in a new study by WalletHub that ranks the best and worst run cities in the country.
Both finished in the top 20, with Missoula ranking No. 12 and Billings No. 17.
Montana was one of four states to place two cities in the top 20. Idaho saw Nampa and Boise placed first and second, respectively, while South Dakota has Rapid City at No. 8 and Sioux Falls at No. 16. New Hampshire’s Nashua ranked No. 4 and Manchester is No. 14.
In determining its rankings, WalletHub looked at 150 of the most populous cities in the country across six categories: financial stability, education, health, safety, economy and infrastructure and pollution.
They then evaluated those areas using 38 metrics to calculate an overall “Quality of City Services” score based on each city’s weighted score across all metrics. The “Quality of City Services” was then divided by each city’s “Total Budget per Capita” to construct a “Score per Dollar Spent” to determine the final rank.
Missoula ended up No. 67 overall for its “Quality of City Services” ranking and No. 12 for “Total Budget per Capita.” Billings’ scores in those categories were No. 86 and No. 12, respectively.
“Even when the U.S. isn’t in a time of crisis, running a city is a tall order,” said Adam McCann, author of the study. “The larger the city, the more complex it becomes to manage.”
Among the metrics WalletHub looked at were a city’s credit rating, infant mortality rate, average life expectancy and median annual household income.
Both cities scored well in the infrastructure and pollution category, which measured things like traffic congestion, average commute time, recreation friendliness and water quality.
Both also ranked well for their low unemployment rates. Missoula, at 2.4%, and Billings, 3.1%, are below the statewide rate of 3.8%. That national average is 5.8%.
Martha Cruz Zuniga, an economics professor at The Catholic University of America, told WalletHub there are simple steps residents can take to make sure their cities are well run.
“One way is participating in local councils to gain better access to information about public finances and providing input on how budgets should be allocated,” she said. “Also pushing for wider dissemination of financial information as well as progress in the work of a given administration.”
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Original Author: Ted O'Neil, The Center Square
Original Location: Two Montana towns among best run in the country