Commerce Dept: City of Fort Collins Is ‘Best of the Best’ in Performance

The city of Fort Collins, Colorado, competed and won a prestigious Department of Commerce Baldridge Performance Excellence award, here’s why.


Fort Collins, Colorado, is one of five recipients of the 30th Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. With a 2017 Baldrige Performance Excellence Award, the Federal government is recognizing the city’s efforts to lead in American organizational and business innovations.

The Baldridge Program is a Federal public-private partnership enacted in 1987 focused on performance excellence. The program and the performance competition identify and recognize role models from government, businesses, healthcare and education programs and non-profit organizations, according to the program website. Entering the competition requires tasks like a site evaluation.

One of the reasons the city of Fort Collins received a 2017 Baldrige Performance Excellence Award was for its Moody’s Investors Service’s “Aaa” credit rating, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). But the city is also ‘Best of the Best’ because ranks in the top 10 percent of cities nationally as a best place to live and work because of cultural, recreational and job opportunities -- as well as its favorable air quality. Further, Fort Collins ranks in the top 1 percent for drinking water quality and emergency preparedness, based on data from the National Research Center.

On it’s competition website, NIST highlighted the city’s climate change planning, community-oriented policing and community engagement efforts as reasons for high quality of life scores. Open government practices, ability to balance priorities and financial achievement are other areas benchmarks of the Federal competition spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The organizations which are given the Baldrige Award embody the competitive spirit which drives the American economy forward,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in the award announcement.

Of note by NIST, the city’s sales and use tax income increased by 19 percent in recent years, from $110 million in 2012 to $136 million in 2016.

This is particularly impressive given that the City’s tax rate is among the lowest in the ‘front range’ (regional comparison) region of Colorado,” award announcement materials noted.
Fort Collins Best of the Best Quality of Life Highlights

Fort Collins COPS Excellence

After a 2014 Fort Collins Police Services citizen survey, the department prioritized Community-Oriented Policing (COPS).

NIST said that Fort Collins COPS programs like “Shop with a Cop,” and a ride-alongs program have contributed to resident survey scores on crime prevention, generating recognized performance both regional and nationally.

Fort Collins Energy Conservation Excellence

According to NIST, “Fort Collins is a national leader for environmental goals.” Community energy use decreased 12 percent annually for three years while the population grew 7 percent. This has been accomplished through award-winning programs such as the city’s climate action plan.

Fort Collins Strategic Planning & Community Engagement

Fort Collins’ has 27 citizen advisory boards and commissions that provide input to the city’s strategic planning process. Requirements are identified and grouped into seven strategic service areas.

Read more about Fort Collins, including the city’s “co-creation model” on the NIST website.

Access the award announcement.

Andrea Fox is Editor of and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.