Seattle may have just dismissed Mike McGinn as mayor in favor Ed Murray, but the change at the top of city government has had no bearing on Seattle’s rating at one of the best-run metropolitan areas in the United States.
According to 24/7 Wall St., Seattle is No. 7 among the Top 10 Best-Run Cities. Their analysis was based on reviews of the 100 most populated U.S. cities using a variety of factors, including the area’s economy, job market, crime level and welfare of the population.
With a population of 635,000 (22nd largest) and a stable credit rating of Aaa, Seattle earned its top honors by having a low crime rate (44th lowest) and a 6.4 percent rate of unemployment, considerably better than the national average.
The city’s 2012 median household income of $64,473 was also quite high. The Seattle area’s economy has been quite strong in recent years, growing 3.3 percent in 2011 and 4.6 percent in 2012, better than most other metro areas. A number of major companies, including Costco, Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks are based in or near the city.
This year, the best-run city is Irvine, Calif.; followed by No. 2 Fremont, Calif.; No. 3 Plano, Texas; No. 4 Lincoln, Neb.; No. 5 Virginia Beach, Va.; No. 6 Scottsdale, Ariz.; No. 8 Austin, Texas; No. 9 Chesapeake, Va.; and No. 10 Raleigh, N.C.
The research found that some of these negative economic and job-market factors, that sunk cities like San Bernardino, Detroit and Cleveland to the worst-run cities rankings, can be mitigated if a city is well managed.
“It is the responsibility of city planners to prepare for the worst. Mayors, school boards, and city councils all have a role to play in that regard and must work with the resources available to keep budgets balanced,’’ 24/7 Wall St. stated.
In some cases, this means facilitating growth of emerging industries that attract skilled, educated and well-paid taxpayers to a region. Seattle, Austin and Scottsdale, all among the best-ranked cities, have managed to do this well.