The 2008 National League of Cities Awards for Municipal Excellence recognize city and town programs that exemplify excellence in city governance and establish model programs that improve the lives of their residents.

The winners were announced at the Congress of Cities in New Orleans in November 2008.

View an in-depth description of NLC's Awards for Municipal Excellence.

Gold Winners

Silver Winners

Bristol, Va.

Broadband Partnerships & Sustainability Project
Population Category: Under 50,000

Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) is the nation's first government-owned public utility to implement a fiber-to-the-user network — known as OptiNet — that offers a triple-play of services (phone, video and digital data).

The city fought Internet and cable companies that attempted to block the project.

OptiNet has helped bring the region 1,200 jobs, in addition to adding $50 million in new private investment.

BVU used more than $6 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration and the Virginia Tobacco Commission to expand OptiNet to remote rural locations.


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High Point, N.C.

Overt Drug Market Strategy
Population Category: 50,001 to 150,000

The High Point, N.C., Police Department has used prevention and intervention techniques to reduce violence.

A law enforcement and community partnership delivered a "no violence" message to repeat offenders that violence will bring special law enforcement attention, and offered services and alternatives to them.

The Overt Drug Market Strategy was created to engage drug dealers and their families, to establish predictable sanctions and offer help, resulting in a 37 percent average decrease in drug-related violent crimes.


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Henderson, Nev.

Service Guarantee Program
Population Category: 150,001 - 500,000

In 2007, Henderson, Nev., processed more than 15,000 building permits worth approximately $800 million in construction. The city's Development Services Center (DSC) created a Service Guarantee Program (SGP) for development-related services.

With new technology, the department can access real-time status information on more than 500 permit types.

DSC has sustained an overall on-time rate exceeding 98 percent for the past three years. The program pays for itself through user fees.


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San Jose, Calif.

Strong Neighborhoods Initiative
Population Category: 500,001 and over

San Jose Strong Neighborhoods Initiative was launched in 2000 as a collaborative approach to improve neighborhoods and build community relationships.

Nineteen Neighborhood Advisory Committees developed plans with their top 10 priorities.

Projects include street repaving and streetlights, new parks and community centers, traffic calming, cleanups and home rehabilitation. Of the 190 initial projects, 148 have been completed, and 18 more are funded and in progress.

Since 2000, $2.7 billion in public and private funding has been invested in the 19 areas.


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South Sioux City, Neb.

Siouxland YMCA
Population Category: Under 50,000

South Sioux City joined a public/private partnership with the South Sioux City Community School District and the YMCA to develop a regional $10 million recreation center.

The city provided the land along the Missouri River, and the city and school district each contributed $750,000 of non-property tax dollars toward the project, and a fund drive raised $6.8 million. A USDA loan was secured for the balance.

City employees can use the facility free for five years.


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West Covina, Calif.

West Covina Commercial Center & Sportsplex
Population Category: 50,001 to 150,000

In 2001, Covina, Calif.'s Community Development Commission Department began planning to convert a 583-acre landfill into a retail center, offices and recreational areas.

The West Covina Commercial Center and Sportsplex is 80 percent complete with Target, Home Depot and Big League Dreams opening in early 2008. Office development, the golf course and natural habitat preserve are scheduled to open in late 2009.

The project has generated an additional net growth of $1.1 million in sales tax revenue and $600,000 in property taxes plus an additional economic spin-off of $74.2 million regionally. It also has created 1,045 jobs, and will add another 800 jobs when the office towers are completed.


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Boise, Idaho

Charitable Assistance to Community's Homeless (CATCH)
Population Category: 150,001 - 500,000

Boise's Charitable Assistance to Community's Homeless (CATCH) program was developed to address family homelessness. CATCH's approach is to quickly house families first, then provide resources, services and case management.

CATCH accepts referrals from homeless shelters, and offers eligible families community resources to access and maintain permanent housing.

CATCH is the first program of its kind to broadly collaborate within the community to privately fund housing costs for up to six months for homeless families.


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Denver

The Five by Five Project
Project Category: 500,001 and over

The Five by Five Project provides Denver Head Start families with children under the age of 5 year-round free access and educational opportunities at 12 of Denver's top cultural venues. It was implemented in 2005 and designed by the Denver Mayor's Office for Education and Children in partnership with 10 of the venues.

The project provides Head Start teachers with free access to the venues and professional development opportunities to connect students' cultural experiences with classroom learning

The estimated value to families is more than $4 million annually, primarily derived from the free admission to the cultural organizations. The yearly operating cost is about $35,000 and is funded through a Community Development Block Grant.

More than 60,000 visits have been made to the venues since the project began.


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