Projects and programs are judged on how well they demonstrate the following:
- Innovative problem solving
- Improved quality of life
- Excellence in management
- Making the most of local resources
- Increased citizen participation
- Commitment to higher levels of service
- Long-term value to the community
- Adaptability to other communities
Award-winning projects typically demonstrate innovative ways of delivering services, address a community need, or significantly improving an existing service.
Award categories are based on the field of work with local governments of all size populations competing within these categories. Our panel of judges have years of experience in local governments of all sizes and will judge the scope and impact of the project in relationship and proportion to the community’s size, thereby putting localities of all sizes on a level playing field.
We recognize that many projects relate to more than one category. When deciding what category best fits your project, consider what the primary goal of the project is and what aspect of it demonstrates the greatest innovation.
Localities may submit in as many categories as they like. The categories are:
- Community Health: Includes building healthy community environments through active lifestyle programs, nutrition education and improving access to healthier food choices.
- Infrastructure: Includes public works, transportation, public utilities, stormwater, customer service enhancements, environmental preservation, sustainability, resiliency planning, structures and facilities, libraries and other projects.
- Economic Development: Includes business development, historic preservation, tourism, workforce development, housing, community events, strategic planning and visioning, public-private partnerships, consumer and financial literacy, public art, museums and similar projects.
- Public Safety: Includes police, fire, rescue services, emergency planning and coordinated response, building code enforcement, jails, health and mental health related to public safety.
- Working with Youth: Includes civics education, pre-k-12 education, summer programs, parks and recreation, and literacy programs.
- Communications: Includes promotional campaigns, branding campaigns, crisis plans, events, customer service programs; media can include online, video, print, social and other formats.
President’s Award for Innovation
One winning project from the category winners will be selected for the top prize – the President’s Award – and will receive this top honor in addition to the award in their category. The President’s Award can come from any of the categories.
All entries must be received via e-mail by 5 p.m., Monday, July 31, 2017.
Rules for entering
- All entries must be submitted electronically via email. Localities must download the entry form and fill in all of the requested information directly on the form. The completed form must then be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The competition is open to all VML local government members.
- Entries must cover new projects or programs completed between Jan. 1, 2016 and May 1, 2017, or – for existing projects – entries must cover major enhancements that occurred between Jan. 1, 2016 and May 1, 2017.
- Each entry form must be fully completed and must be signed by the local government’s chief administrative or elected official.
- A local government can submit entries in all of the six categories. The President’s Award is not a separate category.
- Supporting materials totaling no more than 10 pages, including photos, brochures, charts, or other information, can be included in a separate document. This document must also be e-mailed. If you wish to submit one video as part of your supporting materials, contact email@example.com and we will send you the link to a secure FTP site where you can upload your video. Maximum length of video is five minutes.
Entries are screened by VML staff and judged by a panel of three judges chosen for their expertise in local and state government. They generally represent a variety of communities — from small towns to large cities and state agencies.
For more information about completing your entry or other details, contact VML’s Manuel Timbreza at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-649-8471.