Data & Resources

MuniExLogoWeb2002020 AWC Municipal Excellence Awards

AWC’s Municipal Excellence Awards recognize innovative city projects that significantly improve the quality of life for their communities. The competition is open to any Washington city or town. Entries are submitted by category; each category has one winner. The five winners will be recognized at AWC’s Annual Conference this June in Kennewick.


What can you enter?

Here are the five categories:

Do you have an outstanding program that is improving your community? Have you partnered with others to make it happen? Stellar programs and initiatives need dedicated people and allocated resources to plan and implement them.

Has your city recently completed a project that has helped shape or redefine your community? Winning projects take time, resources, and detailed planning to perfectly execute. Projects highlight the things you love about your city and help connect residents to the things they need to live, learn, work, and play.

Small city success
Small cities have unique needs. It’s those unique needs that inspire small city innovations that other communities want to replicate. Cities and towns with populations less than 5,000 are encouraged to enter this category. Any type of project or program is eligible.

Race & equity
Race holds a place in our society’s most persistent patterns of social inequities and divisions. Share what your city has done to eliminate racial disparities, heal divisions, and build a safe community where people from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds thrive.

Sustainability is often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Share a program or project that is moving into the future and shaping the economic, environmental, or social vision of your community.



Municipal Excellence entry form

Enter your city’s best project(s) using the form above.

  • Review the judging section below for elements that will be considered during judging. (400-word maximum)
  • You may also include photos or other materials that support your entry. Submit supporting materials to Materials will only be returned upon request.

Deadline to enter is March 13.



New this year! Judging will be done by city members—your peers! Here are the elements judges will look for when considering your project/program:

  • What is the value to the community?
  • Is the project innovative and forward-thinking?
  • Did it look to partnerships to help get the job done?
  • Is it a model for other cities to use?


Check out the 2019 winners

Kent: Municipal DUI Court – Changing Behavior, Saving Lives

The City of Kent created a Municipal DUI Court to reduce incarceration rates and recidivism among its highest-risk, repeat DUI offenders. Participants spend at least two years in the program, which includes frequent court appearances, random drug/alcohol testing, treatment, support groups, and community service. The program is saving the city significant incarceration costs while improving community safety.

Lakewood: Rental Housing Safety Program

The City of Lakewood is safe-guarding the living conditions of hundreds of residents through its Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP). The program requires rental property owners to register with the city and receive regular health and safety property inspections. Since its inception, the program has led to the correction of hundreds of safety issues and resulted in closure of several unsafe rental units and relocation of those residents to safer housing.

Olympia: Crisis Response Unit and Familiar Faces

The City of Olympia is going beyond traditional policing to help community members in crisis, many of whom are part of the city’s homeless population. The Olympia Police Department (OPD) operates a mobile Crisis Response Unit staffed by mental health and substance use disorder professionals who can be dispatched directly to police or fire calls and help connect individuals to social service providers. Through its Familiar Faces program, peer navigators use street outreach to build supportive relationships with vulnerable individuals and connect them to community resources.

Pasco: Hot Spotters Program

The City of Pasco Hot Spotters Program brings together first responders, the legal community, mental health and health providers, community housing organizations, and state agencies to improve services for community members who frequently use mental health and social services and emergency response. The Hot Spotters Program has led to embedding mental health professionals with the Pasco Police Department, reducing incidents involving use of force by police officers. Hot Spotters Program partners are also working toward a housing project for high risk individuals in the community.

Selah: Volunteer Park

The City of Selah developed an all-inclusive playground and park, inspired by a local family whose son battled a brain tumor that took his mobility and eventually his life. With grants from state recreation programs, city funding, and local contributions, Volunteer Park is one of only two all-inclusive playgrounds east of the Cascades. The park creates an essential learning experience for youth on how to play with others, regardless of their ability.


Need ideas?

muniex-buttonWe have a database full of Municipal Excellence entries dating back to 2000. Entries run the gamut including parks, treatment plants, youth engagement, master plans, permit streamlining, campaigns, markets, community engagement, revitalization, building projects, police/fire programs, videos/social media, and hundreds more. Browse through the entries to get ideas and check out what cities have entered in the past!



Contact Karen Tanner.

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