Recognition and Rankings

Scottsdale has earned a reputation as a world-class community. Here are some of Scottsdale’s latest awards and accolades.

Here are highlights for 2018:


Scottsdale is among a select group of cities honored for commitment to performance management and data-driven decision-making.

The city is one of five selected for the Certification Honor Roll, noted as “up-and-coming leaders in data-driven governance and … on the path to Certification.” To put this in context, 115 cities applied but only 14 earned recognition. The citywide Performance Management Team was a huge part of this effort, including the four groups working on different aspects of data-driven decision-making – behavioral insights, benchmarking/reporting, open date and process improvement. 


Scottsdale earned its 28th consecutive “Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.”

This highest form of recognition in government budgeting is awarded by an independent panel of peer reviewers from across the United States and Canada. Scottsdale’s FY 2017/18 budget document once again passed muster, meeting or exceeding standards as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device. 


Scottsdale earned its 45th consecutive financial reporting award.

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting was awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association for the city’s 2017 comprehensive annual financial report. The certificate is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.


City captures Tree City Award. 

The city earned its 36th consecutive Tree City USA accreditation and 26th consecutive Growth Award. APS donated three 24" box trees in honor of the award.


Flood hazard reduction efforts lower insurance costs for property owners.

Scottsdale property owners started saving more on flood insurance May 1 thanks to flood hazard reduction efforts by the city. Scottsdale scored tops in the state among municipalities during a recent federal audit of floodplain management practices, ranking in the top 1 percent of all U.S. cities and counties.  Scottsdale’s rating for flood risk improved from Class 6 to Class 5 because of the audit — a move that will boost the premium discount in special flood hazard areas from 20 to 25 percent. Policy holders outside the special flood hazard areas will continue to see their premiums reduced by 10 percent. These adjustments will collectively save flood insurance policy holders an additional $200,000 a year and bring total annual premium savings to $1.1 million annually. That breaks down to an average overall savings of $137 per year per policy.


Scottsdale recognized for performance management excellence.

Awarded through the International City/County Management Association’s Center for Performance Analytics, this certificate program annually recognizes communities that have demonstrated leadership to create cultures committed to performance management, data-driven decision-making and transparency. This is the eighth time Scottsdale has received this certificate, and the sixth time achieving the level of Excellence. Certificates of varying levels of Excellence (highest honor), Distinction and Achievement are awarded. Criteria for the Certificate of Excellence include using budgets, newsletters, and/or information provided to elected officials to report performance data; using data verification practices; and tracking and reporting on key public outcomes.   

Cigna recognizes Scottsdale for its commitment to employee health and wellness.

Cigna recently selected Scottsdale as a winner of its fifth annual Cigna Well-Being Award for demonstrating strong commitments to improving the health and wellness of employees through workplace wellness programs. Applicants are evaluated based on the core components of their wellness program, including the goals, implementation, incentives, leadership engagement and employee participation. Cigna recognized the Live Life Well Program, as well as our on-site and online classes for employees on wellness, stress management, employee assistance programs, physical fitness, nutrition and financial education. Cigna also took note of the city’s health and wellness incentives for employees and spouses who complete their annual health screening and the blood pressure incentive program. 


Scottsdale ranks high in nonprofit report on national parks and amenities.

Every year, the Trust for Public Land publishes a report on parks in the nation's 100 largest cities. The data includes information on the best park amenities like playgrounds, splash pads and dog parks, in addition to trends on park investment, access and quality. According to the report, Scottsdale claims five top-ten rankings. They are: having the largest city park, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve; tying for sixth for parkland percentage with 25 percent; and ranking second in trail miles, sixth in volleyball nets and seventh in golf courses. The mission of the organization is to create parks and protect lands for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Get more information about city parks.

Scottsdale park wins "Best City Park" in magazine's reader survey.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park took top honors in Phoenix Magazine's 2018 Best of the Valley Reader's Picks survey. The 30-acre park, located on the southeast corner of Indian Bend and Scottsdale roads, is one of the most unique parks in the country. Visitors can take a ride on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad and the 1950-vintage Allan Herschell carousel. The park also features a variety of shops and museums, one-of-a-kind playgrounds and large grassy areas. Other notable Scottsdale "bests" include the Scottsdale Culinary Festival (Best Food Festival); Tom's Thumb (Best Hike); Harkins Camelview (Best Movie Theater); and TPC Golf Course (Best Public Golf Course).


The City of Scottsdale Receives Two Excellence in Economic Development Awards from the International Economic Development Council.

The City of Scottsdale received a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for the Scottsdale Relocation Guide, in the category of Special Purpose Print Brochure from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and a Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award for its Fiscal Year 2016/2017 Annual Report: Enhancing Scottsdale's Business Brand, a project in the Annual Report category. The FY 2016/2017 Annual Report and the current Relocation Guide are both available now for viewing. For more information about the City of Scottsdale and Economic Development, visit

Scottsdale credit rating continues at the highest level.

The city of Scottsdale’s General Obligation debt is rated AAA according to three separate agencies, making the city one of just 30 in the United States to earn the distinction. A recently-completed credit analysis by Moody’s Investor Service affirmed the rating. With that result in hand, the city of Scottsdale has maintained the highest possible score from all three rating agencies (Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings) since 2001. Having the highest rated General Obligation debt means Scottsdale can borrow money at very low interest rates, saving taxpayers millions over the life of loans.

Scottsdale Water receives nation’s top utility management award.

Scottsdale Water was recognized this week by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies with the Sustainable Water Utility Management Award - the highest industry recognition conferred to municipal water agencies. The Sustainable Water Utility Management Award acknowledges water utilities that have made a commitment to management that achieves a balance of innovative and successful efforts in areas of economic, social and environmental endeavors. 

Scottsdale named top North American golf destination.

The global trade organization for the golf tourism industry recently named Scottsdale the 2019 North American Golf Destination of the Year. Six hundred golf tour operators from more than 60 countries compose the International Association of Golf Tour Operators. For the award, each operator was asked to nominate the best performing golf destinations enjoyed by their clients. The operators considered a range of criteria, including customer satisfaction, the quality of courses and accommodations, and support from the local tourism industry.  


Here are highlights for 2017:


Scottsdale earned its 27th consecutive “Distinguished Budget Presentation Award”

This highest form of recognition in government budgeting is awarded by an independent panel of peer reviewers from across the United States and Canada. Scottsdale’s FY 2016/17 budget document once again passed muster, meeting or exceeding standards as a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device. 

Chief Rodbell receives AACOP award

The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police awarded Chief Alan Rodbell of the Scottsdale Police Department the 2017 Chief of the Year for the State of Arizona. Chief Rodbell was commended for his part in developing an agency with a deep sense of community, ethical behavior and professionalism in policing.  He is a leader in service, diversity and community involvement. Through his leadership and vision, the Scottsdale Police Department is recognized as an innovative and progressive agency with highly skilled employees at all levels who continually strive to deliver the best service to their community.  

Scottsdale ranked third healthiest city in US: WalletHub

When it comes to healthy living, Scottsdale is a pretty good place to be, according to a report published in February. Scottsdale ranked third after San Francisco and Salt Lake City in a listing of healthiest cities in the U.S. compiled by WalletHub. Scottsdale landed first in the "fitness" rank and second in highest percentage of active adults. WalletHub factored four key dimensions into the methodology, looking at health care, food, fitness and green space.


Scottsdale earns high marks in citizen survey

Most Scottsdale residents are pleased with where they live and with services the city provides, according to the National Citizen Survey. Respondents gave the city high marks as a place to live, with 98 percent rating Scottsdale “excellent” or “good.” The survey results provide insight into how residents feel about their community, their local government and their interactions with both. (Results are for 2016).


Scottsdale became the Yelpiest city in America

Communications staff recently partnered with Yelp to claim more than 80 city listings — everything from the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Parkand the Scottsdale Civic Center Library to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Scottsdale is the first city government to claim its Yelp listings, working through Yelp’s government relations office. Doing so allows us to gain more insight into who's using city facilities and why. 

The city was recognized for the seventh consecutive year as one of the Valley’s healthiest employers

The city earned the No. 6 spot among large employers in the Phoenix Business Journal’s annual “Healthiest Employers” rankings. The award cited Scottsdale's Live Life Well program, our efforts in providing employees with access to fitness facilities, and providing overall wellness classes covering financial, nutrition, stress, medical and physical wellness. 

Scottsdale’s Economic Development Department is now an Accredited Economic Development Organization

This achievement follows an in-depth peer review process of extensive documentation as well as a day-and-a-half site visit from an auditing team from the International Economic Development Council. The auditors met with more than 25 local stakeholders, leaders and internal city team members and assessed Scottsdale’s economic development department, its partner relationships and overall operations. Scottsdale is now the second organization to achieve this honor in Arizona and the 58th in the nation (out of thousands of economic development organizations). 


Healthy Arizona Worksites Program honors Scottsdale with “Gold” level honor

The award recognizes employers that are making efforts to positively affect the health and well-being of their employees, their families and their community by implementing comprehensive worksite wellness strategies. The city earned Gold status by providing programs such as nutrition classes and fitness opportunities.  


An industry leading software company featured Scottsdale’s innovative use of mapping technology

The annual ESRI Map Book showcases best-in-class use of the company’s geographic information system software, selected from entries around the world. Scottsdale’s fire hydrant map, developed as part of an effort to streamline maintenance and repair of the city’s 11,000 fire hydrants, was featured. The map was produced by GIS Analyst Mele Koneya in a collaborative effort between Information Technology, Scottsdale Fire and Scottsdale Water. 

Scottsdale’s Purchasing Department earned the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award

Scottsdale is one of only 14 procurement agencies in the state and 68 cities in North America to receive the award, earned by agencies who exhibit innovation, professionalism, productivity and leadership in procurement. This marks the 19th consecutive year Scottsdale has earned the honor, given by the National Procurement Institute. 

WalletHub study: Scottsdale ranks as fourth-best city to retire in

A study done by WalletHub found the best and worst cities to retire in and Scottsdale made the top-five. The analysts of the study compared the 150 largest U.S. cities across 40 different categories, including affordability, quality of life, health care and availability of recreational activities. Scottsdale ranked fourth on the list. The top three cities were Orlando, Tampa and Miami, respectively. Of the cities, Scottsdale had the highest share of the population aged 65 and older at 21.9 percent. That’s three and a half times higher than Fontana, Calif., which is the lowest at 6.2 percent. 


Wallethub names Scottsdale No. 1 for pet health and wellness

Scottsdale came in first for “pet health and wellness,” which looks at things like veterinarians in the area, dog-friendly businesses and animal shelters, and came in second for “outdoor pet-friendliness,” a metric that measures dog-friendly outdoor activities in the city. 

Scottsdale Water Citizen Academy named Public Education Program of the Year

This twice-a-year multi-week program provides residents an inside look at all facets of Scottsdale Water. A key part of the academy is the focus on Scottsdale’s water reuse efforts with a tour inside the Advanced Water Treatment facility, widely recognized as one of the world’s most innovative water purification projects.

Scottsdale featured in Thrillist and Toronto Sun

Thrillist included Scottsdale on its list of “9 Surprisingly Great U.S. Food Cities You Have to Visit.” The Old Town Farmer’s Market, FnB, Cowboy Ciao and more were highlighted. Read the Thrillist list here. Culinary also was the focus of Kevin Hann’s article in the Toronto Sun, “From desert to dessert: Weather not the only thing that sizzles in Scottsdale.” The Old Town Farmer’s Market gets another shout-out, along with The Mission, Fat Ox and Virtú Honest Craft. Read his article here

Canal Convergence and the Scottsdale Arts Festival win multiple awards

These events won a combined 10 awards for excellence in event creation and execution from the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA). Canal Convergence has its roots in an early 2013 mix of art and maintenance, created through a partnership between Scottsdale Public Art and Salt River Project (SRP). When SRP drained the Arizona Canal along the Scottsdale Waterfront for routine maintenance, Scottsdale Public Art treated the canal as a canvas and stage for visual and performance artists. The annual Scottsdale Arts Festival takes place each March and features about 175 artists, food, entertainment and activities.


Scottsdale receives "Voice of the People" Award

The people have spoken and say Scottsdale’s economy is excellent. Scottsdale earned the 2017 Voice of the People Award for Excellence in Economy. This award is for communities that earn the highest ratings among those participating in the National Citizen Survey. Scottsdale last conducted the survey in November and December 2016. Residents rated seven of eight aspects of “economy” higher than national benchmarks, and they feel that economy is one of the most important facets of community livability.