MOUNT PLEASANT — There once was a time, in not the too distant past, where in-fighting, staff turnover and vacancies took up the bulk of the time of Mount Pleasant village officials. But now the village government appears to have put that chapter behind it and is focusing on setting goals for the next decade.
Since May 2018, village officials have been developing a plan to focus on over the next 10 years.
At the Village Board meeting on May 28, village staff unveiled “Vision 2020,” a plan that sets the “organizational direction” and is intended to drive future decision making for the village.
Officials have established seven main goals for the village:
- Maintain quality services and infrastructure.
- Be an active partner in the growth and promotion of the region.
- Manage the impact of development to minimize community disruption and maximize community betterment.
- Communicate clearly and effectively with village residents and businesses.
- Pursue opportunities for developing one or multiple neighborhood center(s).
- Maintain a commitment to improving environmental assets and amenities.
- Attract future growth and development to reflect the needs of the community.
Although it is currently in draft form, village officials feel confident about what they have set for themselves and future boards.
“It’s always going to be kind of a living document,” Village President Dave DeGroot said. “It kind of helps us structure how the village will operate and how the village structures itself and have some impact on how it works on a day-to-day basis.”
Now that the village has an administrator, human resources director and a finance director, DeGroot said its good for the village to be thinking in broader terms.
“Planning is just one of those things where you can never do enough of,” DeGroot said. “It’s nice to be in a place where we can look forward a little bit and plan a little further out.”
As part of the plan to formulate the Vision 2020, village staff took input from 96 residents, who voluntarily filled out surveys, to get their thoughts on the goals they wanted to see the village work toward.
In the survey, 55% of respondents thought that the village does a good job of providing quality services such as snow removal, parks and recreation, police and fire services and garbage and recycling pickup.
But only 6% of respondents thought that the village does a good job communicating with its residents, and that feeling was represented on the reverse side of the question with 36% of respondents saying the village needs to improve on its communication.
When asked if they could change one thing about the village, respondents said they would like more community activities and amenities such as more park events and recreational opportunities, a library, and activities for seniors.
Forty-four percent of respondents stated their greatest concern is the village’s ability to manage growth, but in a separate question, 54% of respondents indicated that well-managed growth is the village’s biggest opportunity.
With the Foxconn development is projected to have an increasing presence in the village over the next several decades, respondents had mixed feelings about whether Foxconn would be a strength for the village.
A good base of data
Village Administrator Maureen Murphy said the village has the data and feedback it needs to point the village in a positive direction.
“It is imperative that we have a clear vision, mission, values and goals,” Murphy said. “We have that now as we have surveyed our citizens, held public workshops, as well as interviews and workshops with the village president, Board of Trustees and department Heads. Now the work begins to implement this important plan.”
Trustee Ram Bhatia said the village is “we are where we want to be” to implement Vision 2020.
“We are looking at where we are, where we want to go and how we’re going to grow,” Bhatia said. “I believe this is way past overdue.”
“We are looking at where we are, where we want to go and how we’re going to grow. I believe this is way past overdue.” Ram Bhatia, Mount Pleasant village trustee