The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 5, 2013

A Visionary View: Clinton residents give input on city planning

By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON - Joyce Krogman appreciates a chance to make her voice heard, which led her to the Ericksen Community Center on Wednesday night to vote for the city of Clinton’s guiding principles.

“I think as long as people are interested in knowing what the citizenry thinks, we should tell them,” the Clinton resident said. “I feel like if you don’t contribute, you really can’t complain. I just hope I have a true voice in this.”

Krogman wasn’t the only one who wanted a say on how the city should operate.

Nearly 40 residents, city employees and elected officials attended a dot democracy session Wednesday night to make the selections for the city’s mission, vision and values.

Citizens were given two orange dots to vote for the city’s vision, two yellow dots for the mission and 12 blue dots to vote for values.

Duane McGinty was among those who placed colored dots on posters at the Ericksen Community Center to indicate what he felt the city of Clinton’s guiding principles should be. His decisions were based on specific areas where he feels the city needs to improve.

“This town needs to grow up and act like a town of the size it wants to be,” McGinty said. “It needs to figure out garbage disposal, stop making the people who do pay their sewer bills pay for people who don’t and keep its promises.”

Like Krogman, McGinty left hoping his participation wasn’t for nothing.

“I think this will help a lot if they look at it and actually do something,” he said.

In the end, the vision statement with the most votes was “the city of Clinton endeavors to build and grow a community where the potential and opportunity for citizens, business and industry, and guests and visitors is endless.”

The mission statement, “the city of Clinton is committed to providing first-class, innovative and cost-effective leadership and services that enhance the quality of life of citizens and create opportunities for economic development and tourism to thrive,” racked up the most dots.

The values that captured the most dots were: honesty and transparency: showing all facets to an issue prior to making a decision and doing so in a way that nurtures the trust of the public; ethics: acting truthfully, honestly, honorably and without deception in serving the organizations and the citizens of Clinton; safety: providing a work environment where employees and customers are free from harm due to negligence and carelessness; and integrity: doing the right thing when everyone is looking or when no one is watching.

City Administrator Jessica Kinser plans to compile Wednesday’s results and present it to the City Council during the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday.

Kinser organized the event as part of the strategic planning process after collecting suggestions for the mission, vision and values from the mayor and City Council members.

“I’m pretty happy,” Kinser said about the event. “We haven’t done something like this in a couple of years so I didn’t know what to expect.”

In addition to placing dots next to their choices, the meeting gave residents a chance to share their concerns with city staff and elected officials.

“This gives people an opportunity to have their say in what ideals and values will guide the city. Another part of this is being able to address questions from citizens,” Kinser said.

Clinton resident Carolyn Tallet wasn’t as satisfied as Kinser with the amount of participation in the meeting.

“I wish more people were here. I think all citizens should be here tonight,” she said.

Beyond her slight disappointment in the turnout, Tallet commended Kinser for organizing the event and considering how the city should dictate its future actions.

“I think this is a real positive step. Any business, industry, church or group has a mission statement. That way, when they’re talking about projects or making other decisions they can first look to see if it follows their mission and vision,” Tallet said. “If it doesn’t, they won’t use their resources.”