The Mocksville Town Board has approved a new strategic plan, which will guide the town’s decision-making for the next three to five years. This was adopted along with new mission, vision, and values statements. Mocksville Town Manager, Ken Gamble, noted that developing this framework has been over a year in the making.
“It was a combination of working with the board, working with the department heads, and also looking at what was developed when we went through the comprehensive planning process back in 2019 because there was significant public involvement in that process that we wanted to leverage.”
“So, why is a strategic plan important? For us, it’s the town having a strategic outlook on what the most important things are that we need to be addressing over the next three to five years.”
“The strategic plan has to be a living document that you’re going back to every year, that you’re applying to your decisions, you’re applying to your budget, that the town is investing in – and when I say investments, I mean what are we paying our staff to do based on the priorities for each department,” Gamble detailed.
“It’s not just a one-year investment in time and talent and materials, it’s making sure that we’re looking at what our long-term needs are, coming up with a plan for addressing those, including how we’re going to pay for it, and moving forward with it in a logical and concise way.”
In addition to the strategic plan itself, the town board also approved a new set of mission, vision, and values statements.
“Your mission is why you exist as an organization, your purpose. That’s what we do from day to day, and why we’re here to serve the community.”
Mocksville’s Mission Statement: “The Town of Mocksville provides essential services for the health, safety, and well-being of the community which enhances our quality of life while encouraging commercial, residential and industrial growth.”
“Obviously the vision is where we want to be. It’s looking into the future. We want to move from where we are today and be in a better place for our community tomorrow. You only do that by creating a vision for the future. It’s about what we’re growing to become,” noted Gamble.
Mocksville’s Vision Statement: “The Town of Mocksville will effectively balance its historic roots and values with the need to revitalize, renew and modernize the Town for the benefit of all its citizens. The Town will become a leading destination for safe and sustainable residential, commercial and industrial development with a vibrant downtown district.”
Infrastructure Changes to Come
Looking through the lens of this new vision statement, central to the strategic plan are investments in downtown Mocksville.
“One of the big things we want to do is make sure we’re making the investments downtown – so obviously part of that is the wayfinding signage, completing the streetscape projects we have going on right now, but also looking at areas like East Depot Street and trying to figure out ways we can move the entire downtown forward.”
“This includes supporting the merchants in those buildings that are not directly downtown and making sure that they’re taking advantage of the programs we can offer them. This includes not only our business people, but our property owners, and ensuring they’re taking advantage of the things we’re working to do – to not only make the town look nicer, but attract investment of small businesses to the downtown area.”
“The other big thing is infrastructure. With Mocksville undergoing tremendous growth, it’s about creating those working relationships and making sure our relationship with our partners – with NCDOT, with the county, the stakeholders – that we are keeping an open line of communication, that we’re looking at the projects needed to move the town forward with all of the industrial growth, with all of the projected residential growth, and making sure our infrastructure is keeping up with that.”
“It’s the backbone infrastructure that you don’t see that needs to be ready for the development coming.” Gamble described upgrading sewer lift stations, consideration of the purchase of a half-million-gallon water tank, and working with NCDOT on new road projects. “The goal is ultimately advocating for the right projects that will give the town the capacity to move forward.”
Another key focus of the plan is community safety and how this should be built out in anticipation of a growing community. Here, Gamble pointed to the local fire department as an example.
“We’re making sure we have a full-time, robust service where the community has the protection they need 24/7 as we transition from volunteer to part-time to full-time service. We’re also looking at future facilities and equipment for the fire services as well.”
He also acknowledges that strategic planning and budgeting can be complicated. “It’s not just about dollars and cents, though that obviously drives your ability to create these opportunities – it’s about understanding how all of the different needs come together. We have to ensure we’re not putting all of our resources toward one thing and ignoring another need in the community. So we try to create balance to address the most needful things. This includes looking for all of the different pots of money where we can apply for funds – the ARP funds, state allocations and grants, and any other thing we can leverage so that not only are we creating value for the community but avoiding a system that the community can’t financially support moving forward.”
In addition to the town’s forward-looking vision, Gamble explained that flexibility and resiliency in response to unexpected changes should be approached in light of the strategic framework.
“The other part of the strategic plan is that when things happen that we don’t expect, we still know where we’re going.” He used residential development to help illustrate how the town hopes to respond in the event of unanticipated circumstances, using its new mission and vision as guiding principles.
“We all know we need housing in Davie County. But for instance, if the investment for one form of housing is no longer there, and another form of housing starts moving forward, we have to say, ‘well, how does this fit into what we’re trying to bring into the county, and what do we need for the people who are going to be working in our companies?’ Having a strategic plan means not starting from zero when an issue comes up because you are able to look at it from the lens of your mission, vision, and values and make a decision on what is consistent with what you’re trying to accomplish.”
Gamble noted that one of the keys to successful implementation is that “we’re incorporating it not only within our budgeting process but within our performance evaluation process. So the things I’m evaluating my department heads on are the things that we say, as a town, are important, and we need to move forward in.”
Rooted in Values
At the end of the day, Gamble hopes that the community knows that the strategic plan is rooted in the core values of the Town of Mocksville. Its value statement comprises seven words that spell out the acronym SERVICE: strategic, ethical, respect, vision, integrity, community, and excellence. Each demonstrates the way that the Town of Mocksville intends to orient itself and its actions in its service to the community.
“The values are the day-to-day, where the rubber meets the road. Your mission is what you do, your vision is where you want to go, and your values are how you get there. That’s how you’re going to get there and still be consistent with what you believe. So our values are important to us in looking ahead, planning, and in being mindful of what we’re doing with resources. It’s thinking about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it before we do it,” Gamble explains.
Of these core values, Gamble noted, “at the end of the day, that’s how we treat people. It’s how we interact with our staff, how we interact with our elected officials, how we interact with our customers.”
“I want people to understand that there’s a rhyme and reason to what we’re doing, that there is a plan that’s more than just one budget year, and that there’s an end result in mind that is tied with our comprehensive plan. It all comes back to knowing where you’re going.”
“A lot of organizations see the strategic plan as a one-point-in-time process – you go through all the steps, you come up with your plan, and you’re done. Really, this is just where you begin.”