2017 Semifinalist
City of Rock Hill, SC
January 1, 2017
South Carolina

The city of Rock Hill has developed a comprehensive approach to the creation of a strategic plan that aligns citizen input and perspectives with goals, objectives, and tasks. Directly impacting work programs and budgets, these measures apprise stakeholders of progress and guide informed decision-making. The full-circle approach to strategic planning is a three-year process beginning with the National Citizen Survey. Citizens provide thoughts on a wide range of topics including safety, public infrastructure, parks, and their informational sources, and are randomly invited to participate in focus groups through a third party. Business surveys and employee surveys are internally executed as well. The results are then discussed in a retreat setting with city council members and the management team. Through a collaborative process, the strategic plan’s goals, objectives, and tasks are then created under the umbrella of three focus areas: Quality Services, Quality Places, and Quality Community. Following the development of the strategic plan, the city then engages the community through a variety of methods. Specific tasks and large capital projects are reviewed during six ward meetings for citizens. Key influencer meetings bring together different facets of the community, from high school students to retirees, where participants delve into the future of Rock Hill. Annual changes are made to the strategic plan to address new feedback. The cycle continues with biannual reports and presentations, keeping city staff accountable for their responsibilities. Utilization of city dashboards, monthly performance and financial reports, and budget information also promote transparency.