Elgin's new strategic plan is an effort to zero in on what defines the city and what exactly it strives to become.
If length is any indication -- the plan is eight pages, compared to 32 pages in the 2013-17 plan -- the city is on the right track.
The 2018-22 plan outlines four core values -- collaboration, diversity and inclusion, innovation, and stewardship -- and three defined goals: to be a "city of choice" providing a "safe and healthy community" with a "high performing, financially stable government."
City council members praised the results during a presentation Wednesday night by senior management analyst Laura Valdez-Wilson and members of the strategic plan advisory commission.
"It does take a lot of time to boil something down," Councilman Rich Dunne said.
"It's concise and it's condensed," Councilwoman Rose Martinez said.
The plan is in draft format. Residents can give their input at a meeting 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at city hall, 150 Dexter St.
The plan takes into account the results of a community survey and community input sessions, both conducted this summer, Valdez-Wilson said. Both showed residents generally have a positive perception of the city. The city has a AAA bond rating with Fitch Ratings.
"We really took the year of 2017 … to do some intentional planning and listening to see what it was that the community was interested in continuing," Valdez-Wilson said.
Strategic plan advisory commission chairman Bill Briska said the plan ending this year was "a huge document." "It was a wonderful planning tool, but it was large," he said. "It was hard for the public to digest it and it was hard for staff, other than senior management, to keep using it as a literal lens and frame of reference."
Commissioner Steve Knight said the new plan is all about ensuring Elgin is a "safe, welcoming, stable and progressive community."
"We need to be responsible and make sure we use these core values in everything we do -- not just the things we do sitting on the dais or sitting at city hall, but also out in the public."
Knight also praised the overall mentality within city government, which he said allows employees to challenge the status quo, bring forward new ideas and learn from others.
Several commissioners underlined how much Elgin values diversity and inclusion. The city hired a new diversity consultant in May who conducted an anonymous, internal employee survey whose results haven't been made public yet.
Commissioner Dennis Verges said Elgin should treasure its uniqueness and not strive to become Naperville or St. Charles.
"As a city of choice, I'm really hoping we'll push that narrative out there," he said. "If anyone says, 'Hey, I want to move to Elgin, I'm already on Zillow finding them a new home."
The strategic plan will be available on the city's website at www.cityofelgin.org today.