Our View: $100K commits Marysville to follow through
Marysville should not shy away from a thorough planning process that's going to cost as much as $100,000.
We get what former Marysville City Council member and Mayor Frank Crawford is saying: Why spend resources on plans that will likely be like old plans, and plans before those … it's all been done before.
When was that ever not true?
Still, we're talking about the present and future health of Marysville — we're concerned about what it's becoming (or not becoming) and we want to get set for the future.
The planning process being undertaken by city officials might be as much about setting priorities for a new checklist as about coming up with brilliant new plans that solve every ill. And like any big planning session, it's probably more about getting people involved and taking some initiative.
We get that, too. In fact, we think it's going to be a necessity.
Every city council of every town in the country that wants to be better is arguing at some point about whether they should pay to have a well-paid consulting firm lead them in forming "a vision" and conduct planning sessions and produce a report on what the next several big things should be. Often, the big things don't change that much from decade to decade. But the thousands of pieces and parts that go into the big things unfold at different rates … sometimes you just have to regroup.
Sometimes, you have to make a statement and pin yourself down to something and make a stand, compose a new declaration, challenge yourself and the whole community to get it done.
A periodic, thorough planning process is often a way to get something done by getting something going.
Still, we've all seen so many planning sessions, seen them spark some things initially and then peter out; we're naturally skeptical and tend toward shrugging off planning in favor of just doing. But doing what? When? And by whom?
And $100,000 is a hunk of change. Does it take that much to make a plan that brings real results? Spend all the money you want, but if there are not enough and not the right kind of people involved during the planning (and afterward, when the action needs to start), it's all for naught.
Still, if you're spending that kind of money, you have to feel obligated to follow through. When you're spending a hundred grand, it's a lot harder to forget about it.
What's clear is that it took years and decades to develop the situation Marysville is in today. And today's plans for the future might not be totally dissimilar to plans for the future from back in the 1980s. But priorities change, people change, responsibility changes hands.
We think the time is ripe for an ambitious planning program that sets new priorities for the city of Marysville. The cost of $100,000 is a lot of money — not too much, but enough that we're not going to let city leaders forget about the plans.
One suggestion we have is to plan on re-prioritizing plans at some sort of very public meeting every year or so. Make an accounting of accomplishments, re-prioritize, re-assign where necessary and don't wait a couple decades to think things through again.