Mayor's Reflections on 2020

Mayor Reflects on Challenges Faced in 2020 and Keys to Success in 2021

In his January 2021 community letter, Mayor Scott Cirksena reflects on the qualities of resilience that enabled Clive to overcome challenges in 2020, and why those traits will also be needed in 2021.  The full text of the Mayor's letter is below.

Greetings fellow Clive residents and business partners, 
Over the past 12 months, the concept of resilience has received a lot of attention, and rightfully so.  The combination of a global pandemic, intense political conflict, periods of civil unrest, economic upheaval, and multiple destructive weather events tested our families and community.  How did Clive model the attributes of a resilient city in 2020?

  • Financial preparedness:  Clive was financially prepared for the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  We were able to quickly and accurately assess how the pandemic was changing revenues and adapt budgets to maintain flexibility and reserves.  Also, the City’s Aaa bond rating gave us confidence moving forward with capital projects like the Clark Street reconstruction knowing we would get the most competitive rates for our bonds.
  • Reliable partners:  Clive’s strong relationships with neighboring cities and regional partners enabled us to gather resources to solve problems.  After the derecho wind storm ripped through Iowa in August, Clive crews worked quickly with MidAmerican Energy and Metro Waste Authority to clear debris, restore power, and mulch fallen tree branches.  And as vulnerable Clive families have faced housing and food insecurity caused by economic changes beyond their control, we’ve partnered with Polk County, Clive Community Services, and many others to help our neighbors in need.
  • A clear plan for our future: Clive’s thoughtful strategic plan helped us maintain momentum on our most important goals in 2020 even when we had to shift our focus to issues caused by the pandemic and other emergencies.  For example, in October we broke ground on the new Clive Public Safety Center after many years of thoughtfully assessing needs and finding the right location.  Our persistence is paying off, and we look forward to opening the new facility in 2021.
  • Strong and well-maintained infrastructure:  Clive’s built environment—including our streets, sewers, water system, and parks—stood strong in 2020 in great part because we have an excellent capital improvement plan and a strong commitment to regular maintenance.  In a year with more than its share of disappointments, I’m grateful for the beautiful Clive parks where I could find refuge and streets that were clear and safe after every winter storm.
  • Adaptable and creative teams: City staff have modeled flexibility and ingenuity throughout the pandemic, changing programs to keep people safe and healthy while continuing to deliver high-value services.  For example, despite multiple rounds of opening and closing to the public because of spikes in virus activity, the Clive Library team still served thousands of patrons in 2020.  Their efforts to connect with people were especially welcome when we were all learning how to live “socially distanced” this spring. 

The traits I’ve listed above helped Clive get through a challenging year, but the most important attribute of any resilient city is trust.  When our trust in public institutions and each other erodes, effective governing, budgeting, planning, and problem-solving are more difficult and at times even impossible.  That’s why the Council and I are very proud that when we conducted our resident survey earlier this year, Clive ranked #1 out of hundreds of jurisdictions nationwide for the job our city government does at being honest, being open and transparent to the public, informing residents about issues facing the community, and treating residents with respect. 
We will continue to work hard to earn and keep your trust.  And I encourage you to do your part as well by nurturing positive relationships with your neighbors and being open to others earning your trust.  If we do that, we’ll be well prepared to navigate future challenges and continue building a great city.  Here’s to a hopeful, kind, and resilient Clive in 2021!

Best wishes for a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Mayor Scott Cirksena