MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Mayor Will Haynie is speaking about the town of Mount Pleasant’s current direction and his plans for the future.
“The state of the town is sound, our finances are strong,” Haynie said at the top of his address. “We concluded our last fiscal year with an operating surplus, our bond rating is AAA, our crime rate remains low as was just reported. We’ve been named the most desirable place to live in South Carolina by a national publication. We’re investing tens of millions of dollars in capital improvement projects, and we’re on the verge of a new viable attainable housing workforce development in the city in the town within the city limits as a town that requires no public money.”
He also acknowledged the town's "most diverse" Town Council in its history, adding that for the first time, four of the eight council members are ladies.
“And for this we can be very proud,” Haynie said.
Haynie said the Lowcountry is experiencing “explosive growth” and said the days of Mount Pleasant being “just a bedroom community” are over. Mount Pleasant has now become “a major influence in the Lowcountry,” he said.
Haynie referred to his “Palmetto Principle,” which he said involves three major components: Protect, Plan and Restore.
He listed stiffer regulations and tree buffer requirements, preventing development on Boone Hall Plantation, and the first comprehensive plastic packaging ordinance as examples of protecting the town’s resources.
“We have an economic development strategic plan that will be passed in a few months, to ensure that we build a 21st century economy in Mount Pleasant, which includes the economic development and necessity of attainable workforce housing for our workforce to include police officers, firefighters government employees, teachers, nurses and hospitality workers so vital to our region,” he said. “We will plan to take care of our people, our economy and our natural resources and environment with purpose, with focus and with courage.”
He said the town has restored “sanity and sustainability” through passing the Lowcountry’s first full-scale group management plan that includes building permit allocation, and restored “a sense of hope” in its residents that their voices are being heard.
“Our vision is have a vibrant community in which our citizens flourish, they enjoy a high quality of life,” he said.
Going forward, he said, Mount Pleasant will use the Palmetto Principle to protect the unique natural resources and the heart and soul of the community.
“We will plan for concurrency between infrastructure capacity and growth,” he said. "We will plan for flood resiliency for economic growth so our citizens can live and work in the town of Mount Pleasant. We will plan for the fiscal responsibility for Mount Pleasant, as we wean the town from dependence on housing construction that our economy and our public revenues have been based on for so long. An exciting thing that we will do is that with the private foundation and with the Patriots Point Foundation, we will plan and build a landside home for our National Medal of Honor Museum and Heritage Center, and a home for the Medal of Honor Society, which is the recipients, and their legacy. Mount Pleasant is the home of our nation’s heroes and students will be coming here from all over to the town of Mount Pleasant, to learn about selfless service and patriotism. And you’ve all been waiting for this, we will plan the future of Mount Pleasant by revising and passing the all important you comprehensive plan which many of you in this room have worked to produce. We will restore water quality in our rivers by moving to the implementation phase of our sim Creek advisory committee report, and we will work with Mount Pleasant Water Works to reduce septic tanks which are polluting our waterways, and we will restore green space at every opportunity.
Haynie called the plans “infinite thinking,” which he described as “continuous progress toward a vision.”
“The work of infinite goals is never over,” he said. “The moment of choosing is upon us. What got us here, won’t get us there. We must resist finite thinking because Mount Pleasant is at an ideological crossroads.”
Haynie’s State of the Town address began at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Complex Council Chambers.