Burnsville, MN

Keeping Our Values through the Pandemic Crisis Call

Paula Carlsen

BURNSVILLE, MN — The pandemic has brought despair to many, but a lot of cities and organizations strive to stay true to their values.

The Burnsville City Council reflected on how they want to articulate their commitment to serving the community. They took several words and adopted them as their key values: Respect, Belonging, Stewardship, Adaptability, Ethical, Vibrant, Bold, Welcoming.

Covid-19 would later hit, and their commitment to stay true to these words did take a new meaning.

They asked themselves: "What [do these words] mean to how services are provided?"

They came up with the following answers:

1. It means that the community is reflective and responsive

When pandemics hit the community, the council quickly gathered themselves and adapted to the new normal. They removed barriers for the business community to allow for additional signage, expanded outdoor dining, reduced fees and even loaned unused park benches to restaurants.

They continually ask themselves how their decisions impact their ability to effectively serve the community and their adaptability in facing the new condition.

2. It means that the community is paving its own path

The council helped support struggling local businesses by allocating to Burnsville over $2 million of business grant program. When the limitations constricted them from safely conduct in-person inspections, they moved to online video inspections.

3. It means that the community belongs to each other

Since social distancing protocols took place, the community couldn't gather to support each other normally. So the council reimagined community events, such as the "Night to Unite", by delivering goodie bags to the neighborhoods. They also cared about their first responders' mental health by investing in expanded health resources as well as partnering with mental health experts.

While 2020 may be an unforgettable year, the council restated its commitment to learning from the global pandemic, civil and racial unrest, and economic recession to keep Burnsville a vibrant city, boldly leading and welcoming to all.

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