Mount Pleasant Waterworks

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, United States

Strategic Plan

MPW, located just outside of Charleston, provides water and wastewater service to approximately 85,000 people in one of the fastest growing regions of the Southeast. They are an independent utility authority with an elected Board that serves the Town of Mount Pleasant and some surrounding areas.

2017 marked the last year of Mount Pleasant Waterworks’ (MPW) five-year strategic plan, which Raftelis had assisted with through a series of stakeholder engagement efforts and facilitated workshops with the MPW Commissioners and staff. Having accomplished much of what the original plan, and the 2014 plan update, had laid out, MPW initiated a new strategic planning process with Raftelis to set the organization’s direction through 2023. The 2018 planning process incorporated progress updates on each of the strategies and objectives included in the 2012 plan, as well as the lessons learned from five years of plan implementation.

In 2012, MPW finalized a five-year strategic plan, based on the tenets of Effective Utility Management (EUM). The plan was built on considerable involvement by the MPW leadership team and Commissioners and utilized the Ten Attributes of an Effectively Managed Utility as goals. These goals were subsequently organized into four target areas: Financial Stability, Workforce Development, Customer Service, and Operational Excellence. Each goal had associated strategies, measurable objectives, strategic performance indicators, and operational performance indicators.

The 2018 planning effort, which also involved considerable involvement by MPW’s leadership team and Commissioners, began with a status report, detailing:

  • Strategies and activities that had occurred as part of the 2012 plan implementation
  • Updated numbers for each measurable objective
  • What had gone well, and where implementation activities had encountered challenges
  • Recommendations from the person/groups responsible for implementation on whether the activity or measure should be continued, modified, or removed in the 2018 plan

To gather additional feedback on goals for the future and organizational values, MPW used the kick-off of its inaugural Citizen’s Water Academy workshop series for the facilitated stakeholder engagement exercise, WaterOpolis. This exercise helped to ensure that MPW’s long-term priorities were aligned with those of its service area.

Ultimately, the 2018 strategic planning effort resulted in a far more streamlined plan, still focused around the four target areas identified in the 2012 plan, and in line with the community’s priorities. Each target area has between three and seven specific strategies, designed to move the area forward and build on the progress made during the implementation of the previous plan, as well as detailed objectives to guide future activities. This plan builds on a strong organizational foundation and will propel MPW toward greater success in achieving its vision: to be a trusted leader in its community and the water industry.

View Strategic Plan


Financial and Rate Consulting

Since 2005, Raftelis has assisted Mount Pleasant Waterworks with a variety of financial and rate issues. Initially, Raftelis assisted the Mount Pleasant Waterworks (MPW) in developing a new Microsoft Excel-based utility financial planning and rate model that could be used by the MPW staff in its annual financial planning and utility rate setting process. Additionally, Raftelis designed the new rate model to maximize its interface and exchange of information with the other information and financial systems used by the MPW. The rate model was developed to provide cost of service-based cost allocations and rate calculations and provide a direct link to the MPW’s new PIPES capital improvement planning software and Microsoft Forecaster budgeting software. Raftelis also developed a utility impact fee model designed to incorporate forecasted capital improvements needs and other growth-related financial and demographic data through a variety of build-out scenarios. The impact fee model was developed to share capital and other information with the Rate Model to ensure consistent financial planning through utility rates and the growth-related capital charges.

Raftelis has provided on-going assistance to MPW in updating the financial models and in gaining acceptance of an enhanced impact fee methodology through a series of work sessions with the Board of Commissioners. As part of this on-going assistance, Raftelis performed an in-depth evaluation of, and recommended revisions to MPW’s Cost Recovery Policy document. This rate-setting and policy document was designed to direct the utility’s user rate and financial procedures to maintain financial stability while ensuring the full and equitable recovery of all operating and capital costs from different customer classes.

Strategic Communications Plan

A thriving economy and a growing community meant the communications staff at Mount Pleasant Waterworks were hopping from one project to the next. With a newly hired director of communications they sought a one-year strategic communications plan that would guide the utility’s communications efforts in a phased approach and tie those efforts to the utility’s 2023 strategic plan.

Raftelis developed the communication plan with five goals: 1) enhance Mount Pleasant Waterworks’ brand reputation; 2) Expand Mount Pleasant Waterworks’ communications program reach and impact to more residents, businesses, and employees; 3) ensure Mount Pleasant Waterworks speaks with one voice; 4) Create a new level of communication, dialogue, partnerships, and engagement with stakeholders and influencers; and 5) Enhance opportunities for consumer and stakeholder input.