County Issues

Strengthening Partnership Through Knowledge
William Prather, Peoria County Board

The Peoria County Board recognizes that building a successful partnership with our citizens rests in a shared understanding of county government, our responsibilities and the services we provide. To strengthen the foundation of our citizen partnership and encourage community involvement in local government, we offer several annual opportunities for citizens to learn more about Peoria County.

Each spring and fall, County officials present free community education classes through Illinois Central College’s FUNshop series. On October 25, you can learn how to “Stay Safe: At Home & At Work” from Sheriff Michael D. McCoy and his staff. On December 6, representatives from the Peoria City/County Health Department will present “Community Health & Prevention.” Methods for preventing communicable diseases will be discussed, as well as how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prepare for health emergencies within your household. Both free classes will be held at ICC’s North Campus on University Street from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. To register, call (309) 999-4545 or visit icc.edu/funshops and select “special interests.”

Three times a year, Peoria County offers a Civic Leadership Program. This free program provides citizens with a hands-on learning experience of county government through eight educational sessions. The evening sessions include tours of county facilities; interactive presentations by county officials and mock activities such as emergency preparedness exercises and zoning hearings. In addition to attending the educational sessions, participants also serve as community leaders by completing a group volunteer project. This winter, class participants will assist with planning and executing Local Government Week and County Government Week celebrations.

The intent of our Civic Leadership Program is two-fold: to strengthen partnerships with our citizens and to better prepare course participants for community leadership. We are currently accepting applications for our winter 2008 course, to run January 17 to April 10. The application, with a deadline of December 1, can be downloaded from our website at peoriacounty.org or obtained by calling Peoria County Communications at (309) 672-6918.

Throughout the year, Peoria County officials participate in our Speakers Bureau. Schools, businesses, social service agencies, clubs and other organizations seeking to learn more about county government may schedule speakers free of charge. We have knowledgeable speakers on all topics related to county government, including emergency preparedness, building code implementation and our plans for the community’s future. Presenters are available during the work week, in the evenings and on weekends. For a list of topics or to schedule a presentation, call (309) 672-6918.

The Peoria County Board encourages all citizens to take advantage of these educational opportunities. Your participation in a FUNshop class, the Civic Leadership Program or a Speakers Bureau engagement will help heighten citizen awareness of local government and build a stronger partnership that enhances the community and ensures a cohesive future for Peoria County. IBI

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