Strengthening Partnership through Knowledge

Thomas O'Neill III, 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 are offering several opportunities for citizens to learn more about Peoria County this spring.

Each year, County officials present free community education classes through Illinois Central College’s FUNshop series. FUNshops are noncredit workshops designed to give the community an opportunity to learn new skills and interests in a fun environment. We are presenting three FUNshop classes this spring: “More Bang for Your Buck,” “Homeowner’s How To: Complying with Code” and “Are You a Green Consumer?” Often taught by department supervisors, our FUNshops allow citizens an opportunity to ask questions and share concerns in a relaxed environment.

On March 5th, during Local Government Week, County Administrator Patrick Urich and our chief financial officer will explain how Peoria County balances a conservative budget without compromising service to give our citizens “More Bang for Your Buck.” They will outline county responsibilities as mandated by the State of Illinois and describe how tax dollars support those duties, as well as the additional services we provide. Those attending will gain a working knowledge as to how money paid in taxes, service fees and fines is prudently allocated throughout our organization.

On April 23rd, the County’s director of planning and zoning will explain to interested homeowners how “Complying with Code” keeps our residents safe. Peoria County adopted a building code in 2006 to address unsafe housing concerns and enhance the quality of new construction throughout the county. Homeowners considering a do-it-yourself improvement project that includes construction, electrical or plumbing work can guarantee a safe outcome for their family and subsequent buyers by taking this homeowner’s how-to class.

Finally, on May 7th, during National County Government Week, our recycling educator asks “Are You a Green Consumer?” Many of us recycle, but few of us take that next step towards sustainability by buying recycled products. Too often, the environmental benefits gained from recycling are offset by our failure to purchase recycled products. We are not reaching our potential as conscientious consumers if we allow products made from recycled aluminum and plastic to remain on the shelves. This workshop will detail how we can complete the triangle of reducing, recycling and reusing. Anyone who wears green to this educational workshop will receive a free recycled product to start you on your way to becoming a green consumer.

I encourage all citizens to take advantage of these free workshops. Your participation in a FUNshop class helps heighten awareness of local government and builds a stronger partnership that will further enhance our community. Each County FUNshop is held at ICC North from 6 to 8pm on the date given. To register, call ICC at (309) 999-4545 or visit icc.edu/funshops and select “special interests.” iBi

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