Committed to Community

Thomas O'Neill III, Peoria County Board

Each spring, the County Board participates in a strategic planning process that provides an opportunity for board members to address challenges for the coming year by developing an annual action plan. Last month, the board adopted a plan that will further advance our short-term goals and help Peoria County become a collection of livable, sustainable communities with a strong, growing economy and connectivity within the region and to the world, in accordance with the board's vision for our future.

The County's 2010 Strategic Plan is straightforward, enumerating action items specific to each of the board's four strategic goals: safe and healthy community, growing county, high-performing public organization, and high-quality public facilities. The action items are projects or programs already in progress or that will be initiated during this calendar year. This year's action plan will propel the county toward achieving its short-term goals by 2015 and, ultimately, its vision of cooperative local units of government that provide efficient and effective services and are responsive to residents and to community needs by 2025.

The County Board feels that providing residents with a safe and healthy community in which to reside is of utmost importance. Therefore, we have prioritized several action items to advance public safety and community health. These items include developing a strategy for clean-up of the Illinois River, continuing the county's Lead Safe Program to remove lead hazards from households in Peoria County, and managing overpopulation of the county jail. Earlier this year, the Sheriff's Office installed a video visitation system at the jail to improve security.

In addition to enhancing safety, the board is also committed to growing the county by attracting more residents, businesses and visitors to the community. This year, the board will develop a policy for extending commercial business loans, establish direction for economic development, and adopt a unified development ordinance.

Also important is ensuring that Peoria County continues to serve the community as a high-performing public organization. Therefore, the board will be reviewing and prioritizing county services, completing a fee study, and securing a contract for an integrated justice information system. Already this year the county has improved its performance with the implementation of animal protection services and an increase in our bond rating.

And of course, providing high-quality public facilities for county residents and visitors is essential for Peoria County to remain competitive in the region. Examples of current construction projects include the county's nursing home and the Peoria Riverfront Museum. Also in progress is the expansion of the City/County Landfill, and under consideration for 2010 is the county's participation with Springdale Cemetery.

Peoria County is over 180,000 strong and is a wonderful place to reside, work or visit. As with anything, however, there is always room for improvement, and the County Board is committed to improving the safety, health, economy, government services and public facilities for our citizens. We will continue to work hard for you in order to achieve our goals and reach our vision. iBi

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