Annually, the County Board revisits its strategic plan and develops new action items for the coming year. In addition to prioritizing agenda items this spring, the board also reconsidered its five primary goals and its long-term vision, and decided it is time for change. Therefore, at its June meeting, the County Board adopted a new vision and short-term goals that better reflect the future of our community and the fluid reality of local government.
What the board did not change is the quality of service Peoria County provides its citizens, for we believe delivering quality services in a professional manner is the benchmark of our organization and our employees. Indeed, doing so—delivering quality services—served the county well as a primary strategic goal since the plan’s adoption in 2001. Now, the board has incorporated its commitment to quality into four new strategic goals that will help Peoria County become:
- A safe and healthy community
- A growing county
- A high-performing public organization
- With world-class public facilities.
The former two goals pertain to quality of life for the county as a community, while the latter two, the quality of Peoria County as an organization. Objectives of these goals include lowering the crime rate; expanding the economy; improving coordination and resource efficiency among local units of government; and providing user-friendly, environmentally responsible county facilities for our citizens.
For Peoria County to realize its potential as a high-performing public organization by 2014, we must achieve the following:
- Transparent, open county government with engaged residents
- Financial resources able to support services and service levels
- Employ green, sustainable concepts and principles
- High level of cooperation among government entities within the county
- Financial stability: reserves consistent with policy and best practices
- Closer working relationship with the City of Peoria
- Effective performance system to enhance service delivery.
We have already undertaken many initiatives to reach the above objectives and improve our quality of service delivery and, ultimately, the quality of your life. Some of these include:
- Public information expansion to include social media and facility kiosks
- Compiling core service matrixes for all departments
- Energy performance contracting
- Adhering to a pay-as-you-go policy
- Establishing a City/County Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee to investigate and implement service collaboration opportunities.
Enhancing quality of life rests in large part on the public agencies responsible for providing services to residents: police and fire protection, education and human services, to name a few. Therefore, it is imperative that these agencies examine their own capabilities and resources to ensure they are able to provide the highest quality services possible.
Peoria County considers itself a leader in local government, but we, like all private and public entities, are facing financial challenges due to the extensive economic slowdown. With a significant decline in tax-base revenues, we have some difficult decisions ahead as we consider the resources required to provide the same level of historic service in 2010 and the coming years. Change is afoot, but compromising quality is not an option: we are committed to being the best value in local government so you can still experience the quality of life you deserve. iBi