Peoria County recently received results of a citizen survey randomly administered to 3,000 households earlier this year. The survey assessed citizen opinion of quality of life, government service satisfaction and local initiatives. Peoria County intends to administer the survey annually, using these initial results as a benchmark against which to measure our progress. The results will also serve as an additional tool to help guide the County Board’s strategic plan. By focusing our efforts and resources on areas in need of improvement as identified by our citizens, we will ultimately achieve the board’s vision for our community: enhanced quality of life.

Survey respondents identified four areas of primary concern in our community: crime prevention, road conditions, code enforcement and environmental action. To address these concerns in the immediate future, Peoria County will raise awareness of initiatives already underway and devise new initiatives suitable for the duration of 2008. For the long term, we will expand ongoing efforts in partnership with other units of local government.

Peoria County’s Highway Department is currently working with Bradley University on a pavement management system for county roads. The system, once implemented later this year, will help the department prioritize repairs by staying abreast of roadway wear and tear. Also this year, the Highway Department hopes to increase responsiveness to repair requests by allowing citizens to log on to the county’s website, enter an address or street name, and submit a question or request directly to the correct organization, be it county, city, state or township. This streamlined service will alleviate public frustration by helping concerned citizens contact the appropriate road authority expeditiously.

In addition to road maintenance initiatives, Peoria County has been taking steps to increase energy savings within the organization and environmental sustainability without. This year we are fulfilling an energy performance contract for capital improvement projects which will increase efficiency and guarantee energy savings for the courthouse, county jail and health department. Outside efforts include a request for proposals for future expansion of the city/county landfill and its recycling facility, researching the feasibility of a joint waste contract with the City of Peoria which will offer residents in outlying areas more recycling opportunities, and supporting the City’s efforts to incorporate curbside recycling into its waste services contract.

Peoria County is also in the midst of developing short-term action plans to address survey respondents’ concerns regarding crime prevention and code enforcement; long-term plans will be incorporated into our strategic planning for 2009 and beyond. This year we will begin using our geographic information system to map crime and code violations, identify problematic areas for both, and focus our resources on those areas most in need.

Peoria County chose to begin administering an annual survey to our citizens for two reasons: to help guide our strategic plan and to continually improve services. Enhancing quality of life for our residents is the ultimate goal of the County Board, and we believe improving service delivery and focusing on the future will help us achieve that goal. Thank you for helping us recognize where we need to be tomorrow by identifying where we are today. IBI