meetingsBy Shelby R. Farrell


BOONE COUNTY – The Boone County Administrative and Legislative Committee approved a strategic plan for 2016 after a year of deliberations and focus groups.

The plan outlines how the county should plan to approach developments and changes throughout 2016. It consists of a mission statement and five main goals, and each of the goals has its own set of sub goals.

This is the first time Boone County has put together an official strategic plan, and County Administrator Ken Terrinoni said he was shocked by how common it is for organizations to have strategic plans in place.

“More people are out there doing it than you realize, and I think it speaks well of you that you got this thing,” Terrinoni said to the committee at the Monday, Dec. 7 meeting.

Board members Sherry Giesecke and Jeffrey Carlisle introduced the idea to create a county strategic plan at a board retreat in January, according to the Bob Wahlberg, chairman of the Boone County Board of Trustees.

Department heads and board members participated in focus groups and discussions about what the county needs and how to get those needs fulfilled.

The five main goals for 2016 are to “promote intergovernmental collaboration and communication,” “promote economic development to support new and existing businesses,” “maintain and enhance community safety through an integrated law enforcement and criminal justice system,” “integrate the functions of county departments, including technology, to promote effective and efficient government” and “plan, develop and invest in the community to enhance the quality of life with a focus on infrastructure and transportation.”

Some of the dub goals included expanding on public transportation options, increasing staffing levels in the county’s criminal justice system and establishing a County Economic Development Committee, which would be similar to the already existing Growth Dimensions.

“In my mind, Growth Dimensions does just a regional deal,” committee Chairman Sherry Giesecke said.

“They’re looking out for the big picture stuff, you know, and they’re out there getting us all kinds of grants and that kind of stuff, but we need to kind of focus on all of Boone County for this stuff too, so I see this as more of a boots on the ground effort to supplement that.”

Many of the sub goals are focused on economic development, including goals to streamline department purchasing and searching for additional and new revenue opportunities. Even the mission statement ends with doing things in a “fiscally responsible manner.”

The planning for a better Boone County economy doesn’t end with this strategic plan because the county is in the beginning stages of a joint economic development strategy with Winnebago and McHenry Counties.

The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy is a five-year plan that can help the counties involved receive more grants through the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

“That’s a 50-page plan…and our plan is quoted in that plan, which is kind of nice to see,” Terrinoni said.

“That means they thought enough of what we’re doing to log us in to their plan, and the EDA (Economic Development Administration) will see that as well, so that’s good. It speaks well of this effort and document.”

The Board of Trustees will vote on the plan at their meeting on Dec. 16.

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