In the 2/27/06 issue of County News, 16 county administrators across the country talked about their plans and projects under way for 2006. Six counties said they are either building new jails or expanding them. One is so crowded they are shifting inmates to other counties to temporarily hold them. One is building a new juvenile detention facility. It appears more counties are building their law and justice centers, juvenile detention facilities, county jails and administrative centers in the same area for the convenience of all involved..
Our capable county administrator, Patrick Urich was quoted about plans for Peoria County. He talked about our new county building code which will go into effect April 1. He talked about our new voting machines (the city is using the same system) which all people I have talked to seem to like very much. These machines are ready for early voting for county voters. He talked about our efforts to expand our speaker’s bureau; anyone looking for a speaker to talk about what is going on in Peoria County, call 672-6056 or visit our website at www.peoriacounty.org. He is quoted about our hazardous waste landfill siting hearings which are open again to the public on April 3 at the ITOO Hall. Information is being added with frequency as to what is going on in our county on this website.
Recently, our capable County Board Chairman, David Williams was featured in a national edition of this same County News. Dave, who is running against Dave Koehler in the Democrat Primary for a spot on the November ballot and a possible seat in the Illinois Senate, has done an excellent job in keeping the county board running like a unit and the results are very evident. That’s one reason why our fund balances went from a 1 ½ million dollar deficit in 2000 to what will be a $21 1/2 million dollar gain by the end of 2006. By working together, the board, the board chairman, administration, staff, employees and elected officials make a better place to live for the citizenry of the all the county. To do this it takes competent leadership and a strong board. Peoria County has these attributes.
Another county talked of how they consolidated the two law enforcement agencies and having one center where emergency calls are dispatched. Can that ever happen here? I believe many of the voters in Peoria County would support consolidation.
You should read with more than a “passing interest” the “letter to editors” in today’s JS written by Paul Wilkinson, President of the Altamont Park Neighborhood Association. Also an article appearing in the JS on 11/22/03 titled “Discipline Problems Getting Worse in City Schools” by Chris Jewell. Also find a copy of the fine and disturbing two part series dated Oct. 27 and Nov. 2, 2005, titled “Unlicensed to Drive” showing that our courts are a revolving door and with the final conclusion that “The Verdict: the system is broken”. This series was written by one of the most capable writers in Peoria, DeWayne Bartels of the Observer.