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Peoria County Board approves new strategic plan, and recognizes a Dunlap treasure

By special proclamation the Peoria County Board honored Wheels 'O Time Museum of Dunlap on their 40th anniversary. Museum co-founder Gary Bragg is pictured acknowledging the proclamation.
Tim Alexander
By special proclamation, the Peoria County Board honored the Wheels 'O Time Museum of Dunlap on its 40th anniversary. Museum co-founder Gary Bragg, center, is pictured acknowledging the proclamation.

The Peoria County Board voted by a unanimous 18-0 vote to adopt a 2023 Strategic Plan, developed following discussions, exercises, input and results of the county’s strategic planning initiative from 2021 to 2023.

As a final step of the 2023 strategic planning process, the board on Thursday was asked to identify which goals should be given the highest priority. In total, the group developed 19 updated strategic goals.

Long-term strategic goals of the county include developing and implementing a business recruitment and retention strategy to retain high quality businesses, such as Natural Fiber Welding. Creating and budgeting for professional development programs that encourage and incentivize credentialing and employee retention also is identified as a top long-term goal.

In the shorter term, the Peoria County Board identified addressing and prioritizing both short-term immediate needs and long-term capital funding needs, and identifying all possible Capital Improvement Plan funding sources as a top priority.

The county board’s strategic plan also suggests an internal process to prioritize using American Rescue Plan Act funds. In all, the plan identifies five key areas of focus:

● Infrastructure Maintenance and Improvements

● Community Investment, Communication, and Marketing

● Financial Stability

● Workforce and Organizational Development

● Regional and Intergovernmental Collaboration

Another resolution approved by the board will erase from the books just over $2 million of uncollectible Heddington Oaks Accounts receivable. However, this does not end the county’s investment in nursing homes. Peoria County Administrator Scott Sorrell told WCBU that only a portion of the overall debt was written off with the action.

The meeting agenda shows that Heddington Oaks closed in August of 2020 and the building was sold two years later in August of 2022. Despite attempts at collecting on outstanding accounts over the years, as of July 14, 2023, Peoria County still had $3,507,301 in accounts receivables for the closed nursing facility.

The county board is recommending the accounts be written off in two phases. The remaining accounts, related to Medicaid, will be presented to the county board at a later date in a second phase of write-offs.

Also at the board meeting, special recognition was extended to the Wheels ‘O Time Museum, with co-founder Gary Bragg accepting the board’s proclamation in honor of the museum’s 40th anniversary.

In other business, the board approved:

● A resolution from the Finance, Audit, and Legislative Affairs Committee recommending approval of revisions to the Sales Tax-Exempt Policy.

● A resolution from the Public Safety and Justice Committee recommending an FY2023 appropriation into Court Administration’s Juvenile Probation expenditure fund in the amount of $180,000 for the Juvenile Redeploy Program.

● A resolution from the Infrastructure Committee recommending approval of the lowest responsible bid of M.R. Mason, Peoria, for tuckpointing and structural repair at the Peoria County Jail, for calendar years 2023, 2024, and 2025, with an amount not to exceed $150,000 for year 2023.

● A resolution from the Infrastructure Committee recommending approval of the lowest bid of Western Special Contractors to re-roof the jail's 1999 addition, and Juvenile Detention Center roofs, at an amount not to exceed $2,041,880.

There were no citizen’s comments offered.

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Tim Alexander is a correspondent for WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.