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Strategic Plan

The Winnebago County Board and Administration strategic planning process is underway, to include the following phases. 

Part I. Taking Stock: Background, listening, and learning from the organization, community, and data.

Part II. Strategic Planning Workshops: Identification of strategic issues and goals with the County Board and senior staff.

Part III. Implementation: Action planning and strategy development kick-off with senior staff.

This process, facilitated by Northern Illinois University's Center for Governmental Studies, resulted in the following recommended priorities. The strategic plan recommendation will be presented to the County Board for adoption in the fall of 2018. The Board will also be asked to consider the adoption of organizational values based on both secondary and direct research described herein: Organizational Values Report.

Short-Term Routine Priorities


Promote fiscal soundness and take steps to create and maintain a balanced budget for the County Government.

  • Continue taking steps to accomplish ongoing budget balancing and undertake process improvement reviews in County operations and activities
  • Explore budgeting frameworks that would establish  guidelines and disadvantages for elected officers not staying within the allocated budget


Analyze and review the short- and long-term operations of the County's nursing home at River Bluff

  • Evaluate the climate of short- and long-term nursing care trends and needs
  • Assess the gap between revenue and costs at the County nursing home


Evaluate County detention facilities and operations

  • Explore detention reform options such as low level misdemeanor reform alternatives and eliminating overnight jail stays in certain conditions


Examine organizational human resource system and policy reforms

  • Evaluate and assess possible consolidations of human resource functions within the County organization where it would be most efficient and effective

Short-Term Complex Priorities


Improve/create intergovernmental partnerships and collaborations to create and capitalize on economies of scale

  • Explore, facilitate, encourage and evaluate shared use of resources and capabilities within the County including possibilities as noted below:
  • County Sheriff and Rockford police and other local police agencies
  • A metro fire and emergency services response model 
  • Public safety collaboration for shared technologies, i.e., possible 911 consolidation, (Fusion Center)
  • Boards or elected officials possible consolidation


Enhance economic growth and activities in and across the County

  • Implement community redevelopment strategies to stimulate economic growth
  • Take steps to promote economic diversity and investments
  • Explore business and development incentives to increase job opportunities that are sustainable while offering a living wage 
  • Promote programs for employment and workforce development
  • Be willing to explore and advance second chance employment programs
  • Support workforce training programs with schools and training programs at all levels including technical, high school, college, apprenticeship, etc.
  • Partner with educators to upgrade outcomes from school suspensions


Review, analyze and reform/redesign animal services policies and operations


Advance and improve the County organization

  • Encourage organizational development and the creation of a positive and dedicated work environment
  • Promote employee wellness
  • Enhance and improve efficiency in processes and innovation across departments
  • Evaluate retention and attraction issues/challenges of the County workforce


Undertake a County branding, awareness and communication plan

  • Create/implement a plan to improve the perceptions/branding and image of the County to multiple stakeholders, businesses, visitors and investors
  • Help citizens understand the role of County Government


Explore the future role, function and structure of townships

Long-Term Routine Priorities


Develop a long-term capital improvement plan (CIP) for highways, major equipment, building maintenance and other essential capital improvements


Invest in infrastructure maintenance and improvement to  protect, conserve, restore, and properly manage County assets

  • Improve County-maintained roads
  • Explore financing options and funding streams including possible host fees, a1% sales tax for infrastructure improvements 
  • Seek and prepare for state/federal funding programs and collaborations to improve, maintain or expand infrastructure


Explore innovative incarceration or detention options and programs with stakeholders for outside of jail alternatives:

  • Work to promote GED program improvements and reinstatement
  • Explore alternative work/trade programs for inmates-workforce development to reduce recidivism

Long-Term Complex Priorities


Promote, facilitate and take an active role to encourage outside economic investments in the County

  • Develop strategies and steps for business retention/acquisition
  • Encourage multiple career paths and workforce skill development including promoting and supporting vocational tech programs, schools and providers
  • Increase and diversify revenue and grow population across the County
  • Promote economic development and investment in the western part of the County


Take steps to establish/improve mental health support and care systems

  • Explore and evaluate options and alternatives
  • Partner and integrate with community providers and agencies including courts, law enforcement and social services


Take steps to recognize and capitalize on the river as a unique natural asset and feature

  • Encourage economic development along the river
  • Promote the river as an asset for both recreation and commercial activities
  • Partner with stakeholders to capitalize on the river as a unique place, amenity and economic engine


Promote energy source maximization and sustainability using County assets

  • Explore waste to energy production
  • Evaluate renewable alternatives in partnership with the County landfill


Promote community engagement, inclusion and participation

  • Broaden inclusion and work to engage underrepresented populations and add to those involved
  • Develop strategies to improve/enhance the inclusivity and diversity of the County's governing units, government frameworks and the County organization


Undertake an assessment and feasibility study of a Metra rail line to connect Rockford to O'Hare and Union Station in Chicago


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