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County survey asks for input

By Staff | Dec 2, 2009

One month into its new strategic planning process for the 2011 budget, Lee County officials are reaching out for public input.

Twelve hundred households across Lee County will get a postcard next week, telling recipients they soon will receive a five-page citizen survey.

The survey – the first of its kind since 2002 – will be used to help county officials determine priorities for the next budget year, and county officials urge those who receive them to complete and return the forms.

We also urge residents to submit the questionnaires.

The compiled information “will be shared with the Board of Lee County Commissioners as one of several key elements in an ongoing strategic planning process,” officials said in a prepared statement released before the holiday.

Other elements will include information gathered at a series of workshops between the county’s eight primary departments and the board of county commissioners, and traditional budget workshops and public hearings to be held through the summer and early fall of next year.

The goal, according to new County Manager Karen Hawes?

To identify the core level of service desired by the public and the county’s elected officials.

The process began in October with the departmental presentations, continues through December with the mailing and collection of the statistically valid citizen survey, and culminates in February with the Board of County Commissioners’ traditional goal-setting workshop.

From all that information, the county staff will prepare and present a budget that, hopefully, will come close to what the commission expects and the public wants, both in terms of services provided and the revenue level needed to fund the package.

To get the services we want for the money we pay, we do need to take part.

And the first step, for the public anyway, is to complete the forms, which are to be returned directly to the survey firm, the Colorado-based National Research Center, for compilation.

We commend the county for seeking additional public input and for doing so in a way as to include those of us who may prefer providing it away from the sometimes contentious public hearing process.

If particular programs or services are important to you, please take part if one of the surveys makes its way to your mailbox. It does matter where our tax dollars go.

– Reporter editorial