Help hold JeffCo accountable over the next 5 years—here’s how

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downtown
Big things are happening in JeffCo. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Jefferson County has a new, five-year strategic plan that they’re rolling out, and it’s the best kind of ambitious. We got an inside look at the goals they’ve set, how they plan to accomplish them and what it all means for you. Check it out!

First Things First: Why it Matters

Jefferson County
What happens in our local governments affects us all. Photo via Jefferson County

So, why should you care about Jefferson County’s five-year plan? Well, if you’re a resident here, the County affects plenty of aspects of your life—from roads to schools to jobs and a whole lot more.

Staying up-to-date on the latest news from your County officials not only makes you an informed citizen, it also makes your life easier. Here’s an example: did you know you can apply for permits online these days?

Jefferson County Manager & CEO, Tony Petelos, shared why outlining their plans is a priority:

“Over the last decade, Jefferson County has become a strong, service-oriented local government that is focused on making the area a successful, thriving community where people want to work and live.

This five-year plan is our promise to citizens. It provides transparency and accountability. We want the public to know what we are going to do and when we are going to do it.”

Tony Petelos, Jefferson County Manager & CEO

Basically, Jefferson County wants you to know what they’re up to. And they want you to hold them accountable.

You can track their progress at this link. Each goal highlighted below has key initiatives and specific measurable objectives, which will be updated live so you can keep up with their progress.

Here’s what JeffCo has planned:

Goal #1: Promote a citizen-focused culture that strives for accountability
and consistent, efficient delivery of service.

JeffCo
These are some of the extraordinary citizens advocating for JeffCo youth on the Juvenile Justice Task Force. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Here’s what it means:

This goal is focused on making citizens’ lives easier. Whether you’re registering to vote, applying for a permit, putting in a work order, etc—County business should work for you.

The goal includes all citizens, which means one of the top priorities is assisting youth involved with the judicial system to become productive citizens.

Here’s how it’s going to happen:

  • Implement customer feedback surveys in all County departments by 2022.
  • Improve reporting of Capital Projects to citizens quarterly.
  • Decrease the number of youth reentering the Youth Detention facility by collaboration with other entities.

Goal #2: Create quality infrastructure that is efficient and serves the community.

Roads
We’re all smiles for freshly paved roads! Photo via Jefferson County

Here’s what it means:

This one is a biggie: infrastructure. The key initiative here is described as this—”Rebuild Jefferson County.”

JeffCo maintains a whole lot of infrastructure, including nearly 2000 miles of roadways, 6 million sq. ft. of building space and one of the largest wastewater treatment programs in the country.

The challenge is how to keep all of that safe, sustainable and up-to-date.

Here’s how it’s going to happen:

  • General Services department: maintain county facilities to the highest standards to create safe and functional spaces for the public and employees.
  • Roads and Transportation department: by 2026, 85% of all County-maintained roads will have an inspection rating of “good” or higher.
  • Environmental Services Department: by the end of 2026, reduce home sewer backups by 50%.
  • Complete a master plan for a demolition program by the end of 2021.
  • Complete resurfacing of 130 miles of County-maintained roads each year.

Goal #3: Attract, select, develop and retain our skilled and diverse
workforce.

courthouse
County employees can be found everywhere—not just at the Courthouse. Photo via Jefferson County

Here’s what it means:

This one is a bit more internally-focused, but having well-trained, high-quality candidates in County jobs benefits all of us.

This goal starts at the top, reflecting the Jefferson County Commissioners’ Vision Statement:

“To be a model local government that anticipates and meets the evolving needs of a diverse community with energy, character, dedication and accountability.”

Here’s how it’s going to happen:

  • 70% of County job classifications meet diversity targets.
  • Perform culture and climate survey and get 70% employee participation rate.
  • Develop Compliance Office to ensure accountability with all County functions.

Goal #4: Build the economic stability of the County and create a culture
of trust and financial transparency.

JeffCo
There’s something new popping up in JeffCo at every turn. Photo via Jefferson County

Here’s what it means:

Let’s talk money. Where is it going? Who needs more of it? This long-range financial plan aims to answer those questions and a whole lot more.

The capital plan and operating budgets will be analyzed to identify where Jefferson County wants to be financially and how it plans to get there strategically.

Here’s how it’s going to happen:

  • Comprehensive Annual Financial Report completed March 31st each year.
  • Annually maintain General Fund balance at 50%.
  • Annually maintain the County’s Budget Stabilization, Catastrophic and Uncertainty Reserve Funds.
  • Maintain or improve current bond ratings of the County’s debt structure.
  • Establish a financial reporting website by the end of 2022 for citizens and commission.

Don’t forget to bookmark this link and keep an eye on it to follow how Jefferson County is meeting these goals.

Don’t want to miss any important info? Be sure to follow Jefferson County on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest updates.

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Beth Cunningham
A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.
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