Dunn County Board moving into final phase of directional planning

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  —  The Dunn County Board is moving into the final phase of long-range directional planning.

The county board held a special meeting March 11 to discuss their long-range planning goals and to begin assembling their goals into priorities.

Dolores (Dolly) Caitlin, a fellow with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), has been coordinating the year-long planning efforts in what will eventually culminate with action plans for specific initiatives.

Caitlin began working the county board’s standing committees early last fall.

Dunn County has nine standing committees, 22 departments, and 29 county board members.

All together, the standing committees identified 42 issues, which include the consequences of not addressing the goals, Caitlin said at the March 11 meeting.

The directional planning process will allow the county board to take the lead on developing policy that will “take the long view of things that matter to constituents,” said Steve Rasmussen, chair of the Dunn County Board.

One of the subjects board members discussed was county board engagement and public engagement.

The county board must be “informed by and sensitive to the public at large,” said Kitz Cleary, county board supervisor from Colfax.

The county board should combine board engagement and public engagement, said Tom Quinn, county board supervisor from Downing.

The board needs “a process of engagement and to incorporate (it) into better governance,” he said.

“If the county board is not providing what the public wants, they will be there (at the meetings),” said Chuck Maves, county board supervisor from Boyceville.

The question will be “how to move the county forward as a pro-active organization,” Rasmussen said.

One example would be — how can the county advocate for constituents on high speed broadband for Internet access, he said.

The Dunn County Board settled on “pro-active government” as the top priority for directional planning.

The sections under pro-active government are sustainability, board engagement, public engagement and quality of life.

Quality of life can include public safety, public health, parks and a transit system, said Sheila Stori, county board supervisor from Menomonie.

The Dunn County Board will conclude the planning process at subsequent meetings that will identify specific initiatives and will develop action plans for completing those initiatives.

The plan is expected to be finished in May.