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New County Judge asks citizens to help develop County master plan

New Rockwall County Judge Jerry Hogan has just announced that the Rockwall County Commissioners Court is reversing how Rockwall County plans for the future.

Rather than telling County residents what is going to happen, County Commissioners want citizens to help develop a five-year master plan for what they want Rockwall County to become by 2016, beginning in early April.

He said strategic planning expert, Dr. Joan Terry, who is RISD’s Assistant Superintendent of Department of Policy, Planning, and Research, has agreed to voluntarily help lead this effort, at no cost to the County.

“Most governments, whether at the local, state, or national level, develop their plans for the future and then tell their citizens what is going to happen,” said Hogan.

“We here in Rockwall County want to reverse that. We want our citizens to develop a master plan that lays out where they want our County to be five years from now. We want our citizens to tell us what they want; not us telling them what they are going to get!”

Hogan cited the former Road Bond Committee as an excellent example of what a joint government-citizen committee can accomplish.

“Right now, for example, the county has an excellent transportation plan that was jointly developed with the cities and citizens in the county. A large Road Bond Committee, made up of citizens throughout the County, took this plan and met with individuals and explained what was being planned. Buy-in occurred at every level because the citizens got to change the draft and put the focus on the roads where they thought it was needed.”

“However in other areas such as financial forecasting and taxation, facilities needed going forward, personnel levels and expertise, law enforcement, the arts, and how all of these various parts fit together in terms of affordability and needs, has not been addressed on a coordinated basis. And that’s where the opportunity lies for our citizens to get involved.”

Dr. Terry said she agrees that a group of volunteer citizens can achieve amazing results.

“What a great opportunity for the people of our County to influence where we want our County to be five years from now. This gives us the opportunity to lay out our plan for what we want where we live.”

“Of course it’s possible. I have helped many different groups of do this and the result is always better than what anyone though it would be going into the process.”

She said the committee will take about three months to finish.

“It will require about three months to finish and the different groups will probably meet once a week after they get organized and start the actual work. The meetings will be in the evenings or perhaps on some Saturdays, but the work is fun, challenging, important, and the results are just amazing.”

Hogan explained what the criteria are for someone wanting to help.

“We want any citizen who wants to be involved to be involved. This is really going to be a result that depends on the effort that goes into the development.”

“Experts in the areas mentioned are asked to consider volunteering. If you don’t have a field of expertise, but want to get involved, please volunteer. There will be plenty of opportunity for everyone to contribute and to really make a difference.”

To volunteer or for more info, contact Hogan at 972-204-6020 or jhogan@rockwallcountytexas.com, or contact Commissioner Lorie Grinnan at 972-204-6000 or lgrinnan@rockwallcountytexas.com.

Hogan said Grinnan had “considerable experience” in strategic planning while on the RISD school board.

“If you could give your name, email address, phone number, and area you would like to be involved with, it would be appreciated,” said Hogan.

By J.J. Smith, Publisher

 

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