Updated: Nov 18, 2021
MOUND CITY – Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower gave a brief overview to the Linn County Commissioners from the completed surveys for the comprehensive plan on Monday, Sept. 27.
Hightower reported that they had received 558 surveys. She later estimated that about 100 were completed on paper with the remainder completed online. The paper surveys were entered on the electronic survey so they could be more easily compiled.
Most of the respondents were between 45 and 64 years old, Hightower said. Most of them were female and most of them had lived in Linn County between 11 and 30 years.
She said that people from all over the county completed the survey.
Hightower reported that the committee was meeting tomorrow to pull out the top concerns.
The agricultural heritage, rural way of life, and the small town feel and rural character were high on the three most important values entered by people who took the survey, said Hightower. The next one was natural beauty and open space – preserving natural beauty was huge. It was listed as very important.
Linn County Commissioner Jim Johnson asked where the goal of improving Internet service came in.
Hightower replied that it was not as high as she expected it to be. However, the more populated areas of the county have more access to Internet, so really just because it did not score as high didn’t mean it wasn’t still important.
The highest values were to promote job creation, entrepreneurship, improve roads, improve access to high quality drinking water, Internet access, preserve natural beauty and open space, support existing businesses, extend the life of the power plant and explore strategies that bring additional tax revenue into the county.
James asked what the goal of the Tuesday meeting will be. Will the committee take it down to five, three goals, or we don’t know that yet?
The committee has thrown out three or five goals as suggestions. She said she didn’t think three was enough, because they are looking forward 20 years and they should look at more than three goals.
Hightower said she would like to have five or seven and have them be completed in the varied lengths of the time it will take to accomplish them. We are going to have accountability built in the plan, she added.
We talked about having this committee reconvene every two years and look at how we are doing on our goals and the committee members were open to that and wanted to stay involved, said Hightower.
She said in two years it would be more of how are we doing, what do we need to do to accomplish these goals, do we need resources or people, and what to do if we are struggling in an area.
In a related matter, commissioners voted to officially add airport manager to Hightower’s job titles. She has been operating as de facto airport manager since June. She is also economic development director for the county.