WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Survey Response Larger Than Expected

Macomb, IL – Thousands of McDonough County residents were mailed a 100+ question survey this fall asking for their opinions on various services and opportunities in the county. The County Board's Comprehensive Plan committee will use this information to help craft a document that will shape the future of the county.

Roughly 22 percent of those mailed a survey responded. That's about twice what board members expected.

The average respondent was a 59 year old, college educated, home-owning male making more than $50,000 a year. Those figures don't match county-wide statistics, which concerned some committee members. They say the data provided might not be representative of the entire county.

But committee member Earl Godt says the statistics of the average respondent accurately reflect the county's population.

"Because of the University being here, it'll tend to be skewed that way," says Godt. "We've got a University here, we've got a large medical facility here. We're the fourth most educated county in the state as far as per capita PhD's."

Godt was concerned, however, that the data seemed to skew toward city of Macomb residents.

The Comprehensive Plan Committee, with help from the Western Survey Research Center, will now begin to compile the data. At its next meeting in February, Godt says the committee will begin setting up a series of public hearings on the plan.

"Let it be coming from the people on how we approach [the plan]," says Godt. "How we look at the data that we got, and say okay, this is a snapshot of the residents of this county, and what they think is important. How can we make this county better for everybody?"

It will take at least a couple of years to craft a new comprehensive plan. The final document will contain information that indicates what the county should do over the next five, ten, to fifteen years. It will include mapping documents, goals and objectives, and implementation strategies.