The State of Winnebago County

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Winnebago County Board members gathered Thursday night to discuss the state of the County. Board members broke down into committees to come up with goals for the coming year -- a roadmap for the future, one that will eventually pave the way to things like building a new jail and starting a Juvenile Task Force.

"As you look at Winnebago County and look at the crime rate, a lot of it comes from juvenile delinquents, so we have to make sure we're working on that front end so we don't have to deal with the back end," said Board Member Bob Kinnison.

And the County has been dealing with the back end. Overcrowding in the county jail has been an uphill court battle, but with some new programs in place hopefully that headache will be relieved.

"Immediately we need to look at some alternatives to incarceration and we need to know if these alternatives will be effective," said the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, Rick Pollack.

One alternative is having a new, bigger jail to put the prisoners in and that process is on its way, with seven architect firms set to be interview in the next two weeks.

"It's exciting - it's a very important job, the largest project the county has ever taken on and we certainly want to do it right," said Pollack

Kris Cohn, board chair, says this meeting is proof the board works hard for their community.

"This is an active involved process and our board members don't get told what's going on. They make decisions about what's going on and what the priorities are," said Cohn.

Other items on the agenda included homeland security plans - specifically a bio-terrorism plan that will be unveiled soon -- a vicious dog ordinance as well as funding to improve our highways.