County survey seeks input on business plan for Kern’s long-term goals

December 30, 2019 /

Kern County residents have just a few more days to take the County’s community survey, seeking input on a future business plan.

The survey, which was created with help from MPA students at CSUB, Kern residents and the Great West Policy Research Center, seeks to determine the most pressing issues facing Kern and looks to find strategies on how to meet the long-term goals indicated from survey responses. The community survey closes Jan. 2.

“This will be a more comprehensive plan that bridges long-term objectives to short term (goals) that impact people in our communities,” said Jason Wiebe, the County Administrative Office manager.

Weibe said the CAO’s office has developed long-term visionary goals, but the office now needs to work on short-term strategies that can help reach those goals.

The community survey asks residents what their top priorities are in Kern and which issues are the most pressing. Topics include affordable housing, homelessness, public safety, the local economy, infrastructure, job opportunity and more. The survey also asks for input or solutions suggestions to some of the issues.

“I hope and expect there will be levels of agreement across the County and communities on larger picture items,” Wiebe said. “In general, people want their communities to be safe and healthy jobs.”

The goal is to identify five key general areas from survey responses that people are in favor of.

“Then we use those three to five areas to develop annual strategies,” Wiebe said.

The survey will also help the county develop long-term objectives. To reach these objectives, Wiebe said the county may revisit the annual goals and adjust them — if they are not effective — to reach the long-term objectives.

To help develop a business plan, the County also conducted a scientific poll with residents from across Kern. Based on those responses, homelessness, health and safety are top priorities, according to Wiebe.

The data from the survey and poll will be shared at a Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting in the Spring. The CAO’s office will make a presentation that includes a draft of the strategic plan, which will outline which County departments are to implement performance measures, Weibe said.

“It will be important when we do unveil for communities and residents to provide input on how departments can use this and focus their resources in certain areas,” he said.

Weibe said one of the main goals in this process is to offer transparency and accountability to community members. He said the County plans to publish annual results of what it has achieved and what it can work on for the future goals.

“One of the goals is for residents and communities to stay engaged,” Weibe said. “This is a long-term goal with annual adjustments as needed.”

Survey responses will be kept confidential, the county said on it’s website.

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.