As one of your committed County Commissioners, I am pleased about the positive direction St. Joseph County is heading and want to provide you with an update on the exciting progress our County made in 2017. Though much work remains, here are the highlights for many positive County developments in Information Technology (IT), infrastructure, and economic development.
In our ongoing efforts to increase transparency, improve customer service, and save taxpayer dollars, I am proud to report that the County has undergone significant, much-needed IT updates. For example, we now have a consolidated IT Department to support the IT needs of every department and campus within the county jurisdiction. The department’s new ticketing system has streamlined IT support requests and helped save the County $65,000. Updates for our County computers and phones will also save money by reducing costs from an estimated $250,000 a year to just $24,000 a year. Perhaps the most direct impact for citizens is the County’s new and improved website with enhanced opportunities to find information about the County and contact County officials. The “Report a Concern” feature enables you to directly report matters to the County so we can more efficiently address them. You can check out the website at www.sjcindiana.com to see the updates for yourself.
In addition to the IT upgrades, the County has made significant infrastructure improvements. Our Publics Work Department completed a number of road and bridge upgrades, investing over $42 million in community investment on the 2017 Road and Bridge Program and improving approximately 108 centerline road miles throughout the county. Major projects included rehabilitation of Pierce Road from SR331 to Ash Road and a partnership with Elkhart County to improve McKinley Highway at Ash Road intersection. The County also collaborated with South Bend to improve Olive Road at the Sample Overpass Intersection, which received an Engineering Honor Award from the State.
Finally, our County has been working hard to set the table for future economic development in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County, which included four major project efforts in 2017. The County Redevelopment Commission initiated a major planning project to study all aspects required to create development in the existing New Carlisle industrial area and the town of New Carlisle. In the Capital Avenue Corridor, the County has been working with SF Motors based out of Santa Clara, CA – which is the new ownership team of AM General – on the transition of that site. The County has also worked with Pulliam Enterprises on an expansion project to their facility to allow this business to grow its product development and manufacturing at their Mishawaka location. Lastly, the County is working with many partners on the South Shore Double Tracking project, which is a major emphasis for our regional efforts.
St. Joseph County saw many exciting accomplishments in 2017, but there’s more in store. As 2018 gets underway, I look forward to advancing proposals to improve transparency, customer service, and efficiency, which will ultimately help St. Joseph County reach its full potential. For example, I will to work with my colleagues to advance an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to integrate planning, finance, and human resource systems. We also hope to move forward with an Energy Savings project to continue to save the county money and upgrade outdated buildings, especially the JJC.
We have much to be proud of in our County, and my colleagues and I hope to continue moving St. Joseph County in a positive direction for the benefit of all of its residents. If the County can ever be of service to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly. Our information is on our new website!