Citrus County government wants our opinion.
And, by golly, we’re going to help.
The county is creating a communication plan. To help do that, a consultant is meeting with commissioners and staffers to develop a county “brand.”
And, to help with that, the county sent out a survey questionnaire to 20 businesses, organizations, government agencies, community groups — and Just Wright Citrus.
I glanced at it last week and, wow, it’s deep. Some of these questions are difficult to answer because they cover subjects even the commissioners haven’t discussed yet.
I don’t have the room (or interest) in printing all the questions, but I’ll touch on a few. If you’re really interested, send the county an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll get the survey to you.
Gotta hurry, though. The deadline is Thursday; commissioners will discuss the survey when they meet Aug. 15.
Here we go.
— Right out of the gate: “Many organizations have stories that tie into their brands. Does Citrus County have an ‘origin story’ that explains its history and how its current brand was developed/has evolved over time? If so, please explain below.”
Does that not look like the extra-credit question on the exam you didn’t study for? I have no clue whether Citrus County has an origin story — other than that stolen Courthouse from Mannfield thing — but there are folks in our community who probably would know.
— Questions 2, 3 and 4 are all variations on the same theme and we’re going to spend some time here. The first question asks my feelings on county government; the second asks what I think OTHERS think of county government; the third asks what I’d want people to think of county government.
Each question wants me to pick six words from a list of 30. They jumbled up the order but it’s the same 30 for each question.
And that presented the biggest challenge for today’s blog: how best to list 30 words. I opted for a screenshot:
The term “county government” is rather broad. I’m going to interpret it as the County Commission. Those five sit at the head table and anything about the operation of government reflects on them.
That leads to another challenge, in that this board and administration have been together for just six months. Reaching one-word conclusions about their performance is likely premature no matter which direction the opinions take.
So, with those caveats, here are the six words from the 30 to describe how I feel about the County Commission:
Collaborative; practical; creative; sincere; professional; accessible.
Next question: What do I think others in Citrus County feel about the county government?
This is trickier. I’m out and about frequently and have a pretty good idea how folks are looking at county government. And I’d say, overall, they’re happy with the direction, though it’s too soon to make that call. Still a budget and huge land-use cases to wade through.
The best way to gauge public opinion on the County Commission is at election time and we’re still at least six months away from that heating up.
This one’s a wild card. I could be spot-on or way off. Here’s my six of the 30 to describe how others in Citrus County feel about county government:
Irresponsible; defensive; creative; bureaucratic; antiquated; disorganized.
The third set of six words is to describe Citrus County in its Utopia state. How do we want people to feel about county government?
First off, is it really necessary to ask that? My six happy Citrus County government words: accessible; knowledgeable; sincere; professional; inviting; trustworthy.
— “Do Citrus County residents trust Citrus County government? Why/why not?”
Let’s see, I think I can answer this in 10 million words.
Yes! No! Maybe! Sometimes! Depends on the next zoning vote. Only if they raise taxes. Only if they cut taxes.
Asking the public if it trusts the government is an exercise in futility. There’s just no consistent answer.
But diving a little deeper, I definitely trust that the five members of this board are trying to do the next right thing. We may not always agree on the decision, but I have yet to see any indication that these commissioners aren’t getting in lockstep with the public.
I don’t know how this survey transforms into a Citrus County brand or what we do with that. I’ll leave it to the people who know how the process works in real life.
It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Ask citizens questions about their local government, never know what you’ll get.
In a word: Intriguing.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.