Executive delivers annual Will County address

JOLIET – Will County Executive Larry Walsh outlined the many successes of the past year, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.

“With a rapidly growing county like Will, our collaborative relationships are the key to our continued progress,” Walsh said.

His comments came as he presented his annual state of the county address at a meeting of the Will County Board last week.

Some of the successes Walsh noted included the ranking of Will County as the fourth highest county in travel spending among all Illinois counties and the continued economic growth.

Walsh acknowledged the expansion of Diageo’s Plainfield plant and Home Depot’s distribution center in the Centerpoint Intermodal Center. These two facilities are estimated to bring more than 900 jobs to Will County.

Walsh also highlighted Will County’s continued need to invest in transportation infrastructure and the importance of working with federal, state and local officials

“Transportation is Will County and we are committed to improving our county highways and bridges,” Walsh said. “Through these partnerships, we are completing important projects that will impact traffic and safety across the county.”

Other important collaborations Walsh mentioned included working with the city of Joliet on building a modern county courthouse and acquiring two downtown properties – the old Social Security building and the First Midwest Bank building – to house some county operations.

“The strong partnership with our county seat, the city of Joliet, will help us make real progress to modernizing county government in downtown Joliet,” Walsh said. “Our ultimate goal is to provide necessary services to our residents in a convenient and efficient manner.”

Walsh presented a balanced budget of $187 million for fiscal 2014, which included allocations for capital improvements and increased health care costs.

“We still have many challenges ahead of us, but we are moving forward on many fronts and Will County remains strong with a bright future,” he said. “I know we can make the tough choices ahead to succeed, but we will all need to be at the table working together.

“This is the only way to keep Will County a great place to live, work and raise a family.”