The Performance Improvement Division is responsible for improving organizational performance and maximizing the use of financial resources. This is primarily achieved through a comprehensive Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation process.
The strategic planning and program evaluation process includes the creation of strategic outlines, the design of data collection forms, administrative and outcome-based performance evaluations, and time-study and materials analysis. As a result of these efforts, Ottawa County remains at the forefront in verifying the cost-effectiveness of its programs and services.
Since 2003, outcome-based evaluations completed by the Department have saved over $16.8 million in taxpayer dollars as a result of recommendations that modified, privatized, or discontinued ineffective programs and services. Moreover, $48.4 million in County programming and services has been verified as cost-effective through the evaluation process.
A list of completed evaluations and special studies is as follows:
|Community Mental Health (2016)|
|Tax Increment Financing (2015)|
|Indigent Defense (2015)|
|Holland SmartZone (2015)|
|Public Utilities Task Force Report (2013)|
|Road Commission Task Force Report (2013)|
|Ottawa County Geographic Information System (2015 - In Progress)|
|Harbor Transit (2013)|
|Loutit Library (2012)|
|Department Performance Outlines|
Community Mental Health (2016)
The Planning and Performance Improvement Department completed a Community Mental Health (CMH) Authority report in 2016. The report examined the advantages, disadvantages, and cost savings that would result from Ottawa County CMH becoming an Authority. The report also assessed the potential impacts to County operations if CMH became an Authority.
The assessment revealed that there are several potential benefits of CMH becoming an Authority; however, the potential disadvantages largely outnumber the benefits. If CMH became an Authority, there is a potential increase in cost, a significant increase in liability, and a potential decrease in service levels from human resources, fiscal services, and other administrative departments.
Tax Increment Financing (2015)
The Planning and Performance Improvement Department completed a report about Tax Increment Financing (TIF) in November 2015. TIF is a method of financing the cost of public improvements that promote community development and/or redevelopment projects. Ottawa County has supported the use of TIF in local communities for years, but an evaluation has never been completed to measure the outputs and outcomes of this economic development tool. As a result, County Administration requested this report to explain TIF and determine the impact of Ottawa County’s participation in TIF Districts.
Indigent Defense (2015)
In March 2015, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department completed an Indigent Defense Cost Report. The report was prepared for the Ottawa County Indigent Defense Committee which consists of judges and staff from the 20th Circuit and 58th District Courts. The Committee is assessing the County’s options for providing indigent defense services that will comply with new statewide standards that are being developed.
The Planning and Performance Improvement Department’s report includes a cost analysis of two alternative options for providing indigent defense services in Ottawa County. The first option involves the creation of a new Public Defender Coordinator staff position within the County. This option will allow the County to maintain its current system of contracting with private independent attorneys for indigent defense services, while at the same time creating more separation between the judges and defense counsel. The second option involves the creation of a new Public Defender Office that would be staffed by County employees who would provide all indigent defense services.
Holland SmartZone (2015)
In September 2014, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department prepared a 15-year tax capture analysis for the Holland SmartZone. To begin the analysis, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department created GIS maps for three potential SmartZone boundaries. For each SmartZone boundary, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department calculated the estimated increase in tax revenue over 15 years if the current growth rate was maintained (i.e. no SmartZone). The Department also calculated the amount of tax revenue that the SmartZone will capture over 15 years based on four growth rate scenarios, including an additional 1%, 2%, 3%, and 4% growth above the current growth rate.
The tax capture analysis provided County Administration, Holland City leaders, and Holland Township leaders with a projection of the amount of tax revenue that each taxing jurisdiction will lose over 15 years once the SmartZone is created. The analysis also provided a summary of the amount of tax revenue that will be captured over 15 years.
Public Utilities Task Force Report (2013)
In May 2013, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department assisted the Public Utility Task Force in completing a study of the Public Utility services that are currently provided by the Road Commission. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the optimal organizational structure for the current and future delivery of public utility services in the County.
As part of the Study, a thorough assessment of the legislative options for organizing Public Utilities was conducted, along with a detailed cost-analysis. A survey was also distributed to local units of government to gauge their level of satisfaction with the public utility services provided by the Road Commission and whether there is a need/desire for enhanced/expanded services. An assessment of existing countywide public utility efforts was also performed to determine if any opportunities exist to increase coordination and/or improve long-range planning.
Road Commission Task Force Report (2013)
In 2012, legislation was passed which enabled counties to transfer all of the powers, duties, and functions of the Road Commission to the County Board of Commissioners. The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners subsequently appointed a Road Commission Task Force to evaluate the options that the Board could undertake as it relates to the potential transfer of the Road Commission to the County.
The study process involved extensive research regarding relevant statutes, other road commission reports, as well as the Ottawa County Road Commission’s organizational structure, finances, facilities, and operations. The Planning and Performance Improvement Department assisted the Road Commission Task Force in completing the study of the Road Commission operations and potential drawbacks and benefits of transferring the Road Commission operations to the County.
Sentenced Work Abatement Program (SWAP) Evaluation (2015)
The Sentenced Work Abatement Program (SWAP) was created in 1991 to allow local units of government and non-profit agencies to employ minimum-security inmates for the purpose of performing a variety of work projects (e.g. lawn mowing, hedge-trimming, litter pick-up, painting). As an incentive to participate in SWAP, eligible inmates receive a one day reduction in their jail sentence for every four days of SWAP service.
This 2015 Evaluation provides information regarding the number of annual service hours billed to participating agencies and the County’s net annual cost to administer the program.
E-Ticket System (2014)
In 2013, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department completed an initial Time-Study and Cost-Benefit analysis of an electronic traffic ticketing system (i.e. e-Ticket). An e-Ticket system is designed to increase efficiency, reduce cost, and improve the safety of Road Patrol Officers. The results of the analyses revealed that the County could achieve a positive return-on-investment in the system in 10 years because of projected reductions in material usage associated with processing traffic tickets electronically, and an anticipated reduction in staff (through attrition) of a part-time clerk position in the District Court. The Sheriff’s Office began using the e-Ticket system in their patrol cars in January 2014.
In order to verify the actual labor efficiencies achieved in the District Court from processing traffic tickets electronically, a follow-up Time Study will be conducted by the Planning and Performance Improvement Department.
Organizational Efficiency Analysis - Property Description & Mapping Division (2013)
The County’s Property Description and Mapping (PD&M) Division, which is a part of the Equalization Department, provides many essential services for local units of government and residents in the County. These services include, but are not limited to, assigning property parcel numbers, writing property tax descriptions, maintaining the property parcel base layer in the County’s Geographic Information System (GIS), and preparing the annual County Apportionment Report. In early 2012, Equalization Department managers requested that an Organizational Efficiency Analysis (OEA) be conducted for the Property Description and Mapping Division. An OEA analyzes the organizational structure, staffing levels, and service delivery.
The OEA verified that several opportunities exist to achieve greater efficiencies in PD&M. In total, 2,609 hours in annual time savings were identified. This time savings will translate into a .73 FTE reduction in staff, which will save almost $60,000 annually.
e-Crash System Cost-Analysis (2012)
This evaluation of an electronic traffic crash reporting system (i.e. e-Crash system) was prepared to quantify the purported benefits of implementing an e-Crash system and to determine whether the benefits (labor and material savings) justify the County’s cost to install and maintain the system. The Study results reveal that the e-Crash technology is projected to provide a positive ROI for the County.
Sentenced Work Abatement Program (SWAP) Evaluation (2011)
This evaluation calculates the projected cost of the SWAP Program for the 2012 program year and the cost implications that would result if the program were discontinued. The difference between the County’s anticipated General Fund contribution and the increased expenses if the program is discontinued is $16,305. Since the County’s net General Fund contribution for SWAP does not exceed the Board’s $20,000 threshold, it was recommended that the SWAP Program be continued in 2012.
Electronic Content Management System Evaluation (2010)
This comprehensive four-year study documents the cost and benefits of the County's Electronic Content Management (ECM) System. The System is designed to image, manage, archive, and deliver justice system documents in digital/electronic formats. The evaluation includes an assessment of the County's Return-on-Investment (ROI) using a Time-Study and Materials Analysis, a Cost-Benefit Analysis and a Sensitivity Analysis. The evaluation also documents the intangible benefits of the ECM system that have resulted for employees and individuals involved in the County’s criminal justice system. This study revealed a negative ROI as a result of several factors that have prevented the complete utilization of the ECM system by all departments; however, it was determined through the study that a positive ROI could be achieved in ten years if state legislation is amended that would allow a completely paperless workflow in the courts.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Evaluation (2009)
This evaluation assesses whether the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Program is administered efficiently and whether beneficial, cost-effective outcomes are being achieved. This is accomplished by analyzing administrative and operational program components, as well as completion rates, recidivism rates, and cost. This evaluation revealed that as a result of continuing to contract with Catholic Charities to administer the CBT Program, the County saved nearly $53,000 during fiscal year 2008. Based on the efficient administration of the program and the overall cost-effectiveness it was recommended that the contract with Catholic Charities to administer the Program be extended for an additional two years.
Parenting Plus Program Evaluation (2007)
This evaluation provides information about the Parenting Plus Program's success in accomplishing program goals, the relative cost of providing services, and the availability of options that exist to provide program services through other venues. Based on the results of this evaluation, it was recommended that the program be restructured in order to provide services in a more cost-effective manner.
Work Abatement Program (SWAP) Evaluation (2007)
This evaluation provides a cost analysis of the SWAP Program during 2006 by assessing the program's existing and projected fee-for-service, the number of service hours billed, and the County's cost to administer the program. Based on the results of this evaluation, it was recommended that the fee-for-service be raised in order for the County to avoid funding an amount greater than $20,000 in 2008.
Traditional and Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) Evaluation (2007)
This evaluation assesses aspects of the Traditional and ISP programs which include demographic information, completion rates, probation requisites, substance abuse assessments, home and office visits, drug and alcohol testing, and probation violations. An assessment of program cost and post-program recidivism rates are also included in this report. Furthermore, it provides a qualitative analysis of the participants’ views regarding treatment, overall accountability, as well as aspects of their relationships with judges and probation officers obtained through a survey of former program participants.
Gatekeeper Program Evaluation (2006)
This 2-Year evaluation provides information about the implementation and administration of the Gatekeeper Program. The program was created to provide holistic (spiritual, physical, emotional, and psychological) in-jail and post-jail programs for inmates as well as personalized discharge plans that would increase the likelihood of successful transition back into the community. Based on the results of this evaluation, it was recommended that the program be discontinued in the fall of 2006.
Domestic Violence Evaluation (2002)
This evaluation report provides insight into the demographic, trend, and relational aspects of this community problem that will assist county leaders with future policy decisions. It also provides a statistical assessment which illustrates the impact that present programs and policies have on the reoccurrence of domestic violence. This data will be used as a benchmark to determine whether new policy decisions reduce the occurrences of domestic violence.
Addiction Program Therapy Evaluation (2002)
This evaluation provides information about the Ottawa County Addiction Program Therapy Program that will assist in determining its overall effectiveness and efficiency. The primary program factors analyzed include, but are not limited to, program administration, recidivism, cost.
Communities Helping Ottawa Obtain a Safe Environment (CHOOSE) Evaluation (2011)
This 2011 evaluation of the CHOOSE Program includes an assessment of program activity outputs, determines whether the activities are aligned with the program’s pre-established goals and objectives, and whether the activities are having a preliminary impact in the targeted quadrant. An assessment of program cost is also included. The results of the evaluation revealed that CHOOSE services continue to be provided countywide. Because a quadrant-based delivery system is not used, it is not possible to verify whether CHOOSE is achieving positive outcomes.
Inmate Case Management and Treatment Program Evaluation (2009)
This Interim Evaluation Report assesses whether the ICMT Program is administered efficiently. This is the first step in the overall evaluation process of the Program. If it is determined that the program is administered efficiently, the second step will be to complete an outcome-based evaluation that will assess participant recidivism rates to determine whether beneficial, cost-effective outcomes are being achieved. This evaluation measures the extent to which the ICMT Program is achieving the targeted administrative measures. The administrative functions that were measured involved the ICMT Case Manager’s ability to maintain high program enrollment levels, adhere to the program’s target population criteria, and administer the primary components of the program. Also included in this evaluation is an overview of program completion rates, treatment plan completion rates, jail diversions, and program cost.
Mental Health Point-in-Time Study
In February 2009, the results of a three-month point-in-time study were presented to the Mental Health Task Force. That study was compared to a study completed by the Planning and Performance Improvement Department in 2005 to determine improvement in jail diversion. The studies assessed the number of offenders that were diverted from jail by patrol officers and by jail staff because of mental health concerns. The results of the 2009 study were inconclusive since patrol officers and jail staff had not collected the data for the second point-in-time study with the same level of intensity and dedication as had been applied to the first study in 2005.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Evaluation (2008)
This evaluation assesses the administrative effectiveness of implementing the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Program, as well as participation and completion rates, demographic characteristics of program participants, and program cost. This report also includes a summary of self-reported feedback from participants. The results of this interim administrative evaluation revealed that the CBT program is being administered very efficiently. The privatization of CBT instruction also resulted in a $53,508 savings for the County during fiscal year 2007.
Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Program Evaluation (2007)
This evaluation provides information about the implementation and administration of the Senior Volunteer Program during its first year. This program was designed to utilize the services of senior citizen volunteers to perform routine tasks that are typically the responsibility of deputy officers. This allows officers more time to perform law enforcement duties such as road patrol, traffic safety, and criminal arrests.
P.A. 2 Funding Report (2006)
This report explains the origination of PA 2 Funds, clarifies statutory spending requirements for these funds, describes the County’s historic practices regarding the expenditure of the funds, and provides possible options for the future administration of these funds.
Sentenced Work Abatement Program (SWAP) Evaluation (2006)
This report provides an overview of the Sentenced Work Abatement Program’s (SWAP) benefits, drawbacks, and cost. Furthermore, it provides information about the satisfaction level of the organizations using the program. This report also provides an indication of whether organizations are willing to accept future rate increases to cover actual program expenses.
Sobriety/Drug Courts Evaluation (2006)
This report provides an assessment of the administration and operational performance of the 58th District Court Sobriety Court and the 20th Circuit Court Adult Drug Treatment Court and Juvenile Drug Treatment Court programs, as well as relative program cost.
Gatekeeper Program Evaluation (2005)
This evaluation provides information about the implementation and administration of the Gatekeeper Program during its first year of operation. The program was created to provide holistic (spiritual, physical, emotional, and psychological) in-jail and post-jail programs for inmates as well as personalized discharge plans that would increase the likelihood of a successful transition back into the community. The overall goal of the Gatekeeper Program is to enhance life-skills where needed in order to deter future criminal offenses.
Attitudes Matter Program Evaluation (2003)
This evaluation provides information about the three-year pilot project involving the Attitudes Matter Program. The program is a prevention-based, social marketing campaign designed to educate parents about juvenile substance-use issues and encourages parents to address these issues with their children. The purpose of the program is to reduce substance-use among juveniles.
The Drain Code of 1956, Public Act 40 of 1956 (88KB)
The Planning and Performance Improvement Department is reviewing an overhaul to the Drain Code introduced under House Bill 4552 and Senate Bill 217. The bills would modernize the laws governing the office of the county Drain Commissioner. They also would expand the environmental responsibilities of the Drain Commissioner. The Department performed a review of a similar bill, House Bill 4803, in 2000.
Ottawa County Geographic Information System (2015 - In Progress)
The Planning and Performance Improvement Department is assisting the Ottawa County Geographic Information System (GIS) Department with preparing a Long-Range Strategic Plan. To complete the Plan, the Planning and Performance Improvement Department assessed the GIS Department’s current environment (i.e. technology, products, services, customers, pricing) in 2015/2016. This involved conducting a Needs Assessment to determine the types of products and services that existing and potential customers need and/or want as it relates to GIS mapping. The results of the Needs Assessment were summarized visually in a series of charts and graphs that are posted on the GIS Department’s web page.
The GIS Department is in the process of reviewing the results of the Needs Assessment. They will then prioritize the needs and ideas that were identified during the Needs Assessment according to their overall benefit and practicality of implementation. The Planning and Performance Improvement Department will assist with a follow-up survey to determine the price that customers are willing to pay for any newly proposed GIS products and services. This will assist the GIS Department in implementing new products and services that can result in a positive return-on-investment.
Harbor Transit (2013)
The Planning and Performance Improvement Department assisted the Harbor Transit Authority Board with the development of their first 5-Year Strategic Plan. The collaborative effort resulted in an innovative, Excel-based Plan for the organization. The Plan includes three components: 1) Strategic Outline; 2) Performance Management Outline; and 3) Performance Dashboard. The innovative, user-friendly Excel-based Plan saves valuable staff time, ensures that performance calculations are accurate, and promotes transparency.
Loutit Library (2012)
The Planning and Performance Improvement Department worked collaboratively with Board members and staff from the Loutit District Library to complete a Performance Plan for the Library. The Plan consists of a Strategic Outline that clearly defines the target population, goals and objectives, and programs and services of the Library. It also consists of a Performance Outline that defines the measures that are used to assess the Library’s annual performance and cost-effectiveness.
Department Performance Outlines
The Performance Improvement Division works closely with County departments/divisions to define their respective goals and objectives, and the measures that are used to verify performance. This information, assembled into a Performance Outline for each department/division, is updated annually with data related to workload, efficiency, customer service, cost, and outcomes. The Plans and resulting performance measurement data play an important role in budget decisions related to personnel requests, technology initiatives, and program funding. Nearly 50 unique Performance Outlines are maintained for each of the County’s departments/divisions. The Performance Outlines can be viewed in the County's Annual Budget.