The basic purpose of public participation is to provide for an accurate process through which Dane County citizens, public officials, and stakeholder groups may participate, in meaningful and effective ways, in developing Dane County's Comprehensive Plan. We understand that citizens and groups are the source of tremendous creativity, and their creativity and input will produce better planning decisions. It is also every citizen's right to participate in the process of making local government decisions. Because the decisions represented by Dane County's Comprehensive Plan will define what Dane County will look like for many years to come, public participation in the development of the plan is critical. Significant financial, time and energy investments will be needed to complete this planning effort. Given these investments, broad and active public participation is an essential strategy for developing a County plan and planning process that will stand the test of time.