Richland County Government will kick off National County Government Month with the graduation of its 2014 Richland 101 class for residents.
The monthlong observation in April is spearheaded by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and is designed to increase awareness of the role and responsibilities of counties. That mirrors the purpose of Richland 101, a free course on the basics of Richland County Government. Through a range of topics and tours of County facilities, attendees gain insight into how tax dollars are used to provide services.
The graduating class will be presented to Richland County Council at its meeting Tuesday.
“I’m pleased these residents took the time to learn how the County is essential to their daily lives,” County Administrator Tony McDonald said. “Richland County has dedicated employees who are proud of the programs and services each department provides to the public.”
The theme of the national observation this year is “Ready and Resilient Counties: Prepare. Respond. Thrive.” to showcase how counties prepare and respond to potential natural disasters, emergencies and other situations the community may face.
Earlier this year, Richland County’s ability to ensure public safety during an emergency was on full display amid its response to back-to-back winter storms.
As the area quickly recovered from the snow storm in January, the winter blast in February covered roads in ice, toppled trees and knocked out power. Out of safety concerns for the public and employees, County offices closed and Council Chair Norman Jackson declared a “State of Emergency.” But many employees remained on the job throughout the storm to keep roads clear, to get operations back to normal and to inform the public.
“Some residents really are surprised at the variety of services and programs the County provides,” McDonald said. “Our work during the storm is just one example. The County has more than 40 departments. So, whether it’s emergency services, trash collection or funding local attractions, such as the zoo, taxpayer dollars are used to enrich the community every day.”
Community Events Fill Calendar During National County Government Month
Several Richland County Government departments have events scheduled in April that illustrate the variety of services and programs the County provides. The events, which coincide with the observance of National County Government Month, also include other month-long observances such as National Fair Housing Month and National Child Abuse Awareness Month.
· Aircraft Static Display and Aerial Scavenger Hunt
The Jim Hamilton – LB Owens Airport will be the site of oohs-and-ahhs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 12. While planes soar overhead as part of an aerial scavenger hunt, an aviation display for the general public will take place on the ground. Call 771-7915 for details.
· Emergency Services Department
The County’s Emergency Services Department will canvas the County in April with scheduled appearances at several schools and events, including the Sparkleberry Fair on April 26.
· National Child Abuse Awareness Month
Richland County Court Appointed Special Advocates (RC CASA) observe National Child Abuse Awareness Month in April. Among several events planned is the Child Abuse Awareness Walk on April 25 at the Richland County Department of Social Services Office, 3220 Two Notch Road. Visit www.rccasa.org or call 576-1735 for more information and a complete list of activities.
·N National Fair Housing Month
The County’s Community Development Department will mark Fair Housing Month in April with activities to educate residents about housing discrimination. Call 576-2055 for details on the following events and for a complete list of activities:
o 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Fair Housing Center Open House, 1925 Bull St.
o Tuesday through April 25, Fair Housing Poster Contest Exhibit
o April 21-25, Community Development Week
· PLAN TOGETHER
Residents will have an opportunity to voice opinions on how the County should grow over the next 25 years. Richland County will update its comprehensive plan this year and several community meetings are scheduled this month to get the process underway. Visit www.weplantogether.org for more details on the following meetings:
o 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. April 7, EdVenture Children's Museum, 211 Gervais St.
o 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. April 8, Denny Terrace Community Center, 6429 Bishop Ave.
o 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. April 8, St. Andrews Park, 920 Beatty Road
o 10:30 a.m.-noon April 9, Adult Activity Center, 8620 Garners Ferry Road, Hopkins
o 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. April 9, Adult Activity Center, 7494 Parklane Road
· SOLID WASTE
The County’s Solid Waste & Recycling Department will be in the community at several schools and events, including Green Initiative Day at Fort Jackson. Solid Waste & Recycling also urges residents to mark their calendars for Richland Recycles Day on May 16.