Pasco Citizens’ Academy allows residents to connect with government

Pasco residents who want to learn more about the inner workings of county government now have an opportunity to do that and more.

The Pasco Citizens’ Academy is an educational program for citizens who want to learn how the government works and how they can get more involved.

The academy brings together a cross section of community representatives for 10 weekly interactive discussions about the county. Residents visit county offices such as the Historic Courthouse, Starkey Park Environmental Center and the Fire Rescue Training Center. They learn about subjects such as budget and management, public safety, elections and emergency management. The program allows them to now only learn how government works but engage in dialogue about how the county can improve services based on the citizens’ perspective.  

"It’s all about trying to improve communication with our citizens," says Paula Baracaldo, planner I – strategic policy for Pasco County. "We try to share not just our message but what staff are doing every day to improve our community and make this a great place to live, work and play."

Participants are also encouraged to become more involved through volunteer opportunities on committees such as the Library Advisory Board, Suncoast Health Council or Tourist Development Council.

The inaugural class began in January 2014 with 21 participants. Participants have gone on to become more active in civic engagement and volunteer for various county opportunities.  

Twenty spots are currently being filled for the next class, which begins September 24. The next application process will open in November.

Read more articles by Megan Hendricks.

Megan Hendricks is a feature writer at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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