NEW PORT RICHEY — People curious about the inner workings of county government can sign up for the inaugural Pasco Citizens’ Academy that starts Wednesday, Jan. 16.
The free class has spots for up to 16 students in the nine-week program, according to a memo from Assistant County Administrator Suzanne Salichs.
The deadline to register is Friday, Dec. 13. Apply online at www.pascocountyfl.net/index .aspx?nid=1914 or contact Paula Baracaldo at pbaracaldo@pasco countyfl.net or (727) 834-8100.
Academy class members will hear elected officials, department directors and other county staff. The program will provide hands-on experience in county government operations.
Goals of the program are to improve understanding of local government among residents, outline the role of residents in government and establish a pool of knowledgeable individuals to act as ambassadors, serve on boards and volunteer.
Classes will meet 6 to 9 p.m. each Thursday at several locations, including: the West Pasco Government Center in New Port Richey; the Historical Courthouse in Dade City; Starkey Park Environmental Center in Seven Springs; and the Fire Rescue Training Center and the Pasco County Jail in Land O’Lakes.
All classes are open to county residents ages 18 and older.
Those who graduate from the academy will receive a certificate and be recognized at a County Commission meeting.
The introductory session, Jan. 16, will focus on “Getting to Know Your County Government.”
The Jan. 23 and Jan. 30 sessions will delve into the public services branch.
Other public services will provide the topic for the Feb. 6 session.
The development services branch gets its turn at the Feb. 13 class.
The utilities branch is the focus on Feb. 20.
The Feb. 27 and March 6 sessions probe the workings of the independent constitutional offices, which include clerk of the circuit court, property appraiser, sheriff’s office, supervisor of elections and tax collector.
The academy concludes March 13 with a class on the internal services branch.
Course topics also will spotlight emergency management, fire rescue, libraries, management and budget, parks and recreation, planning and development, building and code enforcement.