Civic Education course returns; deadline is March 27

Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.

Alachua County residents who may be curious about just how their local government operates can sign up to go behind the scenes and have their questions answered.

The annual Alachua County Civic Education Series, or ACCESS, a seven-week free course to educate people on the roles of government, begins on April 1. The deadline to sign up is March 27.

This is the 10th year for the program, which features presentations and tours from members of various departments from public works and Community Support Services to the public defender and tax collector.

The sessions include tours, handouts and question and answer periods. Attendees will get a better understanding of which department does what, find out how their tax dollars are allocated, meet the people serving the county, and learn how national and state issues affect the county government, according to the program’s website.

Last year, 23 participants toured places such as the local jail and the county’s waste management facility, said Donna Bradbrook, strategic performance manager for Alachua County.

Bradbrook wants the participants to understand how intricate the county government is. “There is more complexity to the daily operations of making things happen than a lot of people are aware of,” she said.

Even people who have attended the class in the past would still get something new by taking the course again, she said.

“The questions that might come up in a different time or session might be different based on the current events of the day.”

Last year, she noted, the class was held around the same time as the Jan. 29 pileups on Interstate 75 that left 11 people dead and dozens injured. Almost every question directed to the fire rescue department had to do with the incident, believed to be the deadliest series of crashes ever on a Florida highway.

Each class will be on a Monday, and will take about half a day to complete. Those who attend at least five of the classes will get a certificate of completion. Those interested can register at

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