Ready and Resilient Counties: Prepare. Respond. Thrive.
National County Government Month (NCGM) is celebrated every April and provides an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective county programs and educate your community on county government. This year’s theme is Ready and Resilient Counties: Prepare. Respond. Thrive.
Traditionally, counties participate in NCGM by hosting a variety of community outreach events and activities. These include tours of county facilities, recognition ceremonies for county employees and volunteers, distribution of information about county programs and services, sponsoring student essay or art contests, meetings with business and community leaders, and adoption of resolutions. This year’s theme gives counties the opportunity to focus on how they prepare and respond to natural disasters and emergencies including public health and safety challenges.
As part of NCGM, sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo), you may want to prepare and distribute county fact sheets. Some counties roll out a “County Fact of the Day” or distribute fact sheets representing key county departments, such as public safety, parks and recreation, public works and health. Tell them things many residents do not know about county services, but need to know.
Send the fact sheets to the media, post them on the county website, and distribute via social media. Fact sheets can highlight county services and programs provided by your county:
EMERGENCY RESPONSE, PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE
How many trained emergency responders are employed by the county?
How many trained volunteer emergency responders serve the county?
How many emergency vehicles are owned by the county?
How many emergency calls were responded to last year?
How many bookings were processed at the county jail last year?
What is the daily average jail population?
What services are available at the public safety building such as arraignment courtrooms, judges’ chambers, and county attorney and public defender satellite offices?
What other jail support facilities are available at the public safety building such as laundry, kitchen, medical, training and materials storage?
How many patients were served last year at county hospitals and clinics?
How many health department inspections were conducted last year?
How many vaccinations were administered last year?
How many health care professionals are employed in the county?
How many emergency room visits were made last year?
How many bridges are owned and maintained by the county?
How many miles of roads and highways are owned and maintained by the county?
How many vehicles such as pavers, sweepers and snow plows are owned by the county?
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
How many children, senior citizens or veterans received county services last year?
How many residents received direct job training or unemployment services last year?
How many businesses have been added to the county, resulting in how many new jobs?
How many residents voted in the last election?
How many poll workers were deployed on Election Day?
What was the cost of running the last election?
As part of NCGM, the National Association of Counties recognizes counties “that sponsor outstanding public outreach programs about county government during the month of April.”
Hidalgo County was one six counties from across the country selected as a 2013 award winner; Hidalgo won second place in the Metropolitan Counties category, as publicized by NACo in their awards program coverage:
Program: Hidalgo County promoted several programs under the 2013 NCGM Smart Justice theme, including the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program, Veterans Treatment Court, and the county drug court program. Also, students were able to “shadow” court and district clerk staff performing their daily responsibilities and activities, and a district clerk open house was held.
Description: Hidalgo County promoted all events and activities via traditional and social media outlets, including sending a media advisory to invite television, radio and print media to each of the activities, promoting and covering each event and activity, and posting on the county website, Facebook and Twitter accounts. A press release was sent to all media outlets at the culmination of the month. The individual activities and NCGM month in general garnered positive media response and coverage. H