Charlotte County staff regularly attend or organize events that provide opportunities to interact with residents and share information about county services, facilities and policies. Staff from the Public Information Office attended last weekend’s Country Fest, where they showed clips of videos produced by the county’s government television station, CC-TV, and let people spin a prize wheel for filling out a programming survey. At more than two dozen events over the past several years, we’ve collected about 1,700 surveys to provide insights about CC-TV, such as what viewers like to watch, how they heard about the station and how often they watch.

Last week, staff gave presentations to participants in the city of Punta Gorda’s Citizens Academy program at the Public Safety Building. Staff from the Office of Emergency Management, Community Services and Administration covered topics including hurricane preparation, county operations, recreational facilities and programs and spring training.

Earlier this month, the Utilities Department conducted its latest facility tour. A dozen residents got a behind-the-scenes look at the West Port Water Reclamation Facility. They saw the treatment plant operators in action and learned about the transport, processing and disposal of biosolids.

One may not expect sewer plant tours to be a popular pastime, but we actually have to cap the number of people who can attend because the tours fill up fast. The department has conducted five tours so far this year, with two more scheduled next month. To find out about upcoming plant tours, email Caroline Wannall at Caroline.Wannall@CharlotteCountyFL.gov or call 941-764-4304.

One of the most popular outreach events, especially for families with young children, is Public Works Day, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 4 at 2605 Carmalita St., east of Punta Gorda.

The event features free food, drinks and prizes. Talk to staff about Public Works operations and opportunities to work in this dynamic department. Youngsters really enjoy seeing all the equipment our Public Works staff uses, including tractors, dump trucks, amphibious vehicles and the fan favorite Menzi Muck. This vehicle features four independently movable arms that allow it to travel challenging terrain to cut back vegetation, maintain drainage ditches and perform other tasks.

Participating in these events enables staff at all levels of the organization to interact with the people they serve, while gathering valuable information about how our programs and services impact residents and stakeholders. Keep an eye out in this paper, on social media and our website, CharlotteCountyFL.gov, for future opportunities to meet and talk to county employees.

Focus areasCounty commissioners last year streamlined their strategic focus areas from nine to four to improve “line of sight” in the organization. The focus areas cover infrastructure, economic and community development, public service and efficient and effective government. Everything county staff does in its day-to-day activities is to support the board’s overall strategy in those four areas. Administration established three cross-departmental task forces in response to the board’s priority setting: improving water quality, workforce development and affordable housing.

Over the next two months, the board will conduct a series of workshops to review the focus areas, receive staff updates and provide further guidance. The workshops, all set for 2 p.m. in Room 119 of the County Administration Center, are scheduled for May 14 and 21 and June 4 and 6. All four meetings are open to the public.

Ray Sandrock is the Charlotte County administrator. Readers may reach him at Raymond.Sandrock@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.

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