County services are an essential part of our daily lives, yet many of us may not fully understand the scope of their impact. National County Government Month is an excellent opportunity to celebrate and recognize the crucial role that county services play in our communities.
National County Government Month (NCGM), held each April, is an annual celebration of county government. Since 1991, the National Association of Counties (NACo) has encouraged counties to actively promote county roles and responsibilities in serving residents. Counties can schedule activities any time during the month. NCGM is an excellent opportunity for your county to highlight effective or innovative county programs and raise public awareness of services provided to the community.
This year’s National County Government Month theme is consistent with NACo President Denise Winfrey’s focus for the year, Counties RISE!
RISE! stands for Resiliency, Inclusion, Solvency and Empowerment – and the exclamation point speaks to the enthusiasm and passion with which we tell those stories. Counties are encouraged to reflect on this theme as you choose how to celebrate NCGM. (NACo, 2023)
One of the primary functions of county government is public safety. County law enforcement agencies work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, responding to emergency calls, and preventing and prosecuting crime. Counties also have emergency management departments that prepare and respond to natural disasters, such as landslides, floods, and wildfires. Without the dedicated efforts of these public servants, our communities would be much less secure.
Public health is another critical aspect of county government. Local health departments provide a range of services, including vaccinations, disease surveillance, and environmental health inspections. They also play a vital role in promoting healthy behaviors, such as exercise and proper nutrition. During the COVID-19 pandemic, county health departments have been on the front lines of the response, providing testing, contact tracing, and vaccine distribution.
Fair and transparent elections are essential to the functioning of our democracy, and county governments play a crucial role in administering them. County boards of elections oversee voter registration, polling place management, and ballot counting. They also ensure that election laws and regulations are followed and that every vote is counted. By participating in local elections and supporting county officials who prioritize fair and transparent elections, we can help to ensure that our democracy remains strong and vibrant.
Public works and infrastructure are other crucial components of county government. County public works departments are responsible for maintaining our roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure. They also oversee waste management, including recycling and trash collection. By investing in our infrastructure and keeping it well-maintained, county governments help to keep our communities connected and functioning smoothly.
There are many more functions of county government, and there are just as many ways that we can celebrate National County Government Month, showing our appreciation for county services.
One simple way is to take some time to reflect on the things we love about our county. It could be a local park that we enjoy visiting, a community event that we look forward to each year, or a local business that we support. While you’re out and about, be sure to take and share beautiful photos and videos highlighting what makes your county an amazing place to not just visit, but live! WAnder your county, discover, and find someplace new and unexpected! By sharing these things on social media or with our friends and family, we can help to build a sense of community pride and appreciation for our county.
Another way to celebrate is to get involved in local government. Attending county board meetings, participating in county events, volunteering for a local campaign, or running for office are all ways to make a positive impact on our communities. By working together with our county officials and fellow residents, we can help to shape the future of our county and make it an even better place to live.
County services play a vital role in our daily lives, and National County Government Month is an excellent opportunity to learn more about your county and recognize their importance. From public safety to public health, fair and transparent elections to public works, county governments are essential to keeping our communities safe, healthy, and connected. By celebrating our counties and getting involved in local government, we can help to create a stronger, more vibrant future for ourselves and future generations.