Learn how city works at school

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 6, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Residents interested in learning more about how the city works should enroll in its new Neighborhood College.

Classes for the seven-week course, which is being offered through the city’s Neighborhood Development Services Department, start Thursday, Sept. 4 and will be held each Thursday.

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The program is designed to help citizens become more familiar with the various city departments and services, said development coordinator Theresa A. Provost.

Students will also learn about services offered by other local and state agencies, including the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the Western Tidewater Regional Health Department, and the Department of Social Services.

&uot;We want the college to produce productive citizens who will become more effective civic leaders by promoting awareness and participation in city government,&uot; said Provost, program organizer. &uot;We’ll be opening the lines of communication by educating our citizens.

&uot;The college will let residents see who they need to contact for various issues; …it will put a face on city departments.&uot;

Weekly classes will focus on:

— Services offered through the courts, sheriff’s department and commonwealth’s attorney office;

— Services offered by treasurer’s office, commissioner of revenue, finance department, capital programs, and city assessor’s office;

— Services offered through public works and public utility departments. Topics to be covered include the relationship between the Virginia Department of Transportation and taxing districts; and details about various city services, such as mosquito control, recycling, street light installation, and street maintenance;

— Services/roles of the NDS, and the planning and economic development departments. Topics to be discussed include state building inspections safeguards, building codes and code enforcement in the city’s neighborhoods;

— Suffolk Public Schools and the parks and recreation and tourism departments will sponsor the fifth class;

— Public safety information, which will be provided by the representatives from the police and fire departments and the city’s Office of Emergency Services;

— Services offered by the social service and health departments and the SRHA.

Although most classes will be held in the council chambers at the Municipal Building, the group will take several &uot;field trips&uot; throughout the city, including tours of the Prentis Hoe city’s public works department; differences between the Suffolk and Nansemond use and the North Suffolk Public Safety Center, Provost said.

To register for the program, call Provost at 923-4724.