13 Innovative County Programs Receive National Recognition

Citrus County has received 13 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for our residents. 

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Each year, NACo’s Achievement Awards are given in 18 categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide.
The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health,
civic engagement and more. Launched in 1970, the program is designed to recognize innovation in county government. Each nominated
program is judged on its own merits and not against other applications.

“The Achievement Awards demonstrate excellence in county government and the commitment to serve our residents every day,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey. “This year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and collaborative efforts we have seen in over 50 years of presenting these awards.”

Congratulations to the following NACo 2024 Achievement Award winners: 

  • Citrus County Risk Management’s "Roadway to Safety" campaign is an initiative aimed at reducing risk by encouraging employees to actively report potential hazards. The program seeks to identify and address risks promptly, ensuring the safety of residents and employees.
  • Citrus County’s Building Division established a centralized, one-stop Customer Service Call Center to improve efficiency and streamline public interactions. The program aims to eliminate challenges and alleviate frustrations for both staff and customers.
  • “Citizenship at Your Library” is a program developed by the Citrus County Library System (CCLS) to provide free assistance to individuals working towards the Naturalization Interview process to become US citizens. Citizenship Toolkits and a comprehensive curriculum were developed to prepare learners for the interview process and provide instruction on civics.
  • “Fossil Programs at Your Library,” is an interactive science program focused on engaging children with fossils and prehistoric life. The Citrus County Library System (CCLS) collaborated with the Science Education Training and Support (SETS) Foundation to deliver these monthly programs, which are held across various libraries in the county and offer free, hands-on experiences for kids to excavate and identify fossils with the guidance of library staff and trained experts.
  • “Citrus County: In Focus” is a continuing series of monthly video updates on projects and initiatives underway in Citrus County. Each segment is released on the county’s Facebook page and YouTube channel
  • “Be a Smart Irrigator” campaign is an initiative led by the Office of Water Conservation to promote the use of WaterSense labeled controllers for landscape irrigation. The campaign informed and engaged the Citrus County community on the importance of responsible water use, encouraging smarter practices.
  • Parks & Rec Future Heroes Summer Camp offers youth the opportunity to explore various career paths. Developed by University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension Citrus County,  it provides a platform for youth to learn from and interact with experts in different fields, encouraging them to pursue and explore their passions.
  • Fire Services Run Book program was developed by the County's Systems Management team to empower Citrus Fire Rescue/EMS staff to troubleshoot and repair information technology (IT) equipment issues independently. This initiative has significantly improved operational efficiency and enhanced staff knowledge in handling technical challenges.
  • The Major Development StoryMap program utilizes innovative technology to track the real-time status of major development projects in Citrus County. It provides a guided tour of planning applications in progress, linking to the planning management system to display project details and locations as they evolve.
  • Citrus County Division of Housing Services’ Disaster Assistance Strategy was developed in the wake of Hurricane Idalia to address the critical needs of households affected by a declared disaster. The program focuses on providing timely assistance to disaster victims and fostering strong partnerships with non-profit organizations to aid in recovery efforts.
  • Citrus County Animal Services' (CCAS) Medical Pet Retention Program provides critical medical care to pets of families facing financial hardships, aiming to preserve the human-animal bond and prevent pet surrender to shelters. By partnering with local agencies and veterinary clinics, the program promotes responsible pet ownership and supports pet owners in need.
  • Citrus County Fire Rescue’s (CCFR) Community Paramedicine Program addresses the impacts of the opioid crisis by providing essential support to populations struggling with substance-use disorders. Through the inclusion of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), the program aims to enhance medical services and mental health expertise in the field. This initiative focuses on evidence-based addiction treatment, improved access to recovery support, and the distribution of harm reduction resources.
  • Citrus County Fire Rescue’s Fire Hose Recycling Initiative involves repurposing retired fire hoses to create sturdy animal beds for Citrus County Animal Services and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. This initiative promotes environmental sustainability by recycling materials while benefiting local animal welfare organizations.
County Administrator Steve Howard said, "I am excited about the announcement of Citrus County being awarded more than a dozen national achievement awards from NACo. The Board of County Commissioners and staff work tirelessly to implement best practices to provide excellence in public service to the citizens of Citrus County. This accomplishment recognizes the efficient, effective, and forward-thinking ideas and programs that exemplify Citrus County government and the work they do to assist our residents.”

County staff involved in these award-winning programs will be recognized at the regular Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, beginning at 1:00pm at 110 N Apopka Ave in Inverness. For more information about NACo’s Achievement Awards, visit the NACo website.