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By John Kefalas
Spring is approaching, the days are getting longer, and it is a good time to think about opportunities that connect our community and our county. These connections are important because the mission of Larimer County government is to “uphold and advance the community’s health, safety, well-being and quality of life,” and we can effectively represent this mission only with the active participation of our community. Our six guiding principles provide a solid foundation for the work we do. The principles include being good stewards of public resources, providing consistent quality customer service, empowering people to take responsibility, and cultivating inclusive and collaborative partnerships.
In alignment with these principles, here are a few opportunities to learn, volunteer, recognize community stewardship, and help our neighbors in need. First, we’re again offering Larimer County 101, our free 10-week class that introduces you to the variety of services Larimer County government provides each day from the folks who provide those services. LC101 offers an inside look at how the county operates through interactions with staff and elected officials. The class meets on Thursday nights, 6 pm to 8:30 pm, from March 23 through May 25 at various locations in Fort Collins and Loveland.
LC101 is an interactive experience. Participants tour county facilities such as the Landfill, Community Justice Alternatives, Alternative Sentencing, Horsetooth Information Center, and The Ranch at the Larimer County Fairgrounds. Participants learn about the county budget, elections, land use, public works, human services, public health, economic and workforce development, property taxes, the district attorney, the coroner, and much more. Register now, at https://www.larimer.gov/LC101. Class size is limited, and registration closes on February 28.
Second, Larimer County’s Boards and Commissions spring recruitment is underway, the deadline to apply is April 21. Boards and Commissions serve an important role in making recommendations to the county commissioners on various important matters like public health; equity, diversity, and inclusion; planning, extension, aging, open lands and parks, and workforce development. Learn more, view openings, and apply online at larimer.gov/boards. You can pick up an application at the Commissioners’ Office, 200 West Oak, Fort Collins, 2nd floor, or we can mail it to you.
Third, our environment and open spaces make Larimer County a special place. If you know someone or an organization that’s been a great environmental steward, nominate them for a 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award. The Board of Larimer County Commissioners and the Environmental and Science Advisory Board (ESAB) are accepting nominations. Both individuals and organizations are invited to participate. The deadline is March 26, and you can nominate online, at larimer.org/boards/environmental-and-science-advisory-board/awards/nominate.
The awards recognize individuals, organizations, businesses, and public agencies that engage in creative or outstanding environmental stewardship activities. These projects can be large or small, complex or simple, ongoing or one-time. Projects can be self-nominated or nominated by others. Visit the ESAB awards link for more information. larimer.gov/boards/environmental-and-science-advisory-board/awards.
To help our neighbors in need who may be struggling to pay for food and heating costs and who may need to supplement their job income, here are some county and state resources. With food assistance and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the temporarily increased payments end in March larimer.gov/humanservices/public-benefits/food-assistance-snap. The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP is accepting applications through April 30, larimer.gov/benefits/low-income-energy-assistance-program-leap. Many working families can receive the state and federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other child and work-support credits, getaheadcolorado.org/, haciaadelantecolorado.org/. Like I always say, we are all in this together. Have a good Colorado day!
John Kefalas is a Larimer County commissioner representing all of Larimer County.