Annual Class Develops Informed and Involved Citizens
Decatur 101, a program designed to develop informed and involved citizens, is held in late February – early April every year. Classes run for seven weeks. During six of the classes participants learn how the City of Decatur works, who does what, and how they can make a difference. The 7th class is presented by City Schools of Decatur.
The program also includes a Smart Growth Walking Tour for both classes on one Saturday in March. Classes are held on Thursdays in various city buildings and the school session is held in one of the school facilities.
Topics covered by the city include history, development, budget, police and fire, emergency management, personnel, volunteer opportunities, quality of life, active living, and more.
The morning class is 10 a.m.-noon and the evening class is 7-9 p.m., with tours of various city buildings at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The program is free and open to the first 40 applicants.
If you are interested in the current class or would like to be wait-listed for next year, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-553-6512. Be sure to include your mailing address along with your name, phone number, email address, and preference of morning or evening class.
Decatur 101 Graduates
Classes are held on Thursdays and consist of seven two-hour classes – one in the morning from 10 a.m. – 12 noon and one in the evening 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Six classes focus on specific areas of government and one class focuses on City Schools of Decatur. Sessions are conducted in various city buildings including the police department, public works, city hall and recreation center. Classes are limited to 40 participants.
Welcome from the Mayor, introductions/overview, history of the city, form of government, role of the city manager, city limits, logo and branding, and discussion of scavenger hunt answers.
Planning & Economic Development
Discussion about Decatur’s “gradual” vs “overnight” success, the importance and value of plans and public process, bond projects and capital planning, overview of volunteer boards and commissions including the Decatur Downtown Development Authority, Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic Preservation Commission, and Decatur Housing Authority.
Emergency Management, Police & Fire
Overview of police, fire and emergency management, and special events/film permits. Interactive session ties all of these together.
Vision Based Budgeting, taxes, millage rates, revenue, accounting, personnel, surveys, performance measurements – all of the “behind the scenes” work that ensures the city runs smoothly. Interactive 100 Pennies Budget Exercise.
Find out the ins and outs of public works including sanitation, recycling, permits, stormwater, traffic calming, trees, and more. Interactive sessions include “speed dating” with Design, Environment & Construction and help create solutions to “real life” issues in public works.
Quality of Life
Hear about Active Living, Children & Youth Services, Lifelong Community and Better Together Community Action Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Engagement. Create your six word story about Decatur.
City Schools of Decatur
City Schools of Decatur plans, implements and hosts this session.
In the years Decatur 101 classes have been offered, many graduates have:
- Run for office
- Served on volunteer boards and commissions
- Volunteered to help with festivals and other local events and activities
- Activated a neighborhood organization complete with newsletter and website
- Helped with subsequent Decatur 101 classes
- Participated in the Citizens Public Safety Academy
- Participated in budget focus groups
- Participated in the strategic planning process as participants and facilitators
- And much, much more
Decatur 101 classes begin in late February and run through early April. If you would like to attend, or have questions, contact:
What Participants Say
Here's what Decatur 101 graduates say about their experiences in the program: "The most fun I have had in a learning environment since my second year of law school." . . . "We now know the city listens as well as how to make our voices heard." . . . "Thank you for quality city leadership and a quality course." . . . "Every city should have this kind of program." . . . "Decatur 101 exceeded my expectations. I will include it on my resume." . . . "It was awesome. It makes it a lot easier to write that tax check."
Decatur 101 Encore
Decatur 101 Encore are special classes held in the fall and open to any graduate of any Decatur 101 class. Topics delve deeper into issues or cover new information, departments, activities created after the Decatur 101 classes ended.
Decatur 101 Encore was created as a result of multiple evaluations stating that participants wanted a chance to learn more about issues that there wasn’t time to cover in the general classes and a chance to interact with other Decatur 101 graduates.
For information about Decatur 101 Encore contact Linda Harris, 678-553-6512, email@example.com.