Begun in 1970, the annual National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Achievement Award Program is a non-competitive awards program which seeks to recognize innovative county government programs called County Model Programs. Created as a part of NACo’s New County, USA Campaign, the Achievement Award Program continues to embody the grassroots and local government energy the program was designed to promote. The main emphasis of the New County, USA campaign was to modernize and streamline county government and to increase its services to its citizens, goals that are still the main emphasis of the Achievement Award Program today.

County governments across the country, working alone and in cooperation with other governments at the municipal, state and national levels, continue to develop innovative and successful programs in a wide range of service areas, including arts and historic preservation, children and youth, community and economic development, corrections, county administration, emergency management, environmental protection, health, human services, libraries, parks and recreation, transportation, volunteers and much more. The Achievement Awards Program gives national recognition to county accomplishments, and has enabled NACo to build a storehouse of county success stories that can be passed on to other counties.

This year, Henrico County is proud to note that eight of its agencies and the division of schools have been recognized by NACo with sixteen Achievement Awards.


List of Award Winners

 

  • Community Corrections Program — Playing With Fire – A Timeline of Substance Abuse
  • Community Corrections Program — Restitution Monitoring Program
  • Finance — Local Government Bond School
  • Finance — Reengineering the Business License and Personal Property Tax Function
  • Fire — Division Recruit School Citizen Assistance Project
  • Fire — Division of Fire Bike Team
  • Human Resources — Henrico Executive Forum
  • Human Resources — Benefits Enrollment Using the Intranet
  • Human Resources — Volunteer Services Program – Language Bank
  • Mental Health and Retardation — Assertive Community Treatment
  • Police — Community Narcotics Task Force
  • Public Library — Get in the Game . . . at Your Library
  • Recreation and Parks — Museum in a Basket
  • Schools — Child Care Occupations
  • Schools — Parent Patrol Volunteers
  • Schools — Continuous Improvement Program
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    Playing With Fire — A Timeline of Substance Abuse

    Police and School officials wanted a credible substance abuse prevention tool to use in their intensified efforts to provide appropriate drug education at the middle school level. An interdepartmental, public-private partnership was created, which produced an innovative, professional 30-minute video designed to deliver alcohol and drug use prevention information to 11 to 14 year olds.

    Agency: Community Corrections Program

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    Restitution Monitoring Program

    With increasing demands on the County’s criminal justice agencies, procedures for victim restitution collection, monitoring and payment needed to be overhauled. An interagency task force worked with the County’s Finance staff to develop and implement a centralized monitoring system that facilitates offender payments and gives victims their restitution.

    Agency:Community Corrections Program

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    Local Government Bond School

    The County of Henrico hosted the region’s first Local Government Bond School, designed to better inform local government officials about the intricacies of municipal debt financing. Presentations were made by representatives from investment banking, financial advisors, state issuance authorities, rating agencies and bond counsel. The Local Government Bond School provided an opportunity to discuss questions and concerns about debt issuance with a panel of municipal debt professionals.

    Agency: Department of Finance

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    Reengineering the Business License and Personal Property Tax Function

    By combining the information collection process and filing dates for business licenses and business personal property, the amount of paperwork associated with the collection of return information was significantly reduced. Reductions were also realized in printing and mailing costs, processing time and required storage space.

    Agency: Department of Finance

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    Division Recruit School Citizen Assistance Project

    The Division Recruit School Citizen Assistance Project is basically a project involving people helping people in need. During each recruit school, an entire day is set aside when the schedule is made to assist a citizen(s) of Henrico County that may be in need. The entire recruit school and instructors are made available for just about any project needed with approval from the Fire Chief.

    Agency: Division of Fire

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    Division of Fire Bike Team

    The Division of Fire decided in 1998 to form a bicycle team as an additional method to deliver both fire and emergency services. This came in response to the increasing number of large venue, mass gathering events occurring in the jurisdiction. The 24 member team consists of firefighters and officers from the Division’s three shifts, each member having completed specialized training and orientation. The teams allow for greatly improved access and response time to both routine and emergency situations. Typical duties include safety inspections, pre-plans, general assistance and interaction with the public, routine first aid, fire or hazard control and paramedic-level emergency medical services.

    Agency: Division of Fire

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    The Henrico Executive Forum

    The County, partnering with Motorola, The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Pittston Company, created a forum for eighty corporate executives and top government officials to discuss the regional impact of the semiconductor industry. As part of the County’s business retention effort, this event actively promoted the business-government partnership essential for community success in a rapidly changing environment.

    Agency: Human Resources

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    Benefits Enrollment Using the Intranet

     

    The challenges of enrolling County employees in a new health care program demanded a new approach. The solution was to provide an automated benefit enrollment system that took advantage of the County’s recent investment in network infrastructure. Although enrollment via the intranet was voluntary, over 2,000 employees elected to do so.

    Agency: Human Resources

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    Volunteer Services Program – Language Bank

    Created in 1995, the Language Bank is composed of volunteers with skills in over twenty languages and dialects, including sign language. These volunteers help customers gain the services they need even if they cannot communicate in English. The Bank has also been tapped by other organizations in the community when they have had special translation/interpretation needs.

    Agency: Human Resources

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    Assertive Community Treatment

    After an extensive service review, the agency developed three assertive community treatment teams, using existing resources, to respond to the intensive needs of the most disabled adults experiencing serious, persistent long-term mental illness. Intensive case management, outreach, medical and psychiatric services and rehabilitation are provided 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

    Agency: Henrico Area Mental Health and Retardation Services

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    Community Narcotics Task Force

    This program provides a rapid response team of trained narcotics investigators to address complaints which, due to their threat to the community and public safety, require an immediate response. The program is unique in that its focus is a rapid and immediate response to narcotics problems compared to conventional methods that rely on long-term investigations. Since the inception of the program, there has been a sharp reduction in the number of active drug complaints and a high number of seizures of illegal narcotics and illegally obtained assets.

    Agency:Division of Police

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    Get in the Game . . . at Your Library

    The County of Henrico Public Library teamed up with the Richmond Braves
    baseball team to create an exciting summer reading partnership. Books, Braves
    and baseball were a winning combination in the 1998 summer reading program. A
    reward for the children who participated in the program was an event called
    “Library Night at the Diamond.” The event was a huge success as was the
    summer reading program which showed a dramatic increase in participation over
    the previous year. “Library Night at the Diamond” succeeded in raising the
    profile of the Library in the community while spotlighting books and reading for children.

    Agency: Public Library

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    Museum in a Basket

    Many citizens are unable to visit the Division’s many historical, educational and recreational programs on site. This historical traveling outreach program is designed to serve a diverse group of citizens, ranging from school age children to senior adults. The program has been enthusiastically received by teachers, librarians and school administrators and has spread throughout the County to recreation centers and even local businesses.

    Agency:Division of Recreation and Parks

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    Child Care Occupations

    The Child Care Occupations program provides a hands-on experience while offering an affordable morning and afternoon preschool situation for the community. High school students enrolled in the program are taught to become teachers through classroom instruction and work experience without ever leaving the campus. Preschool children experience activities in art, science, social studies and motor skill development.

    Agency:Henrico Public Schools

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    Parent Patrol Volunteers

    The Parent Patrol Volunteers program consists of over fifty volunteer parents who assist school administrators and police with monitoring crowds at athletic events, dances and other school events. Each volunteer is trained by police on what to look for and how to react. Volunteers watch, observe, witness and communicate and have been a valuable addition to security at school activities.

    Agency:Henrico Public Schools

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    Continuous Improvement Program

    Henrico Public Schools has made a dramatic commitment to employee growth and development that is producing positive results for students, staff and the county. Professional development activities target student achievement and support individual growth plans, individual school plans and the system’s plan. A culture of continuous improvement and professional development is now pervasive throughout the system.

    Agency:Henrico Public Schools

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    Visit the National Association of Counties’ Web site