So many stories so little time! I’m thankful for the opportunity to tell you about what’s happening in Lake County and the plans for our County’s future. Your involvement is key and opinion valued.

Speaking of being involved. I want to tell you about the Lake County Citizen’s Academy.

Lake County Citizen’s Academy

Local government participation should not be conducted via your TV screen or computer screen on some blog or form of social media. Local government engagement is meant to be experienced in person and through participation.

Lake County and its Cities are working hard to promote economic development and diversify our economy. But we need your help. With respect to economic development, a diversity of thought and opinion based on facts will only help us grow and change for the better. We need to build our “social capital.”

Economic development is largely a human relationship based endeavor driven by growing “social capital.” Yes, “business decisions” are made during the vetting process based on profit loss statements and investors’ return on investment. However, the producers of a local economy such as manufacturing, agriculture, and the small business entrepreneurs, build wealth and grow in an environment that is productive, trustful, and with open, honest, communication.

One measure of an environment that builds social capital is participation in local government. Show me a community that is truly expanding its economic prosperity in measures such as salary growth and small business start-ups, and I will show you a community that is positively engaged in its local government.

The making of our society into a “virtual community” has some market place benefits but also presents a serious challenge to promoting a good environment for building social capital. Local government participation competes with media, entertainment, apathy, and understandably, the dwindling time we have with our families in modern society.

A particular danger arises when misinformation, negativity, and personal attacks become prevalent on websites, social media, and sometimes even in the conventional media. A community like Lake County may have the economic wind at its back, but if enough people see doom and gloom, the economy will stagnate or worse.

In our attempt to build social capital, the Lake County BCC is encouraging local government participation through its upcoming Citizens’ Academy. Some cities like Clermont also have a Citizens’ Academy.

A Citizens’ Academy differs from a Citizens’ Police Academy in that it encompasses a broad range of issues, not just public safety. If a resident or business owner participates in the Lake County Citizens’ Academy, they will be immersed in issues such as Budgeting, Code Enforcement, and Growth Management.

We need you! Diversifying our economy is not easy. Our greatest asset towards our aim is our people. Good social capital precedes any good economic development initiative. Stay tuned for upcoming information on the Lake County Citizens’ Academy.

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