Townspeople long flummoxed by the enigmatic world of municipal government — or perhaps just frustrated at how their tax dollars are being spent — are being urged to sign up for a no-cost crash course in what makes Foxboro tick.
Dubbed “Citizen’s Academy/Municipal Government 101,” the six-week course is envisioned as a primer to help residents better understand how the town operates, establishes policy and raises revenue, among other things.
Coordinated by Marc Craig, the town’s human services director, the program is structured to provide insights into day-to-day operations, as well as the challenges and goals of each department. Participants also will learn how they can become more involved, either directly or indirectly, at the local government level.
“Most people either want to volunteer or want to get involved,” Craig said during a Tuesday night meeting with selectmen.
According to Craig, the first session will offer an overview of town government, including the role of Foxboro’s open town meeting. Subsequent classes will focus on administration, information technology and master plans; finance, budgeting and taxation; public safety; public works, planning and development and zoning; recreation, library and veterans services.
Town department heads will serve as instructors, he added.
Ultimately, Town Manager William Keegan said he hoped the program would serve as a continuous feeder system to provide future leadership.
“There is a real move afoot across the country to get more people engaged in local government,” Keegan said
As of Tuesday night, Craig said that 36 residents had already signed up for the six-week course, most under the age of 50 with a limited understanding of town government.
To keep weekly sessions both productive and manageable, Craig recommended that class sizes be capped at 50, but he noted that the program could be repeated every six months.
Citizens Academy will be held Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. from March 10 through April 28. The six sessions will be held at various locations including Town Hall, the McGinty Room at the Public Safety Building and the Senior Center.
Townspeople can register for the program at the senior center or online at: www.foxboroughma.gov.