PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County residents have an opportunity to learn about local government and how it serves the community. 

Bay County and Gulf Coast State College are partnering together once again on the Citizens Academy. The 6-week course started today. It originated 20 years ago with the goal of educating people about all the different departments and services of local government. 

Participants get to tour places like Animal Control, Traffic Control, the gun range, and the water treatment plant. They’ll also learn how the county budgets and spends money. 

“I think it will help them to understand that we have to deal with basically silos of money,” said Bay County Chairman Tommy Hamm. “When they see this big, huge number for our budget you know, all of that money is just not to be spent at our discretion over how we want to spend it. It has to be spent in certain ways.”

The program went on hiatus for a few years because of Hurricane Michael and COVID-19, but it’s making a comeback. If you’re interested in registering for one of the future academies, click here.