Home rule in Florida is the principle that cities and counties have the power to govern themselves without prior approval from the state legislature. This power, granted by the Florida Constitution, gives local governments the flexibility to tailor their laws and policies to meet the unique needs of their communities.
City Government Week, a time for municipalities to provide and foster civic education, collaboration, volunteerism and more, is Oct. 16-22. The observance and essay contest are coordinated through the Florida League of the Cities, which has provided a united voice for the state’s municipal governments for more than 100 years.
Cities provide a higher level of service than most governments, and generally receive higher approval ratings than other levels of government. Yet, many residents are unaware of how city services impact their lives. Through Florida City Government Week, City of Atlantic Beach officials hope to increase awareness about city government's role in enhancing the quality of life in the community.
In addition to promoting the essay contest, the City of Atlantic Beach has a variety of City Government Week initiatives on tap to bring awareness to the role local government plays in residents’ lives. The observance also includes a mayoral proclamation; sharing educational videos for people of all ages from animated ones for the kids and how-to-get-involved videos for grown-ups; promoting the City’s priorities, vision, mission statement and values statement; educating the public about the FY 2023-24 budget; publishing employee spotlights; daily social media posts; and promoting the City’s social media platforms and other ways to stay informed and engaged.
About the “If I were mayor, I would …” essay contest
There are many benefits to school-aged children participating in an essay contest about what they would do if they were mayor. It encourages them to think critically about the challenges and opportunities facing their community; it helps them develop their writing skills; it teaches them the importance of leadership; it helps them feel more connected to their community and have a sense of civic responsibility; and it can help them imagine a better future for themselves and their community.
And, in this case, there’s money at stake. The first-place winner in the “If I were mayor” essay contest receives a $1,000 gift card, the second-place award is a $500 gift card, and the third-place award is a $250 gift card.
Essays will be judged by a Florida League of Mayors Board of Directors committee. The top three winners will also receive a joint resolution from the Florida League of Mayors and the Florida League of Cities, to be presented by their mayor at a council/commission meeting.
Essays are limited to 250 words; sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders may participate. Participants from Atlantic Beach are encouraged to send a copy of their essays directly to Mayor Ford, as well.
The contest rules and a link to the application are published here, and information about the City of Atlantic Beach’s observance of City Government Week also is available by emailing email@example.com or calling (904) 247-5804.
For information, visit www.coab.us/citygovernmentweek; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or call (904) 247-5804.