If the garbage is picked up on time, the streets are safe, and clean water is pouring from the faucet, residents may take for granted all the work and expertise that went into those city services. Residents rarely learn of the remarkable tasks local governments and city staff must accomplish every day to keep a city running smoothly. The Association's Municipal Achievement Awards bring attention to these accomplishments.
Every city has an award-worthy project to enter in to the Achievement Awards. It may just take a bit of collaboration to discover it.
The City of Sumter begins the Achievement Award conversation each year with senior staff from each department discussing programs and asking questions to get a feel for the potential entries. Communications Director Shelley Kile works with the senior staff to compile a list of programs and follows up with staff to gather the details.
"When I work with the staff one-on-one, most are so humble that they don't consider the program they are working on to be award winning," said Kile. "Our police department felt this way when we won the Achievement Award for Project CheckMate in 2015. They were 'just doing their jobs.'"
From the detailed list, Kile works with the city manager and mayor to make the final decision about which program to submit.
While cities and towns have many successful projects and programs, a municipality may choose only one to submit for the Achievement Awards.
The awards entry form is available online. The submission deadline for the 2017 awards program is February 15 for online and hand-delivered submissions. Mailed entries must be postmarked by February 15. The designated city contact person for each entry will receive a confirmation email by February 22.
Municipalities with a population of 20,000 or less can choose to compete in either a population or subject category. Municipalities with a population greater than 20,000 must compete in one of the five subject categories.
As part of the competition, cities participating in the subject categories must make an oral presentation to the judges on March 6 or 7 in Columbia at the Municipal Association's office. Association staff will assign presentation times after all entries are received.
The Association will recognize award winners at the Annual Meeting Awards Breakfast held in Hilton Head on July 22.
For more information regarding the 2017 Achievement Awards, contact Meredith Houck at 803.933.1215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 Achievement Award winners
Population 1-1,000: Town of Edisto Beach
Population 1,001-5,000: City of Isle of Palms
Population 5,001-10,000: City of Fountain Inn
Population 10,001-20,000: Town of Bluffton
Communications: Town of Mount Pleasant
Economic Development, Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award: City of Sumter
Public Safety: City of Anderson
Public Service: City of Florence
Public Works: City of Seneca