The city of Waxahachie is now taking applications for the new Waxahachie 101 class that will start in January. The monthly class will provide people with insight about how local government works by visiting different city departments and meeting with department heads.

“The Waxahachie 101 program was developed in 2009 to promote a better understanding of local city government,” said Amy Hollywood, the city’s spokeswoman. “The purpose is to help residents gain an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the city council and city staff, and become more aware of the departments, programs and activities.”

Waxahachie 101 is open not just to city residents but all residents of Ellis County. Students have to be 18 years of age or older and have to be able to commit to attend the classes on a regular basis. There is no cost to participate. Only 25 seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We have had almost 100 people that have gone through the class so far. We have had people that have gone through the class and really have gotten involved in the community as a result,” Hollywood said. “It has not just been a tool for them to learn how the city government works, but also to network and get plugged in with certain organizations that they are interested in. We have three former participants that have gone on to serve on boards and commissions.”

Resident Bonney Ramsey was a part of the city’s first Waxahachie 101 class that was held in 2009. Ramsey, who has been a resident since 1977 and a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, said the class was a great opportunity to gain knowledge about how local government works.

“I felt like that it was a great opportunity to get to know about other departments involving the city. I wanted to learn more about the inner workings of our city government and how everything is run,” Ramsey said. “I took away a lot of knowledge of how the city is run. We went out to the water treatment plant, which was so fascinating. We learned about human resources. We heard about the financial part of the city. I learned things about the city that I might not otherwise have had an opportunity to learn.”

Ramsey added this is a class that every person needs to be apart of and encourages people to sign up for it.

The first class starts at 8 a.m. Jan. 8 in the city council chambers at city hall. A light breakfast will be provided to students. Each month, students will learn about a different department and the role it plays in the city. The class will end with an appreciation luncheon in December. Apart from city departments, class members will get the chance to visit with members of the Waxahachie Independent School District and find about their role in educating youth in the city.

The Waxahachie 101 class topics include:

January – General city overview

February – Finance, human resources

March – Public works, building and community services

April – Water and utilities department

May –Police department

June – Civic center and sports complex

July – Economic development

August – City Planning

September – Communications and marketing, downtown development

October – Fire department

November – Public education with WISD

December – Appreciation luncheon

For questions about the program, or to register, contact Hollywood at ahollywood@waxahachie.com. Those interested in enrolling can do so at city hall.