Loudoun County has been recognized with several Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs in a number of categories that reflect the wide variety of services counties provide. In addition, the county’s Busy Buddies program received the highest level of recognition with a Best in Category award for the Volunteers Category. Loudoun’s award-winning programs are:
The Loudoun County Department of Animal Services launched the Busy Buddies program to meet the challenge caused by the increased number of dogs arriving at the shelter in need of additional medical and/or behavioral intervention prior to adoption. The volunteer-driven, in-kennel enrichment program was created to reduce stress in dogs, which has been linked to behavioral decline, increased rates of contagious disease and euthanasia. As a result, over the past four years, euthanasia has dropped 21%, disease outbreaks have dropped by 60% and the length of stay at the shelter has dropped by nine days. The program has since been expanded to provide enrichment for animals of all species needing temporary refuge at Loudoun County Animal Services. This program won NACo’s Best in Category award in the Volunteer Category.
Center for Fitness, Wellness and Support Services
The Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System created the Center for Fitness, Wellness and Support Services to help firefighters meet the physical and psychological demands they face on the job. The center is part of a holistic wellness strategy managed by a “centralized, structured and data-driven approach” to improve firefighter health, occupational readiness and career sustainability. The facility’s staff includes a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a behavioral health coordinator. The center, which includes a weight room, cardio studio, mobility/yoga area and classroom, is designed to reduce injuries and related costs and improve resiliency and longevity for the county’s first responders.
Rural Business Uses in Loudoun County
As part of the county’s response to a growing rural economy, the Loudoun County government created a series of easy-to-understand, step-by-step guides to help entrepreneurs interested in starting an agricultural or rural-based business in the county. Part of the challenge in explaining the rural business application process is that there are 18 separate rural business types defined in the Revised 1993 Loudoun County Zoning Ordinance, ranging from equestrian facilities to overnight lodging, craft beverage production to farm markets. Through a collaborative process involving many county departments, a series of guides was produced that translate the zoning code language into plain language that a lay person can understand. The guides have created improved understanding among the community as well as the many county government departments involved in rural business applications, leading to a reduction in the number of issues in the processing of new applications for rural businesses. Guides for each approved rural use are available at LoudounRuralBiz.org
More information about the National Association of Counties and the NACo Achievement Award Program is online at www.naco.org.
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