PBO 101 - Citizen's Academy


PBO 101 is a seven-week course designed to offer participants an educational and interactive learning experience on the workings of the Town government.

The curriculum will cover current Town programs, services, and procedures and offer an in-depth look at several Town departments, including Administration/Finance, Police, Planning/Downtown, Parks and Recreation, Engineering, Utilities/Public Works, Emergency Management, and the Governing Board. To ensure that participants have the chance to discuss and communicate with Town staff and leaders and participate in the practical exercises, the class size is limited to 12 participants.

Senior Town staff will lead each session at the Town Offices at Main Street Station (287 East St) from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The final session will consist of dinner and conversation in small groups with the Town’s Commissioners. The time and location of the final session will be communicated to participants during the academy.

Requirements to Participate

  • Participants must be 18 years of age, or older, on or before the first day of classes,
  • Participants must complete the written application/registration form and submit the completed document to the Town, and
  • Participants must sign a waiver of liability on or before the first day of class.

Registration Priorities

Approval for applicants to participate in the PBO 101 course are prioritized based on the following priority schedule:

  1. Residents and Business Owners within the Town's Corporate Limits.
  2. Residents and Business Owners outside of the Town's Corporate Limits BUT within the Town's Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ).
  3. Residents and Business Owners outside of the Town's Corporate Limits and ETJ BUT within Chatham County.
  4. All other participants.

Graduation Requirements

To successfully complete the program and receive a graduation certificate, participants must attend and participate in 6 out of 7 classes. If participants miss one or more courses preventing them from reaching the graduation requirements, they will be allowed to make up the courses in future offerings (if there is available room).


All PBO 101 classes will occur on Thursdays, with classes only being moved if the class date falls on a holiday, due to inclement weather, or other scheduling conflicts. The schedule is as follows:

October 5th, 2023 – Administration and Finance

  • Participants will learn how local governments manage general administration, human resources, and finance/budgeting.
  • Practical Exercise – Students will be able to participate in a tough budgeting exercise to experience the decision-making processes that go into deciding how programs/positions/expenditures are prioritized.

October 12th, 2023 – Police Department

  • Participants will learn about the responsibilities of municipal law enforcement agencies, local law enforcement statistics, and the specific programs and services offered to Pittsboro residents and business owners by the Pittsboro Police Department.
  • Practical Exercise – Participants will have the opportunity to explore police equipment, law enforcement vehicles, get a demonstration of speed measuring devices, and have small group discussions with our Police Officers.

October 19th, 2023 – Planning/Downtown

  • Participants will learn about the basics of the Planning and Downtown departments, including the basics of land use planning and the utility of requiring permitting, the functions of the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment, and the programs offered by the Downtown Department, including the Downtown Advisory Board.
  • Practical Exercise – Participants will explore the complexities of land use planning and permitting by completing a mock planning board meeting, complete with documents and roleplaying various roles.

October 26th, 2023 – Emergency Management and Public Affairs

  • Participants will learn about the programs and activities undertaken by the Town to prevent and prepare for emergency and disaster situations and learn about the natural, technological/accidental, and man-made hazards faced by the Town of Pittsboro and focus on actions taken at the personal and household/business level to become disaster resilient.
  • Practical Exercise – Participants will perform roles as part of an Incident Management Team for the Town and respond to a disaster event impacting the Town.

November 2nd, 2023 – Engineering, Utilities, and Public Works

  • Participants will learn about the infrastructure managed or facilitated by the Town of Pittsboro, including water, sewer, transportation, sidewalks, etc., and the capital improvement projects ongoing and planned across the Town. This will also allow participants to learn about the merger with the City of Sanford.
  • Practical Exercise – Participants will have the opportunity to provide input on the Town’s Infrastructure needs and perform a basic engineering review of a proposed subdivision to determine if plans meet the Town's requirements. Participants will also receive a tour of the Water Plant.
  • Note – Closed-toed shoes will be required to tour the facility. Any additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided by the Town.

November 9th, 2023 – Parks and Recreation

  • Participants will learn about general parks and recreation management before taking a “deep dive” into the parks located in the Town, recreation opportunities (self-driven and organized), and the functions of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
  • Practical Exercise: Participants will receive a guided tour of the Town’s parks by Town staff and can provide input on the Parks Master Plan.

November 16th, 2023 – Governing Board

  • Participants will explore the legal and practical frameworks for governing boards in North Carolina, including the types and purposes of meetings, the makeup of the Board, and the requirements to serve. Participants will also be exposed, either for the first time or again, to the various Boards and Advisory groups in which they can participate.
  • Practical Exercise – Participants will join the Board for dinner and conversation in small groups to allow for discussion about what was learned throughout the PBO 101 course and allow participants to share their thoughts on Town-related topics.

1 - Please note that scheduled classes might change dates based on staff availability.

2 - Please note that specific discussion topics or practical exercises might change slightly, but the content will generally remain the same.