North Augusta City Council was joined on stage during its meeting Nov. 5 by local high school students for the annual youth appreciation night.
Students from North Augusta High School were chosen by the Optimist Club to represent each council member. The students spent a day visiting city departments, including water works, public safety and utilities.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said 17-year-old Sean Daniels. “We got to explore all around.”
Daniel Pippen, a senior at North Augusta High, was the surrogate mayor for the project. As is tradition, he spoke at the reception.
The aspiring politician said he had learned a lot about government through the program. He said it was important to see that the people involved in city government are just like the people they serve.
“Most people see governments as robots,” he said. “But at the municipal level, there are real people behind each decision. People who work really hard. People you can talk to.”
Pippen’s mother, Donna, said she thought it was a wonderful program that encourages young people to get involved with their local government. She said they are the next leaders in North Augusta and a program like this helps them become passionate leaders.
Hannah Wilcher, 17, said she has wanted to be a police officer her whole life. She said the experience of seeing who she could potentially be working for was enlightening.
“As a police officer, you run underneath the city,” she said. “It was fun being able to understand what goes on.”
During its meeting, the council passed an amendment of the business license ordinance, which Mayor Lark Jones described as “just cleaning things up.”
Custom light fees, the proposed annual consolidated budget for next year, the fire protection rate ordinance and the water rate adjustment ordinance were all passed on their second reading.
If they pass a third reading on Monday, they will go into effect as of Jan. 1.