Emma Tibbs is serving her second year of a two-year term as President of the Fayette County Neighborhood Council, an umbrella organization of neighborhood associations in the county. This group, which has qualified for 501(c)(3) status, is entirely a volunteer organization; there is no paid staff, no office, and no agency director.
Tibbs has taken this group, which represents neighborhoods of all types, and made it a positive community force. She has spoken to countless neighborhood associations, often at evening meetings, served on numerous committees that influence government decisions, and presented the neighborhood point of view to civic and government groups.
The established neighborhoods of Fayette County, urban and rural, rich and poor, have felt for many years that their needs were being ignored. Tibbs has started several new programs and activities since becoming President of the Neighborhood Council. As a result of her work, there is now a representative at most Urban County work sessions, where important legislative decisions are made. The Council also has representation on many government and quasi-government committees. Generally, this representative is Tibbs herself because she is willing and able to commit her time to understanding complex issues.
She has been successful in bringing neighborhood issues before the general public and before the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG). She initiated a Sewer Study completed by the Fayette County Neighborhood Council that provides documentation of the sanitary sewer overflows in Fayette County from 1993-98. The Kentucky Division of Water and the LFUCG are currently using this study to address the program of sanitary sewer overflows in Lexington. Under Tibbs’ leadership, the FCNC was able to convince the County Health Department to publish a pamphlet with instructions for safely cleaning up after sanitary sewer overflows.
Another example of Tibbs’ achievement is the institution of a Mediation Ordinance for the city of Lexington. This idea was first proposed in a presentation given at a citywide seminar for neighborhoods sponsored by FCNC. The city was receptive to its adoption, and Tibbs was a member of the committee that drafter the ordinance and hired the first mediator.
Tibbs was also instrumental in the formation of the Community Police Action Committee (C-PAC), a board of citizens, representing Council Districts, that fosters cooperation between citizens and the police. She has spearheaded two citywide seminars for neighborhoods. The first concerned itself with organizational problems facing neighborhoods and the second with the city’s storm water problems and possible solutions.
Tibbs’ input into the Herald Leader Community Section, which features neighborhoods and neighborhood problems and successes has insured that people all over the city and state are aware of the worthwhile activities of the neighborhood associations and their ability to affect solutions to problems. Hundreds of citizens have attended the Citizens’ Police Academy, one facet of C-PAC, and, as a result, are more knowledgeable about the department’s Community Policing Program. Mediation is available as an alternate solution to problems between neighborhoods and developers as a result of Tibbs’ work on the Mediation Ordinance.
Tibbs even found time to initiate a “Caring Neighbors” program whereby neighborhood associations are encouraged to provide services to their elderly and/or ill residents to let them know that their neighbors care. The services range from raking leaves, snow removal and prescription pickup.
To access more information about the Fayette County Neighborhood Council visit: http://community.kentucky.com/realcities/fcnc