“How are things going with the city?” This is a question posed to me daily. What are people really asking? How much do they really want to know? Do they want to know the details of the recent capital lease agreement for landfill equipment? Are they asking for specifics about the Sanitary Sewer Overflow Initiative Program? I don’t think so. What they are really asking is, “What’s happening in Stephenville that affects my life?” No problem. Talking about Stephenville is one of my favorite subjects.
So, how are things going with the city? You might say things are going pretty well if you used our streets to get around, had water come out of a faucet, and felt safe inside your home last night. The services we take for granted are made possible by the numerous departments and employees who are dedicated to our great city. At this time of Thanksgiving, it is important to give thanks to those who keep Stephenville running smoothly.
Our Community Services Department employs 23 full-time people, with additional part-time, seasonal employees. This department is responsible for our city parks and recreation, cemeteries, street maintenance and repair, library and senior center. Anyone who does yard work realizes the amount of work it takes to just keep up with the mowing. Add to that trees, flowers, restrooms, athletic fields, walking paths, and play equipment and we quickly realize that upkeep is much more than just cutting the grass every now and then. Multiply that by adding building maintenance, repair, construction, and it is easy to see that this work is not for the faint of heart.
Over 80 people comprise our police and fire departments. We have these brave men and women to thank for keeping us safe and responding quickly to an emergency situation. Part of what makes a community great and attractive is having an environment that people believe is safe and secure. We don’t always see them, but we know they are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
Twenty people make up our Utility Department. Every time water comes out of a faucet or a broken line is repaired, thank someone from this department. A person only needs to visit a country or city without proper water and sewage infrastructure to realize how fortunate we are to have clean water, and appropriate waste disposal.
Five people are employed in our Community Development Division. They are responsible for code enforcement, building inspections and future planning. We also have an additional 15 employees working in the areas of personnel, finance and administration.
Most citizens do not contemplate how many people it takes to make our city run. Others marvel that we do so much with a limited number of individuals. So, “How are things going with the city?” Many times I answer that with the question - “How do you think things are going with the city?” This response will generally end with a compliment. While we are working everyday to make improvements, it is important to remember that we also work very hard to maintain our current infrastructure and services.
While we are all celebrating Thanksgiving, pause and give thanks to those who provide for our city, even when we aren’t looking.
Nancy Hunter is the mayor of Stephenville. Her column appears on the fourth Sunday of every month.