I read the headlines of the Courier last night "Crockett Council Says Go Forward With Trash Talks", and realized how grateful I am for our solid waste services in Crockett. I respect that as elected officials our City Council and Mayor are given a lot of responsibility to try to make a tight budget. As an elected official I too have to make some tough decisions that people do not always agree with, so I have respect whichever way you think you must go on this issue.
However, one of the joys that I have bragged about Crockett since I have lived here has been our excellent trash and recycling service. And I think that if we give that service up after all these years it will be giving up something that makes us unique.
When I moved here in 1995 with my family, we learned that our city required us to use clear plastic bags and we received a friendly reminder note left on our uncollected bag when we did not recycle. It did not take long to teach us to recycle and recycle we did. My extended family that lived in much bigger places at the time, could not believe what an efficient system we had and what a "green" city we were. I have often wondered if we were missing out by not highlighting these attributes when selling our community as a good place to live.
But it does not stop there, the "trash man", a term of endearment that we all use for the people that provide this service, got to know us and we got to know them. They would wait a moment when I was running out of the house with a bag of dirty diapers at the last moment and meet me halfway up the driveway with a smile. If a bag broke when a 5 years old was learning to carry the trash they would be patient and carry it off. Or later they would good naturedly tell my reluctant teenagers to get a move on when it was there job to carry the trash to the curb.
I have seen our recycling center, recycle more than just plastic, glass, metal and cardboard. Over the years I have heard presentations from the department directors from Buddy Robinson to Ray Fleming to scout groups and school children. It has been fascinating to learn that the city sells our crushed boxes in large compressed packages by the tons, that glass is separated and sold by color, that plastic bottles need to have the tops removed so that they will compress and that you can get a load of mulch made from our own recycled wood products. A tour is an excellent field trip to learn about taking care of our environment.
As Judge of the County Court at Law, I have lots of people in Court charged with misdemeanor offenses, many times they are placed on probation instead of going to jail. Part of probation is paying back the community and includes the completion of usually 40 to 80 hours of community service. Sometimes people have other jobs and sometimes they do not. The recycling center has always permitted people to work off their community service in separating items and doing other services. Recycling and working community service has not only helped our community it has also taught people to work. Later people have told me that doing the community service turned their lives around.
Recycling lives, teaching responsibility by making us use plastic bags, recognizing the city employees when they come to our curb, are all benefits of living in the City of Crockett and make things special here, and I really hope that it will continue.
Sarah Tunnell Clark