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Still Waters: Government does work

Posted: Friday, Oct 5th, 2012

I, like most Americans, have griped about “government” over the years. It’s our free-speech right as U.S. citizens to blast off about government waste, the IQs or lack thereof among our elected officials and why they’re not doing something about the price of tea in China.

But where the rubber literally meets the road — city streets and county lanes — we often get what we pay for, and more.

Our local governments actually work quite well, and they are generally comprised of folks who are conscientious about their jobs. Many of our local elected officials get little or no pay at all, like our school boards. All of their time is donated.

Our local firefighters, too, receive very little compensation for going out to keep brush fires from spreading and house fires from taking everything a person owns. These guys and gals leave their work or their families to respond to calls at all hours and all temperatures.

Many of our government employees who are paid for their work are also on call at all hours, whether it is fixing a broken pipe or responding to a domestic violence call. The latter can often be a volatile situation where law enforcement officers risk their lives to keep the peace.

Not all civil service is as dramatic, but it is all essential. What about the gents who pick up the trash every week? What would we do without them?

Twice a year our local city offers free big-item pick up to help clean up the town and assist residents with spring and fall cleaning efforts. This fall I took the city up on its efforts, and yesterday morning city crews hauled off a loveseat that was probably older than they were and should have been residing at the regional landfill eons ago. I would not have been able to dispose of that piece of “furniture” myself. It was enough of a chore to drag it to the curb. I appreciated those guys who took it away to the landfill — for free.

Citizens like me too often forget to thank our governments for those kinds of services, the kinds of tax-funded jobs that make a difference in our lives …

… Like those gents who hauled off that ratty looking loveseat Thursday morning (my neighbors are VERY grateful, having looked at it all week by my curb.) The only ones who aren’t too happy about it are my four-leggeds who had used the loveseat for lounging.

… Like those guys whose thankless job is to haul off trash every week from the dumpsters behind our houses and businesses.

… Like those police officers who patrol the streets at 1 a.m.

… Like those mosquito control crews who are also out at 1 a.m. running fogging trucks.

… Like those blade operators who breathe the dust of our county roads so we can have a smoother ride.

… Like so many others who work hard every day to make our lives easier.

In this local realm, where the folks who work in “government” are people we know by name and family, we are getting our money’s worth — and more.

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