It’s time to get the ball rolling

The summer is winding down with only five weeks left before the new school year begins and things in and around Brady kick back into high gear. The summer months have been a roller coaster at the City; we have experienced highs and lows and challenges that seem to come and go with each and every day. That’s what makes the world go ’round. Our most recent organized cleanup effort was postponed due to the conditions created at the landfill by our wetter-than-normal summer. With the summer months, there has also been a lull in the active attention to many of the topics that had great momentum when summer began. Most notably, working to get the town, and personal properties clean and free of everything from high weeds to junk and old cars. Several folks have asked me what is next in the efforts to continue our town cleanup. I have answered them simply by stating that the wheels are in motion to begin gearing up for enforcement of the rules and regulations we now have in place. I have personally had my hand and eyes on several properties in various places around Brady. I made a personal effort at the beginning of the summer to work with these individuals to get properties into compliance. One thing I have found since embarking on this quest to improve our city’s image is that it is going to take much more than a simple request that everyone follow the rules. Each person I have contacted and asked to come into compliance has resisted in one form or fashion. My guess is partly because our community has become so blas’ about what is acceptable and what is not that it (the community) has developed what some refer to as “the numb syndrome.” The numb syndrome is just that people have become numb to the goings on that happen on every corner, every block and every street in Brady. Problem areas have become so prevalent that citizens soon forget and believe that the exception has become the norm. My “test properties” were chosen at my own discretion, and I contacted each of them personally. Most, even if there was some resistance, were willing to admit that they needed to do better. Some did make efforts, and since that time, I have watched several of these same properties slip back into the same situations. I wrote early last spring about the term “voluntary compliance,” and so far, have given everyone equal opportunity to take advantage of things like a free dump day, and more recently a two-month time period for people to rid properties of brush, limbs and leaves at the landfill’for free. What baffles me most is the number of piles of leaves, limbs and brush that were never touched. I drive by them each and every day. Many have pickups in the driveways adjacent to them and even more have cropped up since the pecan trees have become heavy and limbs have broken in storms. I began to organize the brush and limb cleanup to give the public an opportunity to save a few dollars, and at the same time clean things up around town. What I now notice is that it appears that many people were waiting for someone else to do the work for them. I can’t help but think that all of the piles I see would have been gone a long time ago if there were rules prohibiting piling them up. But why make more rules’ We are still working on ones that are basic maintenance of junk, weeds and basic aesthetics. As one of the board members of the local Angel Food program, I have noticed in the past year that there is a growing attitude in our community that if it requires work or a little effort, it isn’t worth doing. I personally think our nation would be better served by virtually eliminating most of the public assistance programs starting tomorrow. The government should be there to lend a helping hand not offer a hand out. The mentality of expecting a handout has virtually taken over many aspects of our commmunity, but I refuse to let it strengthen its grip. We, as a community, have to stand up, roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty and quit relying on others to do our work for us. The City of Brady is here to offer help when and where it can. It is not here to do everything for its citizens’this includes picking up personal properties and making sure people take care of their own responsibilities. The times of informing people about voluntary compliance are drawing nigh. Soon, a list of problem areas will make its way to City Hall, and the wheels will be set in motion to make things happen. Someone gave me an idea not too long ago. They said they saw it used effectively in a West Texas town. Published weekly, it was simply called “Eyesore of the Week.” The basic premise of the idea was to name a particular property as the particular week’s “feature” property and include the address, the name of the owner and any other public information in the newspaper alongside a photo showing the readers just what the issues were. I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that extreme. Maybe if we put a little publicity on some of these areas, friends and family members might get the hint. Of course, for some, hints are a waste of time. For those, a simple formal letter mandating compliance will be in order. The opportunities are endless. But here is the problem’we, the city, would not have to spend our time and efforts enforcing the cleanup policies if we, as citizens, would stand up and take responsibility for what is ours. It’s time to set examples. First, clean up your own property. Then, knock on your neighbors’ doors, and introduce yourself and challenge them to begin taking pride in their community as well.’JS

Leave a Comment