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New Kid's View

Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.

South Milwaukee Street Department…I Think it’s L-O-V-E

South Milwaukee Street Department, taxes, repair

(Following is a contribution from a guest blogger. Her identity is undisclosed to preserve her marriage.)
I’ve had a crush on the South Milwaukee Street Department for some time.
My heart speeds up a bit when I see the street sweepers keeping the streets so spotless those visiting us from other suburbs profess their envy. And be still my heart when the plows make it possible for me to get from point A to point B almost regardless of the weather.
I’ve often cast coy glances at the wood chipper that reduces mounds of branches to mulch…it’s sooo strong! I’m downright thrilled to see the garbage and recycling trucks come around each week.
When I see the “Monday Pick Up on Friday” signs out, I’m torn between disappointment that I won’t see them at our regular time and swooning at the consideration of having so many reminders thoughtfully placed on the major thoroughfares.
I've kept my crush secret...until now. After last week, though, I don’t think I can continue to harbor my crush in silence. I now feel compelled to openly profess the depth of my feelings.
The chain of events that has so moved me began last winter when a water main broke under the street in front of my neighbor’s house. Within hours and through the night street department personnel and equipment worked to fix the break and repair the damage to the street.
With warmer weather, ice that had formed under the street during the main break melted and last week a manhole-sized pit appeared in the repaired asphalt. I called the Street Department and reported it.
Within hours, cones were up so no one would lose a wheel in it, and the next day workers and equipment were back to restore Mother Nature’s dismantling of the street.
Looking at the shiny new patch of asphalt, I can’t help but think of what a hassle it would have been if no South Milwaukee Street Department had been there to call, and I had to hire a private contractor to fix the hole.
I would have to contact companies to submit bids. I, or someone, would have to be available to meet with company representatives and try to make sense of the work they detailed and their pricing of it. Each company would have to be researched…references checked, the Better Business Bureau contacted, company reviews Googled. There would likely be some lag time while scheduling was worked out.
Then after the work was completed, someone…likely someone like me with no expertise to do so…would have to sign off on the job as satisfactorily completed.
Probably in advance of all this, there would be some discussion about who was responsible…my neighbors, because the hole was in front of their house…me, because that patch of road is the natural route to parking in front of my house…everyone who uses the road?
As I compared the time and financial resources it would take to get that hole repaired on my own with the speed and ease of the Street Department’s repair, my crush became deep and abiding affection.
Truth in advertising, I consider paying taxes as a patriotic act and I appreciate the work done with that money on my behalf. When I consider the range of services my taxes provide…a military is maintained, help arrives in the wake of disasters, children are educated, drinkable water is provided, libraries lend books, buses run, fires and crimes are fought, and streets and highways are constructed and maintained, and so much more.
In short, a civil society and an “American way of life” is built and sustained with a relatively modest contribution from me…I’m kinda proud.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not volunteering to make additional tax “donations" beyond the share determined by my income, my property and my spending, and it gets my hackles up to see wasteful spending (such as when private companies get no-bid government contracts and take a notable cut of my taxes to make their CEOs and shareholders rich).
But as I’ve paid closer attention to local government in recent years I’ve seen far less wastefulness and frivolity than I’ve seen first hand in the private sector.
The South Milwaukee Street Department’s work last week reminded me of what a deal I get for the taxes I pay. And now that I think about it, I think my love affair is with my entire country.
Oh...don't be sad South Milwaukee Street Department that I can't give you my whole heart...I still think you're pretty great for the many ways they keep South Milwaukee moving.

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