An interesting week, because it was routine

Our City
by A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia

Last week was an interesting week. Not that most aren’t. It was interesting to me because it was routine.

Looking back on the nearly five years I have been mayor I don’t remember many where everything went pretty much as planned, where nothing beyond normal meetings and signatures on various items required my immediate intervention. For the longest time city clerk Robyn Herndon would tell me, “Oh, things will slow down when this project is over.” Well, it seems that there has always been a project of sorts to keep everyone at the city on the hop.

Knowing what is on the city’s calendar leads me to believe this last week of routine is only the calm before the storm as we enter into mid spring and full project mode in all departments.

One of the few things I really don’t like about the responsibilities of being mayor is the monthly routine of approving the water service shut off list. I remember being on that list shortly after we moved here in 1990. We had all sorts of bills associated with the move plus we were trying to get from under the medical payments that piled up from our daughter Leona’s extensive stay at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. It was difficult figuring out what to pay and still keep all those we owed money to from turning us over to collections.

Somehow we managed; that’s what folks do in those situations, they manage as best they can to make ends meet. And yes, sometimes they come up short. So, I empathize with those who find themselves on the monthly shut off list; but I further understand the obligation I have to my elected position, although that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

We had a person come into city hall this week who had been shut off that same day. They had no idea why as they had paid every city bill they had ever received. They went so far as to bring all their years of receipted payments into city hall. They were all the old postcard stubs.

It turns out this person had no idea the city had changed billing methods. The envelopes containing their new bill format found their way into the garbage never having been opened. We thought this might happen to a few folks as some are prone to throw things away they don’t recognize. Anyway, the person promptly paid in full, apologies on both sides were exchanged and water was turned back on. I guess getting used to a routine is only good up to a certain point. That is one of the things I like best about my job as mayor; it is seldom routine.

Those of you on city services received your monthly bill this week. It too was different than those you have received in the previous few months as it contained two sheets of paper. One sheet was your monthly bill. The other contained information on the city’s sewer flushing schedule that may affect you depending on where you live. It also included a schedule for the annual spring cleanup of all our alleyways. The information includes instructions on how to specifically prepare for both. The ability to pass on this additional information was the reason the city changed billing formats. Although notices are printed in The Power County Press, not all residents receive the paper and some of those who do may as a matter of routine not read the public notices; so we chose to change formats hoping that everyone would get the information they need to stay current on the services that directly affect them.

The first bill you received in the new letter/envelope format did really happen as planned. It turns out the new machine that was purchased to fold, stuff and place postage on the bills came to us broken. That month of bills was completely hand folded and prepared for delivery. This last week the bills went out without a hitch; they too may become routine once again for everyone associated with delivering and receiving them. In that sense routine like this last week ain’t all bad.

Until next week…

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