Dr. Malcolm Cross has devoted about 3,000 words over the past two weeks to his stance against Prop 1, and not one word offering a solution to the poverty and low wages plaguing Stephenville.
His most recent penning was reinforced with words like “opposition, opposed and object” because he doesn’t want any change. Dr. Cross wants you to know he is VERY opposed to Prop 1.
Based on his last two columns, I would say Dr. Cross is looking out for #1, which is much like the rest of us. He doesn’t want to pay more taxes and he doesn’t want the city involved in things that might increase his taxes.
But Stephenville has problems, and needs solutions. Should we listen to the well-educated voice of experience which says nay and his reasons as to why? I say no, let’s not just sit on our hands and accept the status quo.
The Stephenville Chamber of Commerce and Stephenville Economic Development Foundation have come out in favor of Prop 1. These organizations see a changing world where places such as Stephenville are going to have to create their own opportunities. We either start doing such or we fade away into a place referred to as, “a nice place to visit or retire, but you sure can’t make a living there.”
Monday’s announcement that FMC is again cutting its workforce is a sign we need to work harder than ever to bring job diversity to Stephenville. Layoffs can happen overnight, while economic development for Stephenville is going to take some time and it’s going to take some money.
The city of Stephenville has money in reserves to cover shortcomings and, of course, that will only go for so long before the financial scale starts to tip, but there appears to be a solution to some of those money questions.
It’s called turning trash into dollars. BIG DOLLARS.
While there’s no immediate way to accurately figure out how many tons of roofing and building materials are in need of disposal, it’s bound to be a very large number.
Now this is just a “guesstimation,” but there could easily be 2,500-5,500 roofs being replaced around Stephenville and the surrounding area. The average roof and materials associated with it can weigh up to 4-5 tons. With the Stephenville landfill charging $50 per ton that’s $200-250 per roof or anywhere from $500,000 to $1.4 million when you finish your math. Please bear in mind this is a very wide and rough estimate. If you can call this a “windfall,” it won’t be long lived.
But there may be some big money which can be used toward banking economic development, capital improvements (a new shredder could extend the life of the landfill for perhaps 100 years) or maybe even something different.
But wait, “What about filling up our landfill too fast?”
Did you know there is a machine out there that recycles shingles into material that can be used in asphalt paving?
The addition of recycled shingles to aggregate base, hot mix asphalt (HMA) and cold patch materials has been shown to increase pavement’s resistance to wear, increase pavement’s resistance to moisture, decrease deformation and rutting, and decrease thermal and fatigue cracking.
Yes, it’s an out-of-the-box idea where you charge $50 per ton to take in shingles and then turn around and make those shingles into a roadway in your town. Of course you have to have the money for the machine and a way to store and sell the material. It’s an idea that might get shot down due to costs etc, but it’s still a potential solution to an eventual problem and not a “NO” we can’t do this.
But, in my mind we need to start thinking out-of-the box, and the folks we entrust with getting this economic development under way need to think along the same lines. Problems don’t go away by saying “no,” ignoring them, doing nothing or suggesting somebody else will surely step in and handle them.
The potential solutions to solving some of the problems may not work for one reason or another, but problems are solved by doers who offer solutions and have the drive to fulfill them — not by those who say NO!
Russell Huffman is chief roust-about and step-and-fetch-it at The Flash Today. His previous work includes both print and broadcast journalism with awards from the Texas Press Association for news writing and photography. A former Army officer, Russell earned his commission through the Tarleton State University ROTC program. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole. To contact Russell, do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.