By Lynette Sowell
My front porch
Once upon a time, there were lights along Highway 190 in Copperas Cove, fuzzy Christmas candy canes in red and white, shooting stars in white and blue. I seem to remember a poinsettia and perhaps a Christmas tree. Or maybe I’m imagining it.
Right after Thanksgiving, you would see city workers in a bucket truck making the rounds along 190 and even parts of Main Street and downtown, as they mounted the tall decorations on the light poles.
Time went on and the decorations disappeared one by one. Until the ones that were left were either broken or no longer fit to put up. The lights went away.
Also, once upon a time, the city, the EDC, and the chamber of commerce had an initiative called “the joint image campaign” in which all three would purchase things like Christmas lights for the city. Several years ago, the groups dissolved the joint image campaign and whatever funding was left, went back to the groups. I believe the city did purchase some lights which were installed at City Park at Christmas time, a good two or three years ago.
Why am I backtracking with this? Because sometimes we need to see where we’ve already been before we head out again.
Being the inquisitive person that I am, I decided to shop for commercial light displays such as the ones the city used to have. Christmas lights you mount on poles aren’t cheap, around $500 on the low end to as much as $1,000 per display on the higher end, ballpark figures, from what I recall the last time I window-shopped. They are tall, made to last, and I believe the newer ones are even more energy efficient.
For about $20,000, the city could have a nice little starter set of lights. Again, this is a ballpark figure.
So, where can we find $20,000?
When times are tight and a budget is just that – a budget, sometimes we need to get creative when finding a little extra cash to get something done.
Families can find that cash, most often in the form of spare change, in the laundry, inside couch cushions, on the floor of the van, the dish where Dad or Mom toss their keys at the end of the day, you name it.
I find it interesting that the city is presenting some creative funding sources at Tuesday’s city council meeting. The city has found savings in several annual certificate of obligation bond issuances, that it is asking the Copperas Cove city council to approve for some necessary items to include HVAC at the municipal court, the library, along with server purchases and upgrades for both the city and the police department. Also, the southwest water treatment project will also receive a funding boost.
Now, if it can find these hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund these necessary projects, how can the city find some “spare change” to bring a little cheer to the community?
This is a very small yet significant quality of life project. It would be something especially welcome right now.
Surely there is someone who could encourage the city to do this? Surely there is enough “spare change” in a fund somewhere that could be used to fund these small purchases? Is there a virtual “couch” that could be cleaned out, or a “washing machine” somewhere? Surely someone could check Hotel Occupancy Tax Funding, or the general fund for a few dollars. Surely $20,000 wouldn’t hurt any fund balance.
Maybe it is too late to purchase lights this year, but with enough planning and foresight, someone (hint, city council, hint!) could direct the city administration to find those funds and get started for next year and make things just a little bit lighter and brighter. All it will take is some spare change.