Fourth-graders at Northside Elementary got an education about local government at Waxahachie City Hall, when they took on the roles of city council members during a mock meeting Friday morning.
“I think that it is good for students to see how local government works because, with television you can find out about the state Legislature and find out about Congress,” city manager Paul Stevens said. “A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to find about how the local government works. So I think that it is great to expose the kids to this. I think that they did a fantastic job running the meeting.”
After the meeting was called to order, several city department heads presented reports or items for consideration. Decisions made by the mock council were nonbinding and for educational purposes only.
Director of environmental health, Sonny Wilson, addressed students.
“I would like to make a recommendation to the council about continuing the recycling program. It is important to manage our solid waste stream. If we can figure out ways to reduce our waste stream it will benefit everyone and recycling is the answer,” Wilson said. “If we don’t reduce we will run out of room in landfills. Recycling is one way to help our community and our future residents.”
Wilson said residents are furnished a recycling bin, which is collected once a week. Items accepted include newspapers, office paper and cans. The council approved the measure.
Director of utilities David Bailey discussed the water treatment process for the city, noting that the sources for its water are Lake Waxahachie and Bardwell Lake. He also explained the different materials used in the treatment process to make the water safe for consumption: aluminum sulfate, cationic polymer, chlorine, caustic soda, liquid ammonia sulfate and fluoride.
Director of parks and recreation John Smith reported about Getzendaner Park, which has been cleaned up after the recent storm damage. Smith said about 30 trees were lost citywide, one that looks to be have been around 300 years old. The parks department is considering an art project with the trunk of the tree.
City councilman Kevin Strength, who attended the event, said it was a good educational field trip to let students know if they have a problem or an idea they can bring it before the city and have it heard.
On Wednesday, community relations manager Amy Hollywood and city secretary Lori Saunders visited students at the school’s library and discussed proper meeting procedure and Roberts Rules of Order. Students were selected to serve on the council by a vote. At Northside there are six fourth-grade classes. In five of those classes the teachers each picked two candidates, which were voted on. In the sixth class the teacher selected who would serve as city secretary. The students on the council then picked who would serve as the mayor and mayor pro tem.
Bryan Mendez acted as the mayor pro tem and said he learned about environment from the different presentations. He said he also learned it’s important to listen to what other people have to say. Courtney Crownover took the role of the mayor and said it was a neat experience. Also serving on the council were Annabella Graham, Lillian Lawler and Camille Willett.
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