One fine day in early April, I stood in my front yard and looked at our little neighborhood. I saw green, freshly mowed grass, trimmed shrubbery, and recently planted flowers. The driveways, sidewalks, and gutters were swept clean and (gasp) a trash bag at the curb. The wonderful young man who mows my lawn and several others had sensibly compacted thousands of oak leaves, grass, and shrubbery cuttings into one bag. The bag was so heavy I could not pick it up. It was the right day but several hours before the “specified time” of 6 p.m.
A week later I received a summons signed (rubber stamped?) by a judge ordering me to appear at the Municipal Court of the City of Missouri City on a certain day and time, for the offense of VCO: Trash Placement/Time. Attached to the summons was a complaint outlining the offense and listing me as defendant.
At the court I went to a clerk’s window to sign in. The clerk found my “file”. In the file was a large photo in glorious color showing my front yard and a trash bag. The clerk said there was a notation in the file indicating the violation had been corrected and that I could settle the matter by paying $89 or, I could appear before the judge and if I were found guilty, the fine would probably be $265. Of course, I paid the fine/fee/settlement! I assume that I am now a Guilty Code Violator with a rap sheet. The “Straight to Court” citation certainly made a dent to my pocketbook but as I looked at the long line of people going into the courtroom, I realized what a dent I was going to make in many families’ grocery budgets.
The spring issue of the “Official Publication of Missouri City” boasted that code enforcement officers have issued 578 citations for trash related violations since January 1. Do the math!
God Bless America – The Land of the Free!
• Editors Note: Not only is the city “raking” it in on trash fines, read what they are doing if you go to a church to see the pastor about a death in the family. See Bev’s Burner, page 3.