Doesn’t the city pay someone to clean that up?

When I am recruiting volunteers for a community cleanup project, I am sometimes asked why the city employees are not cleaning up the litter/pruning the trail/removing graffiti. Which is a reasonable question, since most of us pay property taxes, either directly or indirectly.

The short answer is that the city does pay employees to keep our communities clean and beautiful. However, in most if not all cities, the number of park employees is determined by budget constraints, not by actual need.

For example, the Parks and Recreation Department of my city (Ogden, Utah) is responsible for maintaining 46 parks, 75 miles of trails, and public buildings. In addition, they manage several special events annually, including a large Christmas Village. Their workload has increased in recent years at a faster pace than the number of employees, due to a greatly increased homeless population (30% in just one year), special events, new trails, and business/residential development.

City employees could use a helping hand.

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