One of the interesting aspects of my job is gaining an understanding of how municipal government works and learning about all of the hard work that goes into keeping a city going. Small city offices generally have at the bare minimum a city clerk and city collector. The duties of these positions entails so much more than the public sees. It can be easy to take for granted the services offered by our cities. Clean water, lighted streets and a safe community are just a few of the things managed by cities.
I interviewed the Lowry City Clerk Lisa Snethen and Stephanie Roberts who is the Lowry City collector. “What does a city clerk do?” I asked Lisa.
“I get everything ready for the city council meeting, as well as take minutes for the council. I write the resolutions and ordinances, sometimes editing what others have given me. I also handle city permits and licenses as well as the financial statements and the budget.”
Lisa Snethen became the city clerk after seeing a facebook post stating the position was open. When I asked her what she liked most about her job, she was quick to reply “my coworkers”.
When I asked Lisa and Stephanie what it was the public does not see, the answers surprised me. They said that they were not sure that everyone realized that the monthly city council meeting was public or that the office, being government, was transparent as well. “They don’t understand that they can come in and ask to see the city’s ordinances.” Stephanie said.
I started to ask Stephanie what the most challenging thing about her job was, but interrupted my own line of questioning. “I bet water shut-off day is the most challenging, isn’t it”, I said.
She nodded in agreement, then said “People don’t understand what we do with the money. They don’t understand that as well as providing necessary utilities, we have to pay the city’s bills. So much more goes into a city than meets the eye.”
Municipal governments do so much to nurture our communities and provide essential services like clean water. Often city employees go above and beyond to help our communities continue to move in a positive direction. Next time you are in to pay a water bill or pick up a permit- take a minute to say “thank you”.