MEETING ‘MOMO’ – Visiting Street Department / Tour with Jennifer Jones, the Street Department Commisioner

The city street department employs 24 full time workers and 2 part time workers. They do many jobs to keep the city clean. We saw Jennifer Jones who is the Street Department Commissioner and asked about their jobs.


They have 7 trucks that handle 5500-6000 trash pickups per week in Shelbyville, IN. They run picking up every day. The citizens must place all their trash in garbage bags and in a trash can to be picked up. There is a limit to 10 bags of trash per house. All the trash is then taken to CGS in Morristown, IN. The biggest cost is definitely the dumping fee from Shelbyville Street Department to CGS in Morristown, IN. I thought we should try to reduce trash when I knew that. We should think again if it’s really necessary when we throw away trash. But I think it’s important to always consider if what we think we need is really necessary. CGS will pick up recycling for a fee (paper, plastics, metal, etc…). I believe this fee is around $50.00 a year. A citizen can also recycle and take to the local land fill in Shelby County at no cost.

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April to October through the summer time, they mow some City property and neglected properties. There are 24 areas of City property. A property is considered neglected if the grass grows 10 inches high or higher and the cost to the owner is $30-50 for each time. The Street Department will hire some part time people from May to August (sometimes also in October) depending on need. Yard waste truck pick up at homes starts in April to November every day. The City offers “free” mulch and planting soil. Rob Springer, Redevelopment Director was surprised to find out that. I asked, “What is mulch?” Rob laughed and said we will get me some for my garden. Anyone can stop by the City Street Department during working hours and pick up free mulch and planting soil. The nice employees will even help you load up your vehicle.

The street sweeper is like a vacuum and daily sweeps the streets to keep the gutters and storm drains clean of dirt and sand. During the winter the sand and salt that is put out to melt snow can build up and would block the storm drains if it were not for the street sweepers. Thank you Street Sweeper!

Another interesting project is the City Street and Sidewalk program. The city is working hard to repair all the local streets and sidewalks to make them safe and meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The city street department repairs many streets in the city and also citizens can sign up to have the city repair their sidewalks and only have to pay for materials. There can be a waiting list for this to be done. It was interesting to find out that homeowners are responsible for the sidewalks in front of their homes. It is nice that the city is willing to help repair if they can.


And it is interesting to learn about the challenge for removing snow and ice from the streets in the winter. This is very important and can be very expensive to the City. Jennifer Jones the Street Commissioner said that the city employees will often work all through the night to keep the streets clear of snow and safe.

The city street department currently uses sand and salt to spread on the streets when it snows. This can be very expensive and destructive to the streets and also the trucks and street department equipment. Jennifer Jones showed us the storage areas where the department keeps piles of sand and salt. Jennifer is seeking better and more cost effective ways to improve this process.

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The City Street Department also makes all the city street signs. We were told that the state is now requiring all the signs that currently have capital letters must now be changed to only the first letter being a capital letter and the rest of the letters being lower case. This is a big job to change all the signs in the city.


It is really interesting for me to find out some differences from Japan. Here, there are large yards everywhere and much snow for the winter time. And it’s also interesting to know that after Christmas they have one of the busiest times because they have to pick up many Christmas trees. My hometown, Shizuoka City doesn’t have them so we don’t have to think about those things. Instead of them we have to think about rust due to the sea breeze, earthquake, tsunami and so on. Different environments and cultures create different jobs, bothers, and ideas. That’s interesting!






その他の興味深い仕事が、市の道路と歩道のプロジェクトです。市では安全を保ち、Adults with Disabilities Act (ADA)の必要条件を満たすために、全ての道路と歩道の舗装に努めています。交通課では市の多くの道路を工事していますが、資材の費用を払い、順番を待てば市民が工事を頼むこともできます。家の前の歩道は、その家の所有者の管理下にあるということはとても驚きました。そして市が修理をすすんで手伝うのはとても良い事だと思いました。





What are your thoughts?