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From the Sidelines: Double Oak Volunteers

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Double Oak was incorporated in 1974 with the idealism to support the town’s needs with volunteer labor and no property tax.  Long term residents will remember “Pot Hole Day”.  On Pot Hole Day, residents turned out with pickup trucks or wheelbarrows.  The town bought a big pile of pot hole repair mix and furnished the tamping tools and black liquid seal to coat the bottom of the holes.  

In the early ‘90’s when I started to participate I can testify that it was hard grubby work.  It was completed with lots of elbow grease and enthusiasm but we probably lacked the requisite skill set to do a quality job.  I do miss the comradery but not the labor.  Not only that, the roads deteriorated over time.  I remember when we rebuilt Oakview Drive it was so bad it had to be navigated slowly or risk losing an axle.  Now we hire professionals to fix our pot holes.  They do good work!

Dr. Chuck Bimmerlie is one of my volunteer heroes.  Not only did Chuck volunteer as Mayor back in the dim ages of the town, but for many years he took care of street signs.  He toured the town and observed signs that need repair or replacement.  He dug the holes, set the poles and did everything that was required.  Was that a great avocation for a PhD?  I remember Walter Gall used to paint the white lines on the streets.

Today, we have property taxes.  Granted, we pay less than in most of our neighboring towns but probably enough to upset our town founders.  Today our hero volunteers are led by our volunteer firefighters, our elected officials, boards and commissions and our wonderful Women’s Club.  It’s true that the town does provide some of the funds needed by the firefighters but they also do their own fundraising.  Their biggest event is the Fourth of July Parade.

Our elected officials normally fund the majority of their own election expenses and devote time every month in doing the work of the town.  The mayor spends time every day.  The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBOA) is like a court.  Whereas when the Planning and Zoning Commission decides on a case, they recommend action to Town Council who has the final say, the ZBOA makes a ruling.  If the Council doesn’t like it the only recourse is to go to District Court to get it overturned.  I have never seen that happen.  

The Investment Committee controls the town’s investments in conformance to the Public Funds Investment Act.  The Road and Drainage committee recommends investment in road and drainage construction and repair.  The town treasurer watches over the town finances and heads the Investment Committee.

This is just to serve as a sample of our current volunteers.  We have great folks that help with our landscaping.  The Women’s Club does too many things to list in a short article.  The point of all of this is for you, Double Oak Citizen, to GET INVOLVED!

It’s now town election season.  The mayor and two council members are up for election.  I normally recommend that candidates don’t use this as their first volunteer position but it is certainly legal and proper to do so.  I like it best when a member of the boards or committees stands for election because they already know what it takes to run the town.  They are effective from their first day on the job.  An election gets the juices flowing.  Candidates raise issues and stir up the voters.  It is a good thing in my opinion.  Is everything in town so perfect that you don’t need to get involved?

The next best thing is to volunteer for one of the many positions open today.  Our Treasurer (the author of this article) is retiring this year.  An alternate member to the ZBOA is needed today and other positions will be open in September.  We’re all busy.  But I have gotten real satisfaction in volunteering for the town for over twenty years.  Talk to a firefighter.  Talk about enthusiasm for the job!  These guys and gals train every week and our fire department is highly rated nationally.  

I strongly recommend that you get in touch with Charlotte Allen, our enthusiastic Town Secretary, to point you in the right direction for a really fun job.  It can be hard work but your fellow volunteers will become fast friends.  With this kind of job, if you don’t love it you can quit.  But I believe if you try it you’ll be hooked as I am.

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