City seeks volunteers for weed clean-up event while battling staffing shortage
EL PASO, Texas– Monsoon season brings rains to the Borderland, but the weeds that are left have some city workers strained.
With several vacancies, the city is turning to a clean-up effort that serves as volunteer hours for high schoolers in the Borderland.
This week the city has come out with a plan to clear up some street medians with help from schools and non-profit organizations.
A weed clean-up event set to start this Saturday will bring volunteers together for a fundraising opportunity.
Nick Ybarra, an Assistant Director at the Environmental Services Department, said this will be a way to help beautify our streets while providing volunteer hours.
The city also offers an incentive for the school or non-profit organizations, with the most volunteers receiving $500 dollars.
With the city median crew down about 40 percent of their staff, he said in the last six weeks, they have been able to clean up 30 medians out of 300.
“We are doing our best to try to take care of as many medians as possible, we are doing what we can with the workforce that we have,” said Ybarra.
Meanwhile, parents are concerned about where their taxpayer money is going and if it is safe for their children.
“Should our kids be volunteering when we're paying that much money in taxes for the city, not even to take care of it?” said parent Berta Ramirez.
Ybarra said he ensures safety at the event, the city will be closing off the street between Saul Kleinfield and Bob Mitchell while volunteers work on the medians along Montwood.
“We will provide them gloves, the tools, racks, hoes, shovels. That way, they can assist with pulling the weeds, we are providing dumpsters nearby and containers so they can have somewhere to throw the weeds,” said Ybarra.
He also said the city will provide snacks and drinks.
Ybarra said they understand it is done by the City of El Paso, they are just providing a volunteer opportunity.
After this event, the city said it will be hosting multiple weed cleanup events throughout the community throughout the fall on various dates.