There are times when everyone wishes they had a magic wand to wave and make problems disappear. Metropolis has a lot of problems, which is why two city residents, Tish Lewis and Marla Mitchell, who are neighbors on Market Street, had set up an appointment with Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel. The meeting was not a special called city meeting of the Metropolis City Council.
Lewis and Mitchell shared on Facebook about their meeting with the mayor and encouraged other people to attend to voice their concerns.
And, yes they voiced their concerns and frustration. The big issues — the drug situation; the increase in crimes; having more of a police presence during the night; the city’s efforts to clean up or demolish abandoned properties; and making local ordinances stricter on “slumlords.”
The citizens talked about seeing drug deals, hearing reports of stolen bicycles and Lewis said she has even had people come to her door in an attempt to “case out” her house.
There are lots of signs around town — people roaming the streets at all hours of the night with backpacks or on bicycles pulling carts. City residents posting security camera footage on a Facebook watch group, of strangers coming up to their homes in broad daylight to see if there are any packages in the mailbox and taking items that don’t belong to them. The people who can’t see all of this must be blind.
There is a Facebook page — Metropolis/Massac County Watch Community Group, with around 1300 people posting information about break ins, or about suspicious activities to be on the lookout for.
Yes, Metropolis has its problems, but it’s not alone. There are other towns that have similar problems. If someone thinks they can leave Metropolis and find another town somewhere that doesn’t have any problems all, well that’s just ridiculous.
McDaniel pointed out the city’s revenue is not as much as it once was. In particular, the gaming revenue has been down for a long time now. In fact, McDaniel said the cost of the police and fire departments alone eat up the gaming revenue the city receives.
McDaniel said at the Oct. 9 city council meeting the city has an obligation to the citizens to do, all it can to make the town better for all of the citizens.
While Metropolis has made significant progress in cleaning up the town, there is more to do and we urge the city leaders not to let the issues the citizens brought up die.
There needs to be more citizens requesting meetings with the mayor, and there needs to be more citizens who will take the time to learn how city government operates and attend meetings.
McDaniel said he had met with Harry Masse, director of public safety, who would implement some new measures. Masse had e-mailed all the officers to make a point to be more visible. McDaniel wants to give the new measures some time before having another citizens meeting, but alluded to the fact that there would be another one.
Just this week members of the Metropolis Police Department were at a press conference with McCracken County Sheriff’s office regarding a huge drug bust over the past few months, which netted around 16 pounds of crystal meth along with guns and ammunition being taken off of the streets.
As Masse said, at times he has to bite his tongue when people say the police are not doing their job. Often times there may be under cover operations or surveillance happening that possibly officers cannot talk about because they don’t want details to be made public.
Law enforcement officers are doing their jobs to the best of their ability with the personnel and resources they have. The mayor seemed receptive to the suggestions and comments made by the citizens.
But, to solve the town’s problems is going to take residents also being actively involved, reporting illegal activity, coming to citizens meetings, attending city council meetings and doing their part to ensure our town stays safe for everyone.