Capitalizing on services that your city offers is a great way to take advantage of free and affordable programs in your area. Each city is different, so if you see a service on this list that isn’t in your city, pitch your idea at your next city council meeting to earn your civic stars and improve your community.
1. Christmas Tree Pickup
In some cities in the United States, the local government offers Christmas tree pick up the first or second garbage day after Christmas. This service is intended only for people with live trees that need to be composted or taken to a dump. The city collects these trees, usually free of charge, and takes them to the appropriate waste stations. Individuals may need to note in their online city services profile that they would like to participate in this service, but in most cities that is not necessary.
2. City Swap
Smaller cities and towns sometimes host city swaps or yard sales. These community-wide sales are often hosted at a local park or town meeting place and are intended to help prevent unnecessary waste in local dumps. You can find a good bargain or two, share your old treasures with your neighbors, and clean out your storage closet while you’re at it. These swaps usually take place in the summer months and are hosted by the parks department but if your city doesn’t host a swap, get one together yourself.
3. Drug Drop
Did you know that you can take old prescription drugs to the fire station for safe disposal? With the opioid epidemic on the rise, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you are safely and properly disposing of your old prescriptions and narcotics. Never flush your old drugs or throw them out in the trash. While some experts recommend crushing the pills in cat litter, the safest way to discard your old drugs is by taking them to the fire station drop off bins. This service is offered in almost every city nationwide.
4. Car Seat Care
Speaking of fire stations, you can also get your car seats checked at the fire stations before your baby is born. Firefighters will help you install the car seat correctly or check the seats you already have installed. Since car seats expire and get recalled at times, fire stations are up to date on all of the latest car seat information and know what makes and models to look out for. This service is also available in most cities.
5. Roadkill Removal
If you live in a state where roadkill abounds, your city likely offers a roadkill removal service. If you happen to hit an armadillo or squirrel on your way to work, simply call the city and report the location of the deceased or injured animal. Don’t hop out of your car to move the animals out of the road—it’s dangerous. Instead, leave the safe removal of the animal to the professionals.
6. Movie Night
Whether it’s the local parks department or the library, many cities offer movies in the park during the summer months. These family-friendly outings are designed to get the community together during a fun night out. With the rise in popularity of food trucks, many cities have a food truck night alone, or in conjunction, with these fun events. If your city doesn’t offer family movie nights though, consider building a movie theater set up in your own backyard.
7. Senior Support
If you’re over the age of sixty-five, your city likely offers several senior classes you can attend. From meet and greet style activities and bingo nights to senior aquatics and cooking classes, these activities often come at a low cost or completely free. If your town has a rec center, many of these events will be offered through that resource.
As you take advantage of your city services, make sure to tell the people behind the scenes thank you. It's a lot of work to organize events for so many people. And if you find the time someday, consider volunteering yourself!