Messy kitchen prompts new fee in Crawford

By Kami Collins

After a church group washed greasy dishes in the commercial kitchen at Crawford Town Hall, and after public works director Bruce Bair had to spend three hours cleaning out the grease trap, the town council has decided to implement a $75 refundable cleaning deposit to all entities that use the facility.

For many years, the unofficial policy of the town is that any event or organization that benefits the town does not have to pay the $75 rental fee. Events or organizations that use the kitchen just for water or as a warming kitchen typically don't pay for use, either. Yet town staff still has to ensure the facility is clean, which, depending on the event, can take several hours.

Trustee Chriss Watters disagreed with that policy. "Maybe we ought to just charge everyone for the use of the kitchen, period," he said.

Trustee Hetty Todd quickly disagreed. "If we do that, no one will use it," she said.

"If someone is using the kitchen, why should they expect to use it for free?" asked trustee Chris Johnson.

After about 25 minutes of discussion, trustees agreed to combat the problem by posting cleaning instructions in the kitchen, having staff periodically clean out the grease trap, and now requiring the $75 cleaning deposit. Mayor Wanda Gofforth also plans to meet with the Friends of Crawford Town Hall to see if that group will take over management of the kitchen.

Groups that continue to add benefit to the town, such as the Pioneer Days committee or the Crawford Chamber during its Old Timers - Newcomers event, can continue to use the facility at no charge, but will be expected to pay the cleaning deposit.