Well the Holidays have come and gone, we all have new calendars for 2013, the Mason Livestock Show was cold but very successful again, the children have gone back to school, and the Aggies won the Cotton Bowl! I would say that we are all off and running for another very good year!! The City of Mason is gearing up for some very good projects and activities in 2013 also, and I would like to share some thoughts on what we will be doing this year to improve our hometown.
The Electric department has completed the upgrades and rewiring of the distribution system and is always working to maintain the quality system that we have built, but there are a few new projects that will improve our system even more. In the next week or so we will have an outside contractor that will be in town to trim trees and limbs that are growing into the electric lines and threatening the continuity of our electric service. If you see them in your neighborhood please be careful as you drive by, and if they are working on trees on or near your property please be helpful and cooperative so that they can work to improve the electric system that we all rely on.
One of the other projects relative to our electric department that I am working on is to continue to change the street lights so that we as a City have less light pollution of the night sky and can enjoy the stars overhead even in the middle of town. Some of the street lights have already been changed and are more directed downward, particularly on the major streets and highways, but I hope to be able to buy shields that will direct the light down rather than out from the “barn light” street fixtures that are throughout our neighborhoods, and even be able to offer them to the public to retrofit private security lights. This project will be moving forward in the next couple of months, so look for more information soon. Also, Hill Country Telephone who provides fiber optic internet access to businesses around the square is investigating the possibility of extending their services and providing high speed fiber optic service to most, if not all, of our residential areas. The City has agreed to help in every way to bring this service to our community and assist to provide 21st century communications to all of our citizens.
There is a major project the City has been planning for over a year and we expect to begin active construction and work on in the next few months: the rebuilding of the wastewater treatment plant. The existing system is over thirty years old and in need of significant work, and in examining the options the City Commission agreed with our consulting engineers that a complete rebuild would be more sensible that just “fixing the problems.” The changes will allow for a gravity flow system that does not rely on large electric lift stations, much smaller primary ponds that are aerated for better efficiency and rebuilt and relined settling ponds that will meet our revised permits and provide excellent service for the next several decades. We have also added the option to reuse the treated water for irrigation of some of the City owned land rather than just dumping the effluent into Comanche Creek and losing any benefit in these dry times. This project alone will require a couple of years of work and a large commitment of oversight and funds, but it is not the only thing we are doing to improve our community. Another significant project of the water/wastewater department is the cleaning of the many sewer lines that connect all of our homes to the main system. This is a project that we work on every year, but in the past few months the City has purchased new equipment so that we can handle this entirely ourselves rather than rely on outside contractors. In the past three months our crews have cleaned more lines than were dealt with in the past two years!! We expect to continue to do this cleaning and hope during this year to clean virtually the entire system and have it operating entirely at peak efficiency, maybe for the first time.
The Recycle department has been recently improved and our citizens are continuing to use those services. The recycling efforts in Mason have increased to the point that about 30% of all trash is being recycled rather than dumped in the landfill and our town is getting mentioned in other places for the efficiency and productivity of our program. If you do not recycle or just contribute some to those efforts, I would encourage everyone to join in this significant project of our town and help us to keep Mason clean and keep our landfill from filling up. Other departments have their own plans and projects, and I will discuss them in the next couple of weeks. The City of Mason is moving forward as we start this year, and I hope that you are pleased and will contribute your little piece to our improvements. If you have ideas or suggestions we would like to hear them, and if you have any questions or concerns we would like to hear those as well and try to provide answers or solutions that will help us all to make Mason the very best hometown in Texas.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley