This time of year the City is working hard to complete several tasks, but many of them are “behind the scenes” and do not get much public attention. One that I have mentioned is the job of setting the budget for the coming fiscal year. The City and the County have to complete this process by about mid-September by State law, and although the citizens are invited to submit ideas and suggestions, it is up to the administration and the elected officials in both cases to set the spending expectations for the coming year and provide information to the public. If you think it is hard to balance your personal budget and not spend beyond your income, it is considerably more complicated when there are numerous employees, several vastly different departments, and a huge range of expectations from everyone in town regarding what they expect the “government” to do for themselves and their community! In a few weeks we will be through for another year, but it is a challenge each year as we work through the responsibility of managing tax money and public funds.
Another significant job the City is working on is preparing the streets that have been identified to be re-paved this summer. In a couple of weeks our contractor will be in town to put a tar and gravel seal coat on a number of streets and some parking areas, and before that our street department has to prepare the surfaces for a good finish. The paving will begin on August 12 and every neighborhood will be affected as there are streets all around town scheduled for work. A quick list of the streets involved in whole or in part is: Gooch, Pontotoc, Brazos, Robin, Koocksville, Doole, Ischar, Herman, Martin, Kettner, Post Hill, Post Oak and Schuessler, along with the Library parking lot and some roads out at the airport. Read the list carefully, and if your home is on one of these streets it would be advisable to park in a driveway well away from the curb as we are preparing and then later paving your street. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to call the City office at 347-6449.
One other significant project has just surfaced and will provide an additional important improvement to our town. Last week the Texas Department of Transportation Commissioners met and approved the current recommended applications for Transportation Funding. The significance of that to Mason is that the application for a grant to rebuild our sidewalks and pedestrian walkways ranked as 12th in the State out of 81 projects that were approved! After six years of working toward a proposed solution and countless hours of writing and rewriting applications and documentation, I am pleased that we will be receiving about $675,000 to help us address the broken, uneven, steep and hazardous sidewalks, steps and ramps around most of our Square. There are some other areas and parts of this proposal, and I will be sharing those as they are formalized, and in addition the City will need to fund and work on some specific issues independently. At this point there are certainly more questions than answers as to how we will address the specific problems, and some of the issues are just addressed in general terms, so don’t call and expect me to have real answers right now. Over the next few months we will begin the serious design and planning work to make this happen in a way that will benefit our town and not cause too many problems for our businesses and citizens. I will keep you informed as we proceed, but this is the first major step that will allow us to address this serious problem that has been one of the greatest challenges to our town and our visitors for many years.
Mason is a great hometown and as we work through the challenges of this summer it is apparent that we will continue to improve and provide better services and facilities for our community. If you have comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at the City office or by email at email@example.com and I will listen and work to address your concerns.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley