The weather continues hot and mostly dry and when a cloud does blow by and drop a few raindrops, they evaporate almost as we watch. The Fire Marshall told me last week that the fire index has just crept over 600, on a scale of 800, and continues to rise every day and the County wisely continues to maintain a burn ban in effect. The rain that we have had in recent months has just provided water for the grass and weeds to grow so that the withering heat has created even more fuel for any wildfire to burn, and so we all need to be extra careful. In the City, one of our major concerns continues to be maintaining and protecting the water supply that we have.
While Mason has had some good scattered rainfall this year, we are still seeing a desperate need for water conservation and wise use of this precious resource. We need to remind our residents that we have never lifted the voluntary water conservation measures, and we are requesting everyone to limit yard and landscape watering to between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. to avoid the significant evaporation during the heat of the day. In an effort to be fair to all residents, we are also requesting that every yard only be watered at most once a week so that there will be sufficient water for everyone. Most all of the surrounding communities have begun some mandatory water restrictions and we have been monitoring our water wells to be aware of any drop or other concern with our water table. The Hickory Aquifer in Mason has held pretty strong, but if our concerns increase we may need to enforce some mandatory watering rules in the next couple of weeks. Everyone can help conserve our precious water by careful and restricted landscape watering and managing all water usage around your home.
Recently I have had several residents come to me and ask if the City had increased the electric rates since their utility bill was higher than they had anticipated, and I feel that is a concern that needs to be addressed. The first and most direct answer is that NO we have not changed the electric rate in the past two years, and the small variation in “fuel costs” that we have seen has not varied more than 2% in the overall rate during that time. If the rate has not changed, and your bill is higher, then the best I can say is that your usage may have changed. We always see higher bills this time of year, and coupled with the fact that our City utility bills include water, sewer and garbage fees as well, our “electric” bill in town is always more than some of our country neighbors. The City electric rate has not increased, but if you are concerned about your bill look closely and see what exactly you are paying for, and watch your usage of both power and water and try to be as conservative as possible. If you still have a problem, and yes we do occasionally make mistakes and have wrong usage data, call the City office and we will see what can be done to answer your concerns.
We have also begun the top coat paving of a number of City streets in the past couple of days. By the end of this week the paving contractor should be finished and move his equipment out of town, but our residents need to continue to drive safely on the new paving to allow it to “set” well and provide many years of continued protection of our roadways. Also, as I pointed out in last week’s column, the desired coating allows some tar to squeeze up between the gravel for a sold hold, but that might also mean that some of you might get some of the tar on your shoes so please check and don’t track it into your home (and if you do, baby oil seems to be the best way to soften it for removal). The City is working to improve several areas of our community, and we will continue to work so that we can all proudly say that this is the best hometown in Texas.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley