Today the sun is out and the sky is blue, the temperature is very pleasant and we have had about four inches of rain in the past week. There is no place better to enjoy the first cool days of fall than in Mason, and with the rains no one seems to have many complaints, except perhaps for the need to rework the water gaps. One of the problems is that the mosquitoes seem to come out in even greater numbers, but the City will begin spraying for these pests throughout town later this week and we hope that this will be a very temporary nuisance. If you see the City truck with the sprayer in the back, realize it is moving slowly to get a good coverage, and if you have concerns about breathing the spray you might look for the article in this paper that shows the specific neighborhoods and streets we will be spraying on each day and evening.
Another issue that has been discussed a few times lately is the various complaints regarding the “paving” that the City did a month ago. It is true that we have received far more compliments regarding this project than complaints, and I have driven down some of the streets to be sure that I did not miss some issue that a citizen was bringing up. As I have looked at most of the specific streets, I have to say that the job was done to our expectations and I do not personally see the fact of poor workmanship or excessively rough roadways. I think the concerns may mostly come from the misunderstanding that what we have done for the past several years is top-coat sealing with tar and gravel rather than true paving where a road is completely rebuilt. To do full paving the existing road must be removed or ground up, a compacted soil base and then a layer of several inches of uniform small rocks is packed into place and a top layer of about 2 inches of hot set road mix is laid down and compressed into a road surface. If done correctly this creates a smooth road surface and is what most people think of as paving, but the cost is very significant and beyond the budget or capability of our rural town and seldom is done once a street is placed in service. What we do, and have contracted for many years, is a maintenance procedure that keeps older roads from deteriorating further from water getting into cracks and potholes and keeps the road surface whole and usable for many more years. It is strictly a top-coat procedure, and does not remove the regular dips, bumps and rough spots that happen in most roads through years of use. Our street crews do work for several months on all the streets to be seal coated to prepare them and remove all problems that are reasonable, but there remains the issues of topography and poor base structure and some problems are just beyond our capabilities or control to resolve. Our goal within the City is to preserve and maintain, to the best of our abilities, all of the infrastructure that provides for the continued enjoyment of our residents as they go about living and working in Mason.
One other concern was brought to my attention just today and that was the “sudden” growth of tall weeds and brush in the right of ways of some of our City streets. With the recent rains and now the very nice weather, it is certain that the weeds around town are growing at a significant rate, and our Street crews are already out and working on mowing the ROWs on our major streets. However, it may take them several days to get to all of the areas of town and they might not immediately get to the one location that is most important to you, but rest assured that we have several crews working at many different jobs around town and most of the issues that get brought to our attention are on one of the lists to be done. If you see something that needs to be done, or if you have a suggestion for some City project, we are glad to hear it but sometimes the real solution involves just a little patience until we can address it or until it is done or resolves itself. Mason is very certainly a great hometown, but there is always a little more to be done and this week we intend to work on a few of those to-do lists and keep our town on the road to getting better and better.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley