Last week John Palacio and I went to a three day conference in Austin sponsored by the Texas Municipal League to learn a few things and to look over the offerings of an Exhibit Hall spread over most of the lower floor of the Austin Convention Center. We did not spend any great amount of money, but we did investigate the new garbage trucks that were shown so that we would be prepared to make a decision in the future when the old models we currently use daily are no longer functioning reasonably. We also visited with a vendor that offers a remote reading and reporting system that would allow us to update our water and add our waste water systems to our computer monitoring, and provide real time data about well and pump functioning and notify us electronically whenever any problem arises. We looked at some new playground equipment and some outdoor exercise equipment for the park, a new flagpole with a unique functioning system for raising and displaying flags, and visited with a number of businesses that the City already deals with in our operations. One reason I am mentioning all of this is that so often the local residents are not aware of the many ways that the elected officials and City staff go about serving our community that are not seen and that happen away from town, and yet have very important impacts on our City services.
While we were in Austin we also arranged to meet with most of the TxDOT staff that will be working with us to utilize the Transportation Enhancement grant to improve our sidewalks and pedestrian pathways. There is still a great deal of planning, designing and public discussion to determine the exact scope and extent of this project, but this was a necessary first step in making use of the $673,000 that the State will contribute to this improvement for our town. I will be updating the City Commission and will keep you informed through my column as we move forward, but during our meeting it was determined that it will probably be 2015 before we will be ready to proceed and actual construction will begin. Again, this is one of those things that happen in the background as we continue to improve our town and although you might not see daily activity occurring, we are working in many different ways to serve our residents.
This next Monday, October 21, the City Commission will meet for our monthly meeting and if you want to stay informed about what exactly is happening I would invite you to be at the Richard Eckert Civic Center at 5:30 that evening. We will be reviewing the bids that have been received for the construction and improvements at the Waste Water Treatment Plant so that we can move forward with that project. We will also be considering the Interlocal Agreement with the Sherriff’s department, and will be reviewing the contract between the City and the Chamber of Commerce regarding the hotel occupancy tax, and we will be setting the date for a free dump time at the landfill and for tire collection and recycling. There will likely be a few other specific items on the agenda for Monday, but if you really want to know how decisions are made and what is happening in City government here in Mason we encourage you to come by and sit in. And if you have questions or comments, that is also the best time to share your views on local government and how we can best serve you and our community. It may seem that some governmental leaders or groups do not want to hear or respond to the citizen’s voices, but I can assure that locally your elected officials and City staff are all interested in hearing from you and we are all constantly on the lookout for how we can work together to make Mason the very best hometown in Texas.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley